A firebrand he aint

Crean came, and Crean went.

Watching him in action this evening at Melbourne University was rather underwhelming. Looking at the body language, the tone and the complete lack of ideas, it seems that Crean still has quite got over being dumped as Labor leader. Despite a promising, although slightly earnest, theme - Young People and Australian Politics - Crean managed to completely lack inspiration. He spent some time rehashing Beazley's budget reply *yawn*, then went on to excuse the utter mediocrity of Labor in opposition. No hopes, no dreams, no inspiring words to give hope the true believers. This was a colour-by-numbers speech.

One of the more frustrating aspects of Crean's talk was an aspect that has long frustated me about the Labor Party - they're critical of the government for its supposed lack of generousity with the spending of the surplus, but completely lack any acknowledgement that the reason the surplus exists in the first place is frugal economic management. Having said that, there's merit to Crean's push for infrastructure spending, a long term investment that will pay long term dividends.

Given Crean's lack of enthusiasm, you have to wonder why he bothered putting up a fight for preselection earlier this year. His chances of being leader again are almost zero, he also seems unlikely to be a senior minister when the ALP return to government, with the post-Keating era MPs the likely stars of the future. Unfortunately he lacks the gravitas to be a backbench intellectual, in the tradition of Barry Jones.

So what does the future hold for Crean? If tonight is any indication, a decent superannuation payout and a lie down is the answer.

Comments

kristy said…
"they're critical of the government for its supposed lack of generousity with the spending of the surplus, but completely lack any acknowledgement that the reason the surplus exists in the first place is frugal economic management"

Yes but at what cost?

I sat in a conference today discussing homeless children and only one issue where funding has been cut: housing. I don't know about you but I would prefer to have a little less surplus and a little more compassion and funding for things that matter (not helping those who earns $250,000+ save a few more dollars).
Anonymous said…
Ari,

Keep up the good work.

See ya Friday night at my house.

Luv aunty
Mothy said…
"they're critical of the government for its supposed lack of generousity with the spending of the surplus, but completely lack any acknowledgement that the reason the surplus exists in the first place is frugal economic management"

DUDE! That is not cool!

The surplus exists because of economic conditions beyond the control of the government. The reasources boom is not the creation of Howard Government Policy.

If you look closely enough, you'll see that Victoria and NSW are in what some might call a recession. Jobs demand is strongest in reasource rich states.

The half-joke half-truth before the last election is that it, or maybe the next, is the election you want to lose. Interest Rates have seen their low point and we are moving into a tightening cycle. Unemployment is as low as it is going to get. Lose this one, and underlying economy is going to make the new entrants look like bad managers.

I was disgusted also at seeing Labor bang on that the tax cuts were not enough, that we should have been given more. It was a demonstration of the manner in which they're about the "game" of politics rather than good policy. There was no reminding people that Costello's first budgets were all about cutting spending and paying down debt. Now that the debt is down, the services haven't been returned, and when you get handed a tax cut out of the surplus it means another round of service cuts to come in future when the economy isn't stuffing so much cash into government coffers. Its short sighted and frustrating.

And that's what Australia voted for!
John Lee said…
should a government get credit for a surplus that they splurge at the first opportunity?

excellent article by Lindsay Tanner in today's Oz

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