February 20, 2006 | Graham

Shorten Figjams Beazley

If Bill Shorten is any sort of political seer, it appears that Kim Beazley will lose the next election, but he has Bill’s support to remain as leader. In the introduction to yesterday’s The National Interest, new presenter Peter Mares referred to the “…deep malaise that keeps the ALP out of power,” before proceeding to his interview with Shorten.
Many of Mares’ questions echoed the comments of former Labor Senator John Button who was interviewed by PM on Friday . Button said:
“But it’s implicit in their position that they think Labor is going to lose the next federal election, which is sort of sad.
I mean, why don’t these guys if they’re very clever stand for marginal seats against Liberals? Why are they standing against members of the Shadow Ministry?”
To Mares’ variation of this proposition Shorten replied that he lived in Maribyrnong so he wasn’t going to run anywhere else, and besides he thought he could “communicate a Labor message as part of a Beazley Opposition” (you can hear it at around 39 mins on the audio) and help to win marginal seats from the Liberals.
Unfortunately Mares didn’t probe this comment, but it seems to leave only two possibilities. Either he’s running to win Maribyrnong but lose Australia, or he thinks that as a pre-selected candidate he will be a member of the Beazley opposition and campaigning around the country, not just in his own seat. In the light of the interview with Button, who would be privy to what was being said around the branches, it would appear to be the former.
But if it is the latter it would reprise another of Button’s comments:
“All I would say about Bill Shorten is that I think he’s a capable guy. He’s in fact mentioned that to me several times himself. I think he’s got a lot of ability. It’s not for me to say when he should decide to run for Parliament.”
Which leads to another possible interpretation, which in fact covers all three – FIGJAM.

Posted by Graham at 8:32 am | Comments (6) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. FIGJAM is right, I think.
    It’s a common view that “celebrity” candidates, like Peter Garrett, should be given safe seats to run for, so that they can spend the election helping the national campaign, rather than struggling just to hold their own seat.
    I think this is what Shorten is referring to – he thinks he has the standing of Peter Garrett. He has clearly spent all his time with party and union hacks, and hasn’t figured out that no-one else in the country has heard of him.

    Comment by Anna Winter — February 20, 2006 @ 2:58 pm

  2. bill shorten;sort of suits don’t you think.short on humility,short of scruples,short in stature as well.got big ideas though, and they’re all about bill.

    Comment by jeff peebles — February 20, 2006 @ 8:45 pm

  3. Labor have snookered themselves again.The electorate are moving more towards the right and they adopt left wing pop stars like Peter Garret thinking that the Aussie psyche is of the same shallow ilk as that of the Hollywood worshippers of image without substance.Peter Garret is a single issue canditate that doesn’t understand the complexity of an economy.
    After 30 yrs of leftist weakness we are reaping the depravity of our lack of discipline and vigilance.

    Comment by Arjay — February 20, 2006 @ 9:40 pm

  4. Hey Arjay,
    I have just attended my first economics lectures at uni and let me tell you that there is more complexity in Peter Garrett’s lyrics and music than there is in the theory of rational behaivour, game theory or maximum willingness to pay. Wrong fucking major for a guy like me, wrong fucking major. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SLC_Punk
    There is also more complexity in Peter Garrett’s arse. Not that I am doing biology.
    An open letter to Graham:
    Dear Graham,
    I feel so depressed because today I joined the socialist alternative, without intending to. I am thinking about joing the young liberals, but I am told that they are violent people filled with hate, much like skin heads. Such as that they congregate in small groups of about ten and bash people who become isolated from a bigger group, such as 300,000 marching againts IR laws.
    What is some good advice for a wayward middle class boy in this predicament?

    Comment by Benno — February 22, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

  5. P.S I am not taking the piss. Fair dinkum question.

    Comment by Benno — February 22, 2006 @ 7:42 pm

  6. I think FIGJAM is part of the mix, but I suspect that he has been saying around the branches that Labor can’t win the next election. This would actually be a sensible thing to say internally, because most people would believe it. It would also not be a sensible thing to say externally that Labor will win the next election – because most voters expect them to lose, and saying things people believe to be untrue leads to them disbelieving everything that you say – see “cognitive dissonance”.
    But, a good candidate would have a form of words that didn’t create potential problems for their leader.
    And the over-arching question in my mind was “Why is this guy doing a national radio programme? How many of us get to vote in his preselection?” That’s the real FIGJAM – he shouldn’t have been in an arena where there were no votes to be won, but plenty to be lost if he made a mistake!

    Comment by Graham Young — February 22, 2006 @ 11:26 pm

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