April 05, 2007 | Graham

Is Santoro having second thoughts?

Santo Santoro has yet to resign from the Senate, and sources say that the President of the Senate has yet to even receive a letter from him advising when he will resign. In the meantime he continues to use government resources to this week mail party members glossy self-boosting publications and to lobby preselection delegates on their choice for a successor. He might even be using some of his time to set up his future career as a property developer, or to further his plans to travel to the US and Britain (see Daily Telegraph of 31/3/7 for the last).
When Santoro announced that he was resigning everyone assumed that it would be at the end of last week when parliament rose from its sitting. Here are Santo’s words:

I wish to advise the Senate that I will shortly resign from this august institution…I will make that advice formal at the end of these two week sittings giving both the Queensland Liberal Party and the Queensland Parliament time to appoint my replacement before the Commonwealth parliament again meets.”

On one reading he was going to resign at the end of the sittings, and on another he was going to advise of when he would resign, but as he has apparently yet to write to the President of the Senate he has done neither!
Paul Keating referred to the Senate as “unrepresentative swill” and there are some Senators who did their best to make it look more than a little swinish – for example the late Mal Colston. But Santoro is starting to make Colston look positively angelic.
Perhaps he will admit to another senior’s moment and protest that, despite turning up for work every day and using government resources to the full, it’s a simple oversight and he thought he had resigned last week. Perhaps when he does resign he can make it retrospective and reimburse that part of the public purse he is currently turning into a sow’s ear!

Posted by Graham at 10:17 am | Comments (12) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. The “snouts in the trough” picture appears in my mind.

    Comment by The Editor — April 5, 2007 @ 10:53 am

  2. Even for you that’s a bit rich Graham. The “glossy self-boosting publication” in question is merely a copy of his final speech, with “final speech to the senate” emblazoned across the front of the thing. It’s not exactly “turning up to work every day and using government resources to the full”.
    Personally I would have prefered to have seen him circulate a document entitled “Why I f*cked up; jeopardised the reelection of the Howard Government; lowered the respect of the Queensland division in the rest of the partys eyes and generally made myself look like an ass.”
    However a copy of his valedictory speech is probably enough, and entirely appropriate.

    Comment by anon — April 5, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

  3. Anon, I don’t think you could describe his final speech as anything other than self-boosting. He certainly didn’t send it out to every Liberal Party member in Queensland as an act of self-flagellation.
    And if he’s not “turning up to work every day and using government resources to the full” what the hell is he turning up for at all. You Santophiles ought to get a grip on reality. It doesn’t take until today to send out a glossy publication that was posted out on Monday or Tuesday!
    I wouldn’t say he “f*cked up” either, so much as just did what he has always done. Anyone who was paying attention had a pretty good idea of the Santoro MO, and it is the party’s fault that it tolerated, and continues to tolerate, this bufoon as a key power-broker.

    Comment by Graham Young — April 5, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

  4. Graham,
    Perhaps the Liberal party has tolerated Santoro for so long simply because he is the most industrious organiser and his supporters are highly motivated and organised.
    I am not a Santoro person at all but it has long been my experience that non-Santoro fans tend to be a disorganised rabble who seem to be inept at rallying support even around candidates that they themselves support.
    One minute they love Brandis, then they hate him, then they love him. One minute they hate Johnson, then they love him. At least Santoro has been consistent in his choice of allies! Doesn’t it say in the Gospel of Matthew “By their works you shall know them”?
    Santoro has caused major problems in the Queensland Liberal Party but they could have been avoided or controlled when people such as yourself held senior positions in the party. Put simply, it was the “Other Mob” that created the rules and the climate for a more organised grouping to take over!

    Comment by This is not Graham Jaeschke - the most successful State Director in the history of the modern Libera — April 5, 2007 @ 2:55 pm

  5. Perhaps the Liberal party has tolerated Santoro for so long simply because he is the most industrious organiser and his supporters are highly motivated and organised.
    Sounds like you could be describing some other Italian guy who apparently made the trains run on time. 😉

    Comment by Simon in NYC — April 6, 2007 @ 11:31 am

  6. In all seriousness, if Santoro has not yet resigned from the Senate then how can the Liberal Party (Queensland Division) be holding a preselection to fill a vacancy if there isn’t one? Also if a vacancy occurs after this preselection is concluded credence would it carry with the Queenslands government?

    Comment by Simon in NYC — April 6, 2007 @ 11:45 am

  7. “Not Graham Jaeschke” your inverted logic says it all. Let’s blame Cassandra for the sack of Troy, not the Greeks, or the Trojans who let them in!
    I don’t agree with your analysis of the ineptitude of the non-Santo people in the party. When I was a VP I was focussed squarely on winning elections. Would you have preferred I spent less time doing that and more time fighting Santo? BTW, I think Santoro has been bitten by his embrace of both Brandis and Johnson, so I’m not sure what your point is there either.

    Comment by Graham Young — April 8, 2007 @ 11:07 am

  8. Graham,
    Make no mistake. Santo and his minions are well and truly to blame for their corrupt and immoral tactics. However I think the latest series of events will make the Santo side work twice as hard internally as ever before. The battle is just starting I think. And the news is the same, noone is going to win this Westside Story War.
    However, it has to be acknowledged that it was the non-Santo side that put in place the “winner-takes-it-all” rules which are the lifeblood of the Qld Liberal party. It was the non-Santo side that locked out Santo’s minions year after year up until 1998 often using tactics uncannily akin to what we see today from the Santo minions.
    What I find hilarious about all this is that when non-Santo people were being rolled by Santoro and his minions (often outside their own houses in the rain!), the non-Santo side was nowhere to be seen. MIA. Drinking Spritzers in the Shade as one wag has put it in the past.
    Santo was/is an effective organiser who has had probably just as many wins and losses as the non-Santo people. The sooner, the non-Santo people acknowledge this and move on the better. The real solution to the problem is sacking Geoff Greene, a full audit of current members, disbanding the Young Liberals and proportional representation. Let’s see if the non-Santo people can achieve this real reform. I doubt it. They seem to me to just be a soft-cock imitation of the Santoro machine.
    BTW, I actually think in the long run Johnson and Brandis will do far more damage to the Western suburbs’ reputation than they ever did to Santo. Let’s just wait and see eh…?

    Comment by Graham Jaeschke Doppelgaenger — April 8, 2007 @ 5:40 pm

  9. “Not Graham J”, you have an idiosyncratic take on Liberal Party history. Santoro has been on the inner in running the party more times than not since 1984. That’s a long time prior to 1998.
    Brandis and others created a myth as part of their campaign against Tucker in 1998 that the “Western Suburbs faction” had ruled the party for the previous 20 years and now it was time for someone else, but that was always nonsense.
    I’d be interested to know your version of who introduced the “winner takes all” system, but I don’t recall it being factional at all. There were a variety of constitution conventions in the 90s which introduced things like plebiscites etc. but those took place under Paul Everingham and Everingham was very close to Santoro, and Brandis, was the key drafter.
    BTW, you might like to read this article: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=1832. I thought I had written somewhere about a proportional system for electing internal party office-bearers, but can’t find it, but I think it’s a good idea for the VPs and the six from the floor positions.

    Comment by Graham Young — April 8, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  10. Santo still appears on the Senate website as a senator.

    Comment by Sacha — April 10, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

  11. Sacha, we should run a competition – first person to spot it has been removed to receive all my copies of the Santoro Sentinel!

    Comment by Graham Young — April 10, 2007 @ 10:12 pm

  12. As an aged care provider , I can say that regardless of the politics , Santo was easily the best Minister for Aged Care I and many of my colleagues ever dealt with.
    He was tireless in his travels to all sorts of aged care services around Australia , met with more industry , consumer and community representatives than all his predecessors for the last decade put together and seemed to treat the portfolio as a real challenge – not just a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
    He was eager for new ideas – something refreshing in the calcified regions of health policy.
    I don’t seek to trivialise his mistake but note that he has paid a heavy price for it.
    Let’s hope the bar will be kept at this level for all others.

    Comment by Jim — April 11, 2007 @ 10:53 am

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