January 27, 2013 | Ronda Jambe

Nova’s appointment a disgrace for democratic process


If the ALP has been unable to identify and nurture members who might have strong ethnic ties, overriding party rules and due process is hardly the way to address the issues.

The PM is not Julia Caesar, and should not behave like an empress.

What message does that send to the party faithful, who actually attend meetings, read policy documents and put forward motions (ignored even when they get passed, but at least there is a theory of due process in operation)

ACT MP Andrew Leigh spoke on radio about the appointment (the only term that can be applied, as no democratic process was involved, not even membership in the ALP), and used weasel words like ‘any reasonable person’ would find it just fine.

I guess that makes me very unreasonable (and very angry) that this is the best our political system can offer.

How many ALP reviews and attempts at reform have come and gone over recent decades? And this is the outcome?

The only honourable option for Nova now is to politely decline the position, and then join the ALP and go through normal procedures to see if she can gain pre-selection. That would show firstly that she actually has the appetite for political life, and would give her credibility and bring respect to Aboriginal people. The current situation brings nothing but ill feeling and diminished respect to all involved.

Glad I quit years ago, the party was broken then, too.


Posted by Ronda Jambe at 1:04 pm | Comments (34) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Ronda, I agree, the appointment is a joke, but then again so is Labor. So many pompous people in the party who have no real idea what people expect in a democracy.

    Comment by Chris Lewis — January 28, 2013 @ 9:01 am

  2. I think Nova is an excellent high profile candidate, who will serve her mob with intelligence and articulate heartfelt passion.
    Clearly, the “community” is a house divided against itself, and full of political activists, who want to restore things like untrammeled alcohol and drug abuse? Humbug, child abuse/neglect etc.
    It needs a circuit breaker, just like Nova!
    It is time that the Community, got into the 21st century, and started to look for opportunities to advance their own!
    Rather than endlessly squabble about who’s going to rule or represent!
    And education is the very first element in economic self-sufficiency! And a new middle class is pioneering/showing the way.
    While we all of us can regret the past, there is simply no way we can change it or bring to justice, those who practiced racial intolerance in all its forms and guises, pre or post white settlement.
    My Sister, on her very first horse ride, refused to cross a stream; given a significant but small slope.
    She, chock full of irrational fear of moving forward, would have sat there screaming no, no, no, all day; holding the rest of the party up, but for an experienced horseman, who rode up and placed a well aimed boot in the mare’s rear, in a very sensitive area.
    Which caused the horse to surge forward and across the stream, even though the rider was still screaming no, no, no!
    Perhaps that’s also what the eternally divided/divisive political activists need as well, so they can either get out of the way, or start actually working for their mob, rather then exceptionally narrow personal political interest, or over-reacting to entirely irrational fear of moving forward?
    There is only one constant in the entire universe, and that constant is constant change!
    In changing times, we have just two choices, embrace change or be steamrolled by it?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan goulding — January 28, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

  3. Lovely sentiments, hard to disagree with the need to embrace change and the power of education.

    But what does that have to do with complete disregard for democratic process?

    Nova might well make a good Senator, but she has not shown interest in the political process, and there are rules. These rules are the rule of law, and especially must apply for ‘elected’ officials.

    How can she claim to ‘represent’ anyone?

    This is not the middle ages, when rich families could have generations of Popes.

    Democracy is at least partly about trust in institutions, and Nova has agreed to be part of an institituion (ie the ALP) that mocks its own rules.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 28, 2013 @ 1:00 pm

  4. Rhonda,
    ‘I guess that makes me very unreasonable (and very angry) that this is the best our political system can offer.’
    Wrong Rhonda.

    Why is it that you have forgotten the democratic processes that have already produced indigenous members in our federal parliaments.

    It’s the Labor Party Rhonda that has the problem, not our political system.

    Comment by keith kennelly — January 28, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

  5. Agreed, Keith, it is the ALP that is violating the rules of democracy. But it is also disappointing that the media and the Libs have let it pass.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 28, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

  6. The media are in the Labor Party’s pockets.

    The Liberals did have comment on the issue. You should be asking why their view wasn’t widely reported?


    ‘What’s your response to allegations of a smear campaign being run against Nova Peris by some of the Labor members?


    I’m just not going to get into that at all. I think it is overdue for the Australian Labor Party to have an indigenous representative in the national parliament. Let’s face it – it’s more than 40 years since the Coalition put Senator Neville Bonner into the parliament but as far as I’m concerned what this whole episode raises is just more questions about the judgement of the Prime Minister and I can fully understand why so many Labor MP’s are today wondering whether their own jobs are safe. This is a Prime Minister who deals ruthlessly with anyone who is standing in the way, whether it be Kevin Rudd, whether it be former Speaker Harry Jenkins, now Senator Trish Crossin.’

    and in the same interview


    In relation to Nova Peris and the rumours circulating in relation to an investigation that she was apparently cleared in. Do you think she needs to explain what has happened?


    Again, I’m going to leave all of those issues to the Labor Party which is on the verge it seems of picking her for the Senate. What this issue does above all else is yet again raise questions about the Prime Ministers’ judgement.’

    Comment by keith kennelly — January 28, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

  7. Yes, I would like to know why the media didn’t grab this more and why the Libs let go of it so quickly.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 28, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

  8. Re the NB at the end. This is not sufficient. Given what you know, the article should be taken down. Highly insensitive. Put yourself in Ms Peris’s place if this article is brought to her attention. It is low grade and it undermines your credibility.

    Comment by QPublicServant — January 28, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

  9. A time server in a sinecure position replaced by a better candidate, who just happens to be Indigenous to boot! Looks like a win all round for the people of the NT to me!

    Comment by Rod Hagen — January 28, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

  10. Not a win if she is ‘appointed’ without going through the supposedly democratic process of joining the party and preselection. If all the ALP can do is produce time servers, that’s where the problem should be addressed.

    What contribution can Nova make, since she has been apolitical with no interest in public matters til now?

    Answer: she can obey her master, that’s all.

    And what a sinecure it will be for her!

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 29, 2013 @ 5:45 am

  11. Those that talk about the democratic process are misinformed about democracy. There is none in the ALP.
    The union factions control the preselection processI.
    Union heavyweights use the ALP as a career path into politics. Once in they think they have a job for life.
    No Matter how one eyed and narrow they are. These have held the ALP back since the 80’s.
    My experience in preselection was all the votes were in before anyone spoke at state executive. Union factions made their choice before and the field of candidates did not get a look in. The one chosen in a by election was the same union as the one who died. He did not live in the area had no qualifications for the job, claimed he had gone to a university there was no record of him ever being there and ultimately became a big embarrasment to the ALP. But he was in the right wing union and that is all that counted to the men in charge of preselection. I was the only woman candidate, there has never been a woman politician in the region in State parliament. I was mature, a degree in politics and plenty of union experience being secretary of the TAFE school umion as well as a convernor of WEL and secretary of the local ALP branch.

    I admire Julia for what she is attempting to do but the greatest problem women like jUlia has is with women who fail to understand the whole problem of women in general tghroughout the world. These women survive by being one of the boys. They too are factionised and cling to their seats thinking it is a right. Well it is not aright and things have to change for women’s representation in our political systems. 3 levels of it.

    I ran for local govt 5 times and the ALP made sure I did not get in. I am a voice for the citizens not a voice for union factions. The boys club do not like a women who will stand up to them, and the women who support them are just as bad.

    Comment by Mary J — January 29, 2013 @ 10:21 am

  12. Ronda, it’s the senate. There is no rank & file preselection. The factions determine senate candidates. The R&F aren’t even in the room. This is a non issue being blown up into a “crisis”.
    There are many more important issues to die in a ditch over.

    Comment by barney — January 29, 2013 @ 10:56 am

  13. This is a government that came to power on treachery and remains in power by selling their soul to the Greens. Gillard and her mob are desperate and will continue to disregard democratic process to kill off all those who supported Kevin Rudd. This is like cutting off the nose to spite the face. Gender war, class war now indigenous fiasco. Now the UN seat … wouldn’t be surprised if it is reserved for that deceitful, treacherous Arbib. Gillard, Arbib, Shorten, at al, killed Labor. That will go down in history. Gillard makes (even) Abbott look sooooooooo good. There are countless disillusioned and disgusted Labor supporters. Bring on the election, Queen of treachery!!

    Comment by Jolly — January 29, 2013 @ 11:13 am

  14. People like Jolly ate part of the problem they fail to understand how women’s rights have deteriorated especially young women. Us old feminist understand do we have to fight the same issues all over again? Looks like because even our small girls are being exploited by media and the fashion industry. Adolecence has been removed.
    Education does not tell students about the fight women had to get the vote and the right to be represented in Parliment.
    Ju;ia is trying desparately to bring Australian politics into the 21 century dispite opposition from the union factioned men and women who want to control the power of sdelection. They can see their power deminish and don’t like it.
    They do not have a seat for life in a democracy.
    We can l;earn from some places in Africa where women have taken opver to sort out the mess the men have made.

    Comment by Mary J — January 29, 2013 @ 11:27 am

  15. Barney, isn’t that lack of pre-selection itself an indication that something is broke?

    why should the Senate be a rubber stamp for a factional battle?

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 29, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

  16. totally agree Ronda.

    Let’s not get upset about whether the factions or Julia installs the candidate.
    Let’s change the system so that the factions no longer have the power to install a time server and the best candidate gets the nomination.

    Comment by barney — January 29, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

  17. Hi Rhonda did you see the opinion piece in today’s Australian?

    Comment by keith kennelly — January 29, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

  18. How can you make a change when the factions are already in control and have the numbers. To them it is a numbers game and they will not bow out and lose power.
    So julia is trying her best to address these issues with little helpo from within her pwn party. Strength to Julia. If she wins it is because many women will keep her there . it is the only chance they have of moving on form thei inbread ALP system we are stuck with.

    Comment by Mary J — January 29, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

  19. Keith, haven’t seen the OZ today. can you point to it or summarise? thanks

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 29, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

  20. Have now read the OZ article, by two Liberal women federal MPs. Says what I do, but more detailed and elegantly describing the damage to democracy that the PM’s ‘catapult’ of Novis has done. They make a strong arguement for preselection by party members and participation at the grass roots.

    Why doesn’t the ALP rise up in protest?

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 30, 2013 @ 7:22 am

  21. Bit rich of the Libs to criticise catapulting.
    John Alexander, Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison.
    Have a look at the way Peter Costello and Michael Kroger undermined wet MPs to get their own dries appointed. Have a look at the treatment of Chris Puplick and Marise Payne in NSW. Look at the treatment of Helen Kroger in Victoria.

    Where was everyone’s outrage when these appointments happened?
    I’m having difficulty finding room on the page to write this because the industrial quantities of hypocrisy on this topic which litters the thread.
    Faux moral outrage is a symptom of the age.

    Comment by barney — January 30, 2013 @ 8:16 am

  22. Mine is real outrage, against all parties that don’t practice openness and democracy.

    Of course the Libs are also tainted, but the article points out that for some people, it can also work.

    Sure, lots of good ALP people come up through the ranks.

    But often they have their brains eaten in the process.

    Can’t see what’s hypocritical about my stance – and I reckon people who aren’t angry about somthing political aren’t paying attention. Or have become another sheep.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 30, 2013 @ 11:28 am

  23. my point is Ronda that people’s outrage is selective because it’s a high profile appointment

    Comment by barney — January 30, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

  24. Totally agree, a purely political move given that it is so close to an election.

    Outrage that it is a high profile appointment is justified given that there were other indigenous labor members seeking preselection on other seats around the country.

    Comment by Wolffe Gaunt — January 30, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

  25. Hi Rhonda, yep it was as you thought liberal people should have said. It seems to me you have found liberal people and you have something in common. Having read your posts for a year or two now I think that has been apparent for quite some time.

    I feel sad for you. But my greater sadness is for those decent poor buggars who are on struggle street who have no where else to go.
    You have a choice. They really haven’t your lifestyle or wealth. Not that I think you overly wealthy. I only think you like many many liberal people have the means to look after yourself and themselves and like many of us reject labor mantra and adopt the liberal philosophy in the expectation it will leverage a better life fr the really disadvantaged than the current Labor disgrace.

    written with all the best of understanding and best wishes … whatever your choice. Your heart is in it’s right place.

    Comment by keith kennelly — January 30, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

  26. You are right, Keith, I do not believe in privilege. Nor do I believe anyone owes me a living.

    Why should you feel sad for me? I’m one of the lucky ones.

    This country has been very good to me, I am grateful to have been able to take the opportunities it has offered.

    Being blessed with good health and intelligence and the gift of good education (from working class parents), I try to contribute in some small ways to the community.

    Disadvantage that comes from tilting the game in the direction of the rich or powerful makes me angry, but so do people who don’t try.

    Australia is not a nasty third world horror – most people here have more choices than many in the world, thanks to a government that has taken on social safety nets. That’s why corrupt processes are wrong – they undermine the ability of the citizens to keep things in balance.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — January 30, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

  27. The blog’s author, Ronda Jambe, comments in response to another poster, on January 30, 2013 @ 7:20 pm, that:

    “Disadvantage that comes from tilting the game
    in the direction of the rich or powerful makes
    me angry, but so do people who don’t try.”

    It seems an appropriate point to place on record what appears to me to have been an attempt to disadvantage all participants in, and potential viewers of, this discussion. This disadvantage was intended to have been delivered by way of self-censorship of the blog by its author. To an extent, that attempt appears to have been partially successful, which is why I am commenting.

    Comment 8 to this blog post, by poster ‘QPublicServant’, on January 28, 2013 @ 7:52 pm, seems, as it stands, to be a bit of a non-sequitur, to wit:

    “Re the NB at the end. This is not sufficient.
    Given what you know, the article should be taken down.
    Highly insensitive. Put yourself in Ms Peris’s place
    if this article is brought to her attention. It is
    low grade and it undermines your credibility.”

    Comment 8 seems to be a response to some conversation not evident to me on Ambit Gambit. It leaves no doubt, however, that the objective of this out-of-sight conversation, so far as poster ‘QPublicServant’ was concerned, was that of having Ronda’s blog post taken down.

    As most posting or viewing here would know, Ambit Gambit is a blog shared by Graham Young, publisher of OnLineOpinion, and Ronda Jambe, author of this post. Graham Young is also on Twitter as ‘@GrahamY’ (as am I as Forrest Gumpp on OLO & ‘@ForrestGumpp’on Twitter) and he routinely tweets links to posts made to Ambit Gambit, whether by himself or Ronda Jambe, on Twitter. Graham did so in the case of this post, quoting the opening words of the eye-catching original post title:

    “Hey, Nova, what happened to your kneebone?:
    Perhaps it got broken while kneeling before
    your benefactor, the gre[at Julia Caesar].”

    This is a link to a Twitter conversation commencing with that tweet by @GrahamY : https://twitter.com/QPublicServant/status/295649614600736768 . Scroll up and down a bit for the full picture, and it may become apparent why I am making this otherwise seemingly pedantic ‘storm in a teacup’ comment to this blog.

    Eye-catching as it initially was, Ronda’s title and opening paragraph was, I thought, a little ‘off’, in making a play upon the formerly-used surname of a person only just recently thrust back into public prominence. Then I noticed the false basis to the ‘outrage’ implicit in the tweet to ‘@GrahamY’ by ‘@QPublicServant’: the ex-husband to which QPublicServant referred as having died in a vehicle accident was not Nova Peris’ first husband, Sean Kneebone, but her second husband, Daniel Batman, whom she married in 2002 and divorced in 2011. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nova_Peris

    Ronda’s reference to the surname under which Nova Peris became widely known to the Australian public as an athlete can in no way be seen as having tastelessly raised ghosts of the memory of Daniel Batman. The usage was thus totally fair game with respect to someone who has just been given a lay-down misere chance to become a Senator for the NT to the exclusion of all other already-prequalified aspirants. The attempt, out of public view, to use such a claim as a lever to have the post taken down had to have been one based upon either inexcusable ignorance, or the confection of outrage. No further pun intended, but was Ronda’s post a bit too close to the bone for those behind the giving of the inside track to a ‘captain’s pick’? Of course poster QPublicServant might just be the political tragic s/he could easily be thought from the twitterfeed to be, but I privately think that poster might be from a little higher up in the political food-chain.

    So, Ronda, well done over all, and could we have back, even if in strike-through mode, the post in its original form as a witness to what has been attempted here? It wasn’t aimed at Nova Peris, but at the probably rich and powerful, the like of whose fingerprints are, in my opinion, all over this attempt at censorship.

    Comment by Forrest Gumpp — February 1, 2013 @ 8:38 am

  28. Given that Ronda Jambe’s post in relation to the ‘captains pick’ of Nova Peris for the number one spot on the ticket for the upcoming NT Senate election was considered worthy of an attempt at censorship, perhaps it is an appropriate time to reconsider some possible context to the concomitant sidelining of the incumbent, Senator Crossin, in the making of what amounts to this appointment.

    Senator Crossin had a role in the chain of events that was to result in what was the effectively forced resignation of the then Commonwealth Ombudsman, Allan Asher, in late 2011. I posted about it on OnLineOpinion at the time. See: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=4792#127476

    It is interesting to note, in retrospect, that the chairmanship of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Review Committee, through a deal done between the ALP and The Greens, was transferred from being one filled by a Coalition Senator, to being one filled by a Greens Senator, shortly after details of Asher’s privileged and confidential response, to a question-upon-notice that had been asked by Senator Crossin of that Committee, were somehow leaked to the press.

    The ministerial ‘carpeting’ that Asher received following these leaks was itself in breach of privilege, as his response was privileged testimony to that Committee. Who was in breach of privilege? Seems it may have been the Prime Minister, and the Special Minister of State! Is that why it was important to remove Senator Gary Humphries as Chair of that Committee as at the time of that breach of privilege, lest, duty bound as Chair, he was to have become aware of a need to act upon the matter?

    Was Senator Crossin in some way seen as a perhaps unknowing witness to what had taken place, and was the primary objective of the exercise the removal of Senator Crossin, rather than to capitalize upon the touted meritoriousness of the appointment of Peris? Is that an underlying reason why Nova Peris’ appointment may be a matter of sensitivity by some of the likes of those who gave us our present Prime Minister, or those who pull their strings?

    These are the sorts of questions I am moved to ask myself when I see underhanded attempts at censorship.

    Comment by Forrest Gumpp — February 1, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

  29. Mr Gumpp,
    if you’ve got a choice between a conspiracy and a stuff up, go for the stuff up every time.

    Comment by barney — February 1, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

  30. Forrest, there was no censorship. It was simply pointed out to me that Ms Peris had lost her husband, named Kneebone, and I decided that my cheap (but clever) shot using her former name was probably not necessary. But I will not stop referring to the PM as Julia Caesar, and please do join that bandwagon.

    As to the labyrinthine machinations of the Labor party, who really knows why some get a kick out and others a kick up?

    It does seem clear, as Jack Waterford on the CT rather pitifully proclaimed in an oped piece, that Nova is free of enemies, precisely because she has no political affiliations or, most likely, knowledge or interest. How he turned that into a positive for her is beyond me.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — February 1, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

  31. Forrest, thank you very much for that clarification. Clearly I did not do the research into Nova’s personal life because it didn’t seem relevant to me.

    If indeed an ALP hack was behind the misinformation that led me to change the blog (it wasn’t taken down, just modified), I will trust that your correction will serve those who have followed this discussion to this point.

    Clearly Nova is a knee-bender, and Julia is imperious in her belief that she can do as she pleases.

    But your insights remind me that the politics are no doubt even nastier than I imagine, one reason I keep clear of formal parties.

    I can only hope to be a voice for greater honesty and better democracy in process, some time in the future we all hope.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — February 3, 2013 @ 7:37 am

  32. In the third paragraph of my comment of February 1, 2013 @ 12:26 pm, I wrote:

    “…, through a deal done between the ALP and
    The Greens, was transferred from being one
    filled by a Coalition Senator, to being one
    filled by a Greens Senator, …”

    I’m not sure, in retrospect, that I got that right. Certainly, the Parliamentary appointment of Chair of the LCAR Committee, with its associated emoluments, would have been like manna from heaven to the Greens as a minor party, at the time. However, with the advantage of hindsight it is possible to at least wonder as to any ‘deal’ in reality having been one between government and opposition, rather than government and Greens.

    One thing that makes me revise my opinion was the move, some time after the Ombudsman’s forced resignation, to replace Liberal ACT Senator Gary Humphries, who had been Chair of the LCAR Committee at the time of the breach of privilege, with Zed Seselja in the top spot on the Liberal ticket for the upcoming elections. Was there a perception, somewhere perhaps elsewhere than in the Parliament, that it was not sufficient to simply remove Humphries from the Chair of that Committee, but to perhaps remove him from the Senate entirely? Was he perceived as knowing, or being able in the immediate future to learn, too much in relation to the breach of privilege that had been exploited to drive Asher from his job?

    The other thing is what is now being described as the ‘race to the bottom’ between the major parties with respect to measures to deal with ‘the boats’, the ‘asylum seeker’ issue. Could ‘the boats’ issue have been being deliberately maintained on the burner as a measure for preparing the public conciousness to accept a much wider dismantling of the welfare safety net for the entire Australian community, using the enormous costs that have been incurred by the ‘management’ of secondary-movement asylum-seeking, whilst allowing the from time to time elected members of the one-party-state liblab uncoalition to maintain their overall place at the trough and have a career structure to advance within?

    Was the apparent success of the Howard liblab government in dealing with ‘the boats’ the reason that Australian government complexion had to be changed in 2007 to that of the Rudd lablib government?

    Did Asher have to go because he was formally acquainting both government and, more importantly, the public, as to exactly where Australian policy was hamstrung, and perhaps thereby undermining a covert ongoing maintenance of this festering sore on the Australian body politic, the unrecognised continuity of which would eventually drive an un-wised-up Australia to adopt a solution more in the best interests of others external to the Australian polity than to itself?

    Was the response of the government, and in particular DIAC, in 2011 an attempt to reconcile semi-articulate public concern with inability/unwillingness to confront the full nature of the issue, one that dealt with impact of the realities upon, and the perceptions held by, the Australian public at large, not just vocal interest-groups within it?

    As Allan Asher has said:


    It would be fascinating what light Senators Trish Crossin and Penny Wright, as minor actors in this drama, might these days be able to shed on this failure of our Parliamentary system to operate as it should have, especially as it now seems some ongoing fallout also threatens the employment of Michaela Banerji in DIAC in the form of what looks like ‘payback’. Payback for just appearing to be trying to get the right thing done!

    Comment by Forrest Gumpp — August 20, 2013 @ 8:27 am

  33. Something DIAC would have been able to see in November 2011 while monitoring the Twitter account of user ‘@LaLegale’, in the knowledge she was DIAC employee Michaela Banerji:


    Comment by Forrest Gumpp — August 21, 2013 @ 10:45 am

  34. The problem with being betrayed, by a friend, an employer, an institution, is that one tends to look back and wonder when it all started, when did things change, what happened to the transparency, and what was there to be gained by the betrayal?

    Comment by Michaela Banerji — August 21, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

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