Public First Program


Shane Elson


email Shane

+61-3-5952 5780

+61-4-1349 7828

Nov 2007 # 2

(Right Click here to download Audio - MP3)

Back to Editorials 2007

K07: The Aftermath

Here we are at the other side of the federal election. No doubt many supporters from both sides woke up on Sunday morning with hangovers and emotions they were not accustomed to. 

The man of steel did his usual early morning walk but was shown up to be only chrome plated and the ‘greatest treasurer’ we have supposedly known, eventually walked (and I don’t blame him actually). “Me Too” K07 got up as did a swathe of other Labor party hacks. 

The Democrats finally got what they deserve, although it has been only their life support systems keeping them in the seats for so long, while the Greens have now firmly replaced them as the only real opposition party in the country. 

Despite their money, the right wing Christian lobby failed to change the balance of power (but I guess K07 has got their blessing anyway) and the dear old Socialist Alliance once more demonstrated that preaching to the choir is not enough to get you over the line. 

So what does this all mean? K07 has said he will ratify Kyoto, say “sorry” to the First Australians, choose his own front bench and parliamentary secretaries, rip up work choices and not go nuclear. 

Having got the big picture items out of the way, the front page headline grabbers if you like, what will the new social and political economy of K07 look like. Here’s my predictions. 

Based on the first headline meeting Rudd had when he came to power, I suggest the window dressing that signing the Kyoto protocol is will be carried off with grave intent. K07 will go to Bali, take full advantage of the photo ops, tell us how he’s encouraging the US to come on board and will do … little else. Signing up is one thing, actually putting more money into R & D for real environmental issues is another. 

Will he reduce funding for the Orwellian titled “clean coal industry”? I doubt it. Will he invest in real low emissions research? I doubt it. Will be become the champion of wind, solar and geothermal generation? I doubt it. Will be become the new Al Gore? Time will tell. 

When it comes to the First Australians, will he say sorry? This will be interesting I reckon. It’s all about ‘risk management. His slick team of image managers need to develop a cost / benefit analysis covering a whole range of considerations. 

If he goes too early, he will have nothing to take to the next (and potentially subsequent) election. He can delay saying anything by telling us he is ‘consulting widely’, attempting to be as ‘inclusive’ as possible. He could certainly do this for the next two and a half years without too much trouble. So let’s put that one on the back burner for now. 

Choosing his own ministry and parliamentary secretaries has already been done. In these days of pragmatic politics, you don’t go into an election without the deals being done in the first place. So while K07 has been telling us he isn’t going to listen to the factions, he is right. This side of the elections he doesn’t have to. The deals have already been struck. And good on Julia I reckon. The real battle in this regard will start when the first one stuffs up (forged travel stubs, ‘forgotten’ investments that were ‘overlooked’ etc). After Howard’s grand announcement on how he would treat his ministers under his ‘code of ministerial conduct’ we soon found out that pragmatic politics is even bigger than core and non core promises. 

Work choices, on the other hand, should get a pretty good run. Those working under the current ones have still got another two to three years to go. So, once more, K07 can make all the right noises but doesn’t have to act against the will of his masters for some time. Meanwhile his number crunchers will be doing a risk management assessment on how any changes should be handled. I reckon it will be 1) a new name for them, 2) new letterheads and signage for their offices, 3) a multimillion dollar propaganda campaign and 4) business as usual for the big business end of town. They know they don’t need work choices. They knew the last government knew they didn’t need work choices but hey, it was a blast to see it anyway. 

When we move to nuclear we find that if Garrett was prepared to jump for Gunns, I bet he’s about to come out and say something along the lines of how ‘clean nuclear’ power stations are on the horizon and that after due consideration he will be supporting the government’s line. Nothing new there! In the meantime Hugh Morgan and his mates will continue to rip out of the ground billions of dollars of uranium and sell it off all over the place. We don’t need nuclear when there is more money to be made flogging off our raw materials.  

Finally, what about all those government ex-ministers who are now coming out and saying they didn’t really support their own party’s policies. Turnbull, Hockey, Coonan, Vaile, all of them now tell us that they might have got it wrong. Well, hello, as they say. I really don’t want to say “I told you so” but … 

And there we have it. The party is over and the new party is about to begin. But I want to remind you of something. Back in the heady days after Tony Blair won his first election and routed the conservatives, I remember my pommy mates telling me how good things were going to be. They said Blair would kill off the lingering ghost of Thatcherism and return the Old Dart to the socialist values it once knew. Two years later every one of them, to a person, was lamenting Blair’s success. 

Two years in and they realised that the new curtains in Number 10, the “third way” and flashing lights were not enough for those who really control the political machines to have changed their minds. Like any politics the first question they should have asked, and the one we must ask, is “who benefits and who loses as the K07 juggernaut rolls on through?”

Recent Editorials

Cup Day & Dictators(MP3)

A Day at the Races (MP3)

Gunns and Roosters (MP3)

We are all Witnesses (MP3)

Blackwater USA-Private War (MP3)

Agents of the State (MP3)

Cousins of Gunns (MP3)

Eureka and the ABCC (MP3)

Which god? (MP3)

Run to Paradise (MP3)

SIM Cards and Generosity (MP3)

Repackaging Cigarettes and Politicians (MP3)

Body of Evidence (MP3)

Oceans of Money (MP3)

Cold Racism (MP3)

Unspoken Words Among Friends (MP3)

All Along the Watchtower (MP3)


The Bridge Keeper's Son (Feb '06)



Aquaman Meets Pell (MP3)


The Reigning Rein(MP3)


Johnny GM Seed (MP3)


When Generals Talk (MP3)


Madam Economy (MP3)


Hitchin' a Ride



ANZAC for Whom?



Jones, Race and Class Interests (MP3)


Bombay Nights



The Politics of Convenience and Liability (MP3)


Tears, Perks and People (MP3)


Technically Speaking(MP3)


Hicks, Burke and Howard (MP3)


The Free Market on a Lazy Sunday (MP3)


You Lose Power (MP3)


Rearranging the Deckchairs (MP3)


Educated Ignorance (MP3)


Young Liberals

go to Town (MP3)


In a Funk - A 2006 Reflection (MP3)


Our Legacy (MP3)


Away in a Manger (MP3)


The Devil and the Peso (MP3)


Charades (MP3)


Sands (MP3)


Hillbilly Dreams (MP3)

Rumsfeld's Henny Penny Excuse (MP3)

The Mufti and the Dog Whistle (MP3)

Colonialism, Palm Oil & the Solomons (MP3)

On A Mission from God (MP3)

Howard's Quadrant Memory Hole (MP3)

Greenwashing, Astroturfing and Gippsland's A-Team (MP3)

Wag The Dog (MP3)

Aussie Values the Howard Nelson Way (MP3)

Nothing Changes (MP3)

Howard's Brutal Language (MP3)