Mike Kelly talking to Waleed Ali tonight on Radio National provides a complete picture of why Labor isn’t coming back any time soon. Kelly, a military officer recruited from the army by the ALP specifically to run for parliament, was a star candidate, a minister, and the member for the bell wether seat of Eden Monaro.
Based on his interview he has the qualities that suit him for none of these things.
It is widely expected that Bob Carr will resign from the senate in another sign that Labor was full of main chancers with no interest in the electorate and unsuited to rule.
Kelly apparently thinks that being a main chancer is the main qualification for being a senator. So he has put up his hand to fill Carr’s position, but on conditions. He wants to still be able to run for Eden Monaro at the next election.
He argues that he should be in the senate, because the defence minister is in the senate, and he is the best person to shadow them.
He also argues that he is the best person to represent Eden Monaro, and he has a family history there which goes back more than 150 years.
Oh, and he wouldn’t want to stand in the way of a woman getting into the senate, and he is happy for one to take his senate spot once he’s left it to run for Eden Monaro at the next election.
A cynic (yes, I’ll put up my hand as one) would say that while he dearly wants to run for Eden Monaro again, he needs an income in the meantime, and one which allows him time to campaign for the seat. Being a senator meets that need.
A realist would say that he is delusional and probably narcisstic. Especially as he also asserted that the Labor party can win the next election. (Maybe it can, but not if it keeps telling people it will – that is the sort of dumb pride that comes before a numbing fall).
The myth that Labor politicians are trying to spread is that they lost the last election because of disunity. This is an alibi. It is an attempt to avoid the blame for poor policies, poorer implementation and abysmally bad personnel.
Kelly exemplifies all that was wrong with the last government. He refuses to accept any blame, and he still thinks that politics is a way to spread benefits around to yourself and your mates, and that electors will reward him for that.
Just as well this guy wasn’t in the army in a time of national emergency. We need adults in parliament and in the armed forces.
He’s not likely to be in either place for the rest of his life, and it is in Labor’s interest to ensure this is the case. They desperately need adults in the party.