Friday, June 11, 2004

How can we dance when our beds are burning?

Out where the river broke. The blood wood and the desert oak. Holden wrecks and boiling diesels Steam in fourty-five degrees..

The Un-Australian: "Mark Latham bundled his young family into the car and drove about an hour from his home in Campbelltown, in Sydney's southwest, to Peter Garrett's house in the NSW southern highlands.

The weekend lunch in mid-February was the first opportunity the two men had to size each other up. Latham had heard the former Midnight Oil frontman and outspoken environmentalist might be interested in joining the Labor Party. Garrett was impressed with the energy of the new ALP leader.

It was a gathering that kick-started months of delicate behind-the-scenes manoeuvring and resulted in Garrett this week being handed the safe Sydney seat of Kingsford-Smith in a major pre-election coup for the ALP."

The time has come to say fair's fair. To pay the rent, to pay the share. The time has come a fact's a fact. It belongs to them let's give it back.

The Un-Australian: "But, despite the intense efforts of party officials, it almost didn't happen. Garrett has been flirting, on and off, with a political career from the time he ran as a Nuclear Disarmament Party candidate for the Senate in 1984 -- and was squeezed out by Labor preferences directed against him."

How can we dance when our earth is turning? How do we sleep while our beds are burning? How can we dance when our earth is turning? How do we sleep while our beds are burning?

The Un-Australian: "NSW Premier Bob Carr sounded out Garrett about a seat before last year's state election. Before Latham, Simon Crean had tried to recruit him. Senate Opposition leader and NSW Left powerbroker John Faulkner -- a key player in the defection of Cheryl Kernot to Labor from the Democrats -- also was working hard to get Garrett to Canberra.

But months before Latham and Garrett first met face to face, rank-and-file preselections had been completed across NSW. And none of the candidates would budge to make way for the man Latham described yesterday as a "tremendous asset" to the Labor Party.

"There was always a risk that this was going to be a mission unaccomplished," one ALP source said. Then came Laurie Brereton."

The time has come to say fair's fair. To pay the rent to pay the share, Four wheels scare the cockatoos From Kintyre East to Yuendemu. The western desert lives and Breathes in fourty-five degrees.

The Un-Australian: Brereton is the politician's politician, with a parliamentary career stretching back to the NSW parliament in 1970. Like Paul Keating, the mate he grew up with in the Labor Party, Brereton is astute, Machiavellian, and a key player in major political events, including Latham's elevation to the leadership.

The idea of Garrett as a Labor MP was not Brereton's, but he provided the opening. Brereton does nothing without calculation.

He looked at his options last year before deciding to renominate for another term."

The time has come to say fair's fair To pay the rent to pay the share The time has come a fact's a fact It belongs to them let's give it back

The Un-Australian: "It was a time when federal Labor was in the pits and all sorts of alternatives were being canvassed to Crean as leader - including Carr moving to Canberra. Brereton checked with Carr to see whether he wanted the seat, but Carr said no.

Another reason Brereton decided to run again was to make sure his arch enemy within the ALP, state secretary Eric Roozendaal, did not try to grab his seat.

It was Roozendaal who organised two years ago to move Brereton's sister, Deirdre Grusovin, out of her state seat of Heffron.

With Roozendaal subsequently taking a NSW upper house vacancy, Brereton decided it was safe to go."

How can we dance when our earth is turning? How do we sleep while our beds are burning? How can we dance when our earth is turning? How do we sleep while our beds are burning?

The Un-Australian: "To make sure Roozendaal would have no say in his successor, he waited until after last Friday's regular meeting of the NSW ALP's administrative committee - which has the power to take over preselections - before announcing his decision to his local branch members that night. It was a time of Brereton's choosing but it also was a huge favour for Latham.

Brereton's reward will come when Latham becomes prime minister, perhaps with a plum posting such as Australian ambassador to the United Nations in New York. But Latham maintains he was genuinely surprised when Brereton, his closest ally in parliament, rang to tell him of his decision.

That was Sunday night, May 30 - the night after Brereton's 58th birthday and five days before he broke the news to the Kingsford-Smith federal electorate council, and Roozendaal heard it on the Labor grapevine.

Among those who were surprised were the virtual Melbourne Cup field of local members and branch officials in Kingsford-Smith who have spent years lining up the numbers to replace him. It took only until Sunday's newspapers for the news to break that Latham wanted Garrett in the seat. The locals were outraged."

The time has come to say fair's fair. To pay the rent to pay the share. The time has come a fact's a fact. It belongs to them let's give it back

The Un-Australian: "By Monday, Latham had made a strong public endorsement of Garrett, effectively pinning his leadership on a decision that, as far as the prospective candidate was concerned, still was not final. "It was genuinely only in the last few days that Garrett made up his mind 100per cent," one ALP source said.

Garrett himself admitted yesterday that things really started moving only in the past week, and suggested he was wavering until the very end. "We have had some informal discussions but really it's only been in the past week that we have actually talked. It was difficult for me to make that decision," he said.

"I could've thought about the Greens, I could've stayed as president of the ACF, but I do want to make a contribution to the life of the nation and the only way I could do that effectively was by joining the Labor Party."

How can we dance when our earth is turning? How do we sleep while our beds are burning? How can we dance when our earth is turning? How do we sleep while our beds are burning?

The Un-Australian: "Not that he was in completely unfamiliar territory: his mother was a Labor supporter and as a boy he helped her hand out how-to-vote cards.

Garrett's recruitment is particularly valuable for the ALP at a time when the green vote is growing and the party desperately needs to attract back Left-leaning voters who deserted during the Tampa election of 2001.

Expect to see Garrett wheeled out as the ALP's election weapon in seats such as Cunningham in the NSW Illawarra region - which Labor lost to the Greens in a disastrous by-election. National Party seats such as Richmond in northern NSW, held narrowly by Larry Anthony, and Gippsland in eastern Victoria, held by Peter McGauran, are other possible targets.

Garrett is well aware of comparisons between his recruitment and that of Kernot, and has told officials he understands the need for solidarity in the Labor Party.

On Wednesday night, after the deal had been sealed, it was Garrett's turn to go to Latham's house.

The two men, as well as ALP national secretary Tim Gartrell, Faulkner and adviser David Britton, talked tactics over Thai takeaway. The next day was Latham and Garrett's first public appearance together.

Latham, new generation Labor leader, and Garrett, star recruit, will be spending a lot more time together in the lead-up to the federal election campaign.

Two years ago, Brereton fought tooth and nail to allow his sister to contest a ballot of ALP members in her electorate rather than have Roozendaal impose a candidate. Now he has stepped aside to allow Garrett to walk into his own seat without a local ballot. That's politics."

The time has come to say fair's fair. To pay the rent to pay the share. The time has come a fact's a fact It belongs to them let's give it back.

By Gregory Kable, The Oils and The Un-Australian Newspaper 11 June 04


The Un-Australian and US calls on Latham to rethink Iraq
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Australia: Silencing Dissent - Report on NGO's
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Australia: Bringing up children can we afford it?
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Australia: Private job network agency blues
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O'Shane blasts constitution
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Demounting Auntie Isabel Coe
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Howard Vs Regina in Canberra the Capital Territory of Australia- Friday January 30 2004. Would the defendant please stand while I read out the judgement of this court.

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Message of Solidarity: Greens
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Brain injury for suspicion 'inhumane'
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QLD Politician (Community Safety?) Amendment Bill 2004
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[War criminal], Attorney General Phillip Ruddock said yesterday under the Crimes Act Izhar Ul Haque committed a crime. But the real crime was preventing a 21-year-old young man decide for himself what is wrong and what is right. What a disgrace! Under the heading, further education.

Report recommends freeing child detainees
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Child detention breaches UN convention: human rights report
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Detention centre media ban criticised
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Refugee protests expected to move to Sydney
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Zimbardo on US Soldiers and Iraqi prisoners
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Steve Stefanowicz: Adelaides new torturer!
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Hicks interrogator features in CBS broadcast
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