March 16, 2012 | Graham

To my Labor friends: get well away from this toxic government

I was shocked this morning when my co-panellists on Steve Austin’s 612 ABC morning program, Janine Walker and Tony Koch, both said what a great person Anna Bligh is and what a great campaign she has run.

As I said on the program, I’ve never met Bligh but I’d formed the impression she was a pleasant person before this election, but I was wrong because a pleasant person doesn’t run the dishonest, defamatory campaign that Anna Bligh has been running.

If anyone had any doubts that the ALP campaign was based on avoiding its record in government and smearing the opposition leader with baseless claims, that was finally laid to rest by the declaration today by the Crime and Misconduct Commission that it did not believe that Campbell Newman was guilty of official misconduct.

We had a glimpse of what the commission would find three days ago when Bligh said she didn’t have enough material to send Newman to the CJC.

Then yesterday we saw her desperation when she tried to link Newman to a developer because he had his name on a plaque on the wall of his accountant’s office which was in a property owner by Newman’s in-laws.

Bligh’s campaign has targeted not only Campbell Newman, but his family. A number of women have contacted me, scandalised that this ad has been used┬áto get at Newman in Ashgrove. It targets his wife.

Family is generally off-limits in political campaigning. So sensitive are people about wives of public figures that if you had been beamed down from Uranus, or anywhere else but earth, you’d often have no idea that some women have famous spouses. Take this International Women’s Day broadcast by ABC Radio National and see how many times anyone drops the “K” word about Therese Rein, who is described simply as a business woman and philanthropist.

It seems that “great campaigning” and being a “great person” are disconnected from what you do. Bligh’s only explanation for her conduct is the typical slanderer’s defence: “I was only asking questions that needed answers.”

That’s not good enough. No defence of targeting a wife and mother the same age as her. No defence of the scurrilous accusations she raises, just a shrug of the shoulders – if they’d been right they would have been justified in fact, but they’re justified in principal because they might have been right. In which case what accusations are too wild to be raised like this?

I have a lot of Labor friends, and some clients, and I’d hope they’d not cling on to Bligh through misguided group loyalty. Or to Bruce Hawker, apparently the architect of this corrupt campaign.

They need to speak up against their party now so that it will reform itself later.

That’s the path I took 14 years ago, and it’s been good for both me and the Liberal Party. Being expelled is a relatively painless procedure with benefits for both. Without people prepared to speak truth to power the party will just reproduce damaged institutional DNA.

That’s what Labor has been doing for too long in Queensland, and why things are going to evolve Saturday week that will not be to its advantage in the short term, but which might be to all our advantages in the long term.

Posted by Graham at 11:53 pm | Comments (5) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Frankly, there is no difference in personality traits between female and male politicians. Their goal is to get their party in power, keep it in power by any means.

    Comment by Dana — March 17, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  2. Agree with that Dana. I’ve never had any illusions that if the world was run by women it would be a nicer place. As proof of that I used to offer up Maggie Thatcher, Golda Meir and Indira Ghandi – all of whom were involved in aggressive stances by their countries whilst they were leading them.

    We’ve had a lot more powerful women in the intervening period, and you’d have to say that female premier’s are just as combative as their male counterparts, and as secretaries of State Condi Rice and Hillary Clinton have brought plenty of brawn to the party.

    Comment by Graham — March 17, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  3. And don’t forget Mrs Bandaraike in Shri Lanka, or Madeline Albright who, when quizzed about the million children and hundreds of thousands who died due to the USA embargo of Iraq, said breezily, “It was worth it.”
    As for Bligh. That’s the problem with demanding a dictator-type Premier. If we had a democracy, then all parliamentarians would have an equal say, discussions and debates [not slanging matches] would ensue and without party pressures, good policies would be arrived at. In our system, everyone in a party votes as the premier demands. It’s stupid and counter productive. Get rid if parties and elect true independents who govern by consensus.

    Comment by Saki — March 19, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  4. Labor is destined to fall in Queensland, partly because of state (local) issues, but mostly due to the Fed Labor fiasco and treachery. Labor is a sinking ship. Labor is doomed because of Gillard and the ‘faceless men’. Carr has now jumped on board of this sinking ship. He thinks that he can restore Labor back to its glory days. Not a chance, Bob. The betrayal of a Queenslander is not forgotten. The Queensland election results will bring this treacherous group to its knees. Hurrah! The voice of the people will ultimately be heard, instead of Labor spin. Hurrah, hurrah!!

    Comment by Jolly — March 19, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

  5. You sound positively jolly, Jolly, about the prospect of open slather mining development and coal-seam gas fracking on our food producing lands, not to mention increased dredging and port building inside the Great Barrier reef, and the commercial development with no ecological safeguards of the few remaining rivers in pristine condition.
    Neither party has bothered to mention any of the desperate problems still facing indigenous people after two centuries of discrimination. I agree with the author that we should stay far from Labor, but we should also stay just as far from Bob Katter’s fascism and the LNP. ‘Develop’ at any cost is no longer a tenable way to run a state, unless the intention is to run it into the ground..

    Comment by Saki — March 20, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

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