Prahran: Two Dapper Gents

The battle is on. It's smart suits and well-gelled haircuts at 50 paces. Election day might be six months away, but the candidates are out in force to win the hearts, minds and wallets of the denizens of Prahran.

Lining up in the red corner is Tony "Talk to Me" Lupton, the sitting Labor MP. Lupton has earnt the epithet through his frequent appeals through the mail for constituents to, er, talk to him. Fair enough, too. Lupton was elected in 2002 and has done plenty to get on the good side of voters. He's smooth talking, decent to look at, and seems to be well-respected as part of a new generation of Labor MPs wh connect with capital as well as it does with labour. His bio reveals a nice 'by the bootstraps' success story, which saw him commencing a motor mechanics apprenticeship in Albury before leaving school, only to later return to Melbourne, study law and become a barrister.

Tony Lupton Clem Newton-Brown
"Talk to Me" Tony and CNB

The challenger in this intriguing battle is Clem Newton-Brown, a local lawyer with plenty of political experience. Newton-Brown was Deputy Lord Mayor of the city of Melbourne during 2000 and 2001, a period immediately preceeding the dissolving of the council by the state government due to factional infighting. The experience should prepare Newton-Brown well for life in the Victorian Liberals. According to his official bio, CNB lives locally, works as a lawyer and moonlights as a water-taxi operator on the Yarra. A Liberal without the silvertail?

As for the minor parties, there haven't been any announcements yet, but the area is likely to net rich rewards for the Greens, whilst the fledgling People Power should be attracted to the seat demographically, although the large amounts of money being spent by both major parties might crowd them out.

No doubt there will be plenty of skullduggery during the course of the campaign (this blog certainly hopes so, anyhow). It's not inconcievable that the ALP will do its best to dig out some skeletons from CNB's days on Melbourne City Council. It was a dark period for the council, and as number two on council surely some of the blame must go to him.

As for the Lib's campaign against Lupton, perhaps a starting point might be to portray Lupton as one of Bracks' lackeys, endlessly talking to anyone who will listen without actually achieving anything of substance. Describing Lupton this way is a little unfair, given that he is one of the more vigourous backbenchers, but the Libs campaign HQ may well roll out a replica campaign in a number of seats with sitting Labor backbenchers.

For now at least, the campaign has been squeaky clean, focussing with depressing earnestness on the issues. Wonder how long that'll last.

Comments

Aaron said…
The Greens candidate for Prahran is Justin Walker. He's a local, involved in the Queer Greens and a friend of mine.

Don't know if his candidacy has been made public yet or not but he's been talking to me about it for months.

BTW - I quit the Democrats last week and joined the Greens.
Daniel said…
I find People Power interesting. They seem to be a truly 'liberal' party. Not at social-liberal party like my party, the Australian Democrats, and not a liberal-conservative party like the LPA, but a 'market economics + progressive culture' liberal party.

Strikes me as a niche that needs filling (even if it is not for me personally) but we all know how rarely minor parties ever make it in Australian politics. Still, one worth watching.
Peter Parker said…
The People Power approach of dry economics and libertarian social policies has as many contradictions as Howard's combination dry(ish) economics and moral conservatism.

I think we can blame this on the Cold War, where free-enterprise types and social conservative/religious types found common cause in opposing collectivising, religion-destroying state socialism.

With this not a threat, I've wondered if we will ever see a re-alignment, ie the Social Conservatives + Socialist economics types arguing for state control in all aspects, and the free-marketeers teaming up with the social libertarians.

Until this happens, People Power will only be a niche in the rich urban seats (sort of like Greens, but with money and respectable haircuts), as social and economic authoritarians teamed up in the rural far-right groups.
Peter Parker said…
My last sentence got mangled. I meant to draw a parallel between the existence minorities of urban libertarians in the wealthy seats (like Prahran) and their mirror image of authoritarian lunar right-types in rural areas.

People Power itself (like John Howard) has some contradictions. I understand that they are aiming for 'carers' (aged or disabled relatives) as a constituency.

However helping these people has nothing to do with dry economics or social libertarianism (as in freedom for consenting adults). Rather it has more to do with Deakinite-type social welfare.

In other words, the social welfare as opposed to the 'personal freedom' aspect of small-l liberalism.

I won't go into contradictions between free-market, libertarian and social-welfare forms of liberalism, except to say that any two will conflict with the other.

These are practical as well as philosophical as the IR debate proves.
Anonymous said…
Aaron,

Top 3 Queers (but not Greens) FYI:

1. Rob Halford (Judas Priest: the "Metal God")

2. Dough Pinnick (King's X: soulful prog-metal)

3. Roddy Bottum (ex. FNM: original crossover-metal maniacs)

Honourable Mention:

1. Freddie Mercury (quite the Queen but not quite metal enough).

Cheers, no need to thank me,

- 666 LC 666
Polly said…
666 LC 666 - Roddy Bottum is an absolute legend. What do you think of Imperial Teen?
Anonymous said…
Haven't heard 'em Polly.

But after wiki'ng Mr Bottum i'd really like to hear Patton sing the lyrics to "Be Aggressive".

(I'm more familiar with Bungle, fantomas, etc than FNM, so haven't really explored the back-catalogue)

Cheers,

666 LC 666

P.S., aren't Lordi really just beneficiaries of the Eurovision bandwagon?

"GWAR called, they need their costumes back" - lol.
Daniel said…
Rob Halford is gay? Crikey! Has he left a lot of very surprised and injured homophobes in his bloody wake?

But back to the topic at hand (or rather a more pertinent tangent)... The disability policy of PP seems to detract from my description of them as liberal. However we can say two things here: One is that notions of 'self-help' become nonsensical in the context of those who lack even the most basic autonomy and a sane liberal (rather than 'libertarian') party will recognise this. The other is to say that a small party like PP will be shaped markedly by whoever is running it and I understand that many of its key members have a professional interest in the disability issue.
Anonymous said…
Rob's totally "Hell Bent for Leather" Danny Boy.

- 666 LC 666

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