Friday, February 24, 2012

Robert McClelland, and who will free 'Breaker' Morant now?

(Above: happier times, when cards were lifted in unison).

So far, in a random sample of spruikers for Rudd - they might be thought of as the Senātus Populusque Ruddster or SPQR brigade - has turned up a dispiriting list.

First there was Doug Cameron, then came Kim Carr, and then Martin Ferguson, and then Chris Bowen, and last night Robert McLelland briefly flashed across the screen.

If you were looking to put together a first eleven out of this bunch, you'd be looking like the usual despairing Australian cricket selector.

If you were looking to go forward in government, what could you do with this collection of drover's dogs' dogs?

McClelland in particular exemplifies all that's wrong with the more useless side of Labor politics, having been the most irritating Attorney-General in decades. And that's saying something, since his predecessors included the gormless Philip Ruddoch, who persisted in wearing an Amnesty badge to the great indignation of Amnesty members who actually cared about the ideals of Amnesty, and the woeful Darryl Williams.

McClelland's idea of a policy initiative was to write off to the mother country pointing out that there had been a denial of procedural fairness in the matter of 'Breaker' Morant being a thug, a war criminal and a very minor poet, and that he had clear evidence of heinous breaches of procedures in 1902 (Australia asks Britain to reconsider Breaker Morant pardon).

That produced this bit of gobbledegook:

The previous submissions have gone to the issue of the merits and that is the merits of shooting the prisoners and whether there was a shoot to kill order and whether they were acting on that or acting on their own behalf. This submission that I'll be making will substantially bypass that issue and focus on the procedural defects and if a proceeding is initiated by a procedural defect then it is null and void.

Yes, never mind the people he killed, let's focus on the gobbledegook of proceeding to procedural defects which null and void proceedings.

You don't have to waste much time reading a piece like Craig Wilcox's The trial of 'Breaker" Morant was no injustice - he was guilty to know that McClelland's a goose, who clearly watched Bruce Beresford's film about the 'Breaker' a few too many times.

In any area you care to name - surveillance, supine subservience to the United States, gay marriage, Julian Assange and Wikileaks - McClelland was the sort of conservative Labor political hack who made you think you'd mistakenly voted for a conservative Liberal party hack. (Wikileaks acts 'illegal': Gillard Government).

In the gay marriage arena, it did at least lead to a classic pwning by Kerry O'Brien back in 2008, along with an almost lethal, certainly toxic, dose of McClelland humbuggery:

McClelland: The system of registration essentially recognises a relationship that is in existence. The system that is proposed or has been discussed as being proposed in the ACT would be a system that would, as a result of a ceremony, create a legal relationship which essentially is something akin to the traditional concept of a marriage ...

... Well, we - what you are talking about is providing a positive system of recognising at law a relationship that is in existence as a result of the registration of that, as is occurring in Tasmania and as is occurring in Victoria. That is something that is appropriate because it actually recognises something that is in existence. What we don't support is legal measures that create a relationship that is akin to marriage.

Kerry O'Brien: I'm still not sure why that's not discriminatory, but I think that's where we're gonna have to leave it. (here)

So that's where it was left, but what admirable goobledegook, spoken by a man with a couple of law degrees, and still not a clue.

Presumably if the Ruddster were to win any ballot for the leadership, he'd owe these featherless turkeys a position here or there.

But I guess there'd be an upside: 'Breaker' Morant could finally walk free, and former chairman Rudd's sister could rejoin the party (oh yes, it was the old breaking a commandment of Moses routine, thereby managing to conflate all sorts of commandments in the bible - there are over six hundred of the damn things - with Moses being delivered of a few tablets - Kevin Rudd's Sister Loree Quits Labor Over Its Gay Marriage Policy).

Meanwhile, the media has become an arid zone as the Rudd v Gillard showdown attracts more attention than a rumble in the octagon, and I guess by brooding about McClelland the pond has also become unreadable.

Poor Gonski. What a time to dump an education report into the marketplace of ideas.

Marketplace of ideas? That reminds the pond of Robert McClelland and his department's splendid idea of forcing ISP to keep records on all subscribers for possible use by law enforcement agencies. (Canberra rethinks retention regime on ISP subscriber records).

It wasn't just Scott Ludlam who thought that the replacement of McClelland - with his predilection for closed doors - by Nicola Roxon was fantastic news (Ludlam warns against online rights complacency).

And speaking of self-interest, last night produced this doozy:

CHRIS UHLMANN: What do you say to those who would say that you are bitter at Julia Gillard because she dumped you from the Attorney-General's portfolio?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: I'm certainly on the record as indicating I was disappointed with that decision, but these events are far more significant than that incident. It is certainly a case where now, as a member of the parliamentary Labor Party, we have an obligation to supporters to do all we can to win the next election and I think that is putting forward our best leader. (here)

Incident? Did someone fill out an incident report?

The self-serving self-interest throughout that interview on the 7.30 Report was a marvel to behold, particularly this bit:

I don't think we have captured the attention or the support of the broader Australian community, and obviously if we want to win an election, they have to listen to us, they have to trust us, they have to have empathy with us, and more than that they have to be enthused about our programs.

Dear sweet absent lord, has McClelland no understanding of how it's absolutely impossible to have any empathy with him or enthusiasm for the programs he pursued so diligently while in power?

If former Chairman Rudd is being undermined by faceless men, and Robert McClelland is a grand example of a man with a face, appearing on television - or should that be blighting the 7.30 Report - bring on the faceless men ...

(Below: and since we love a soap opera joke).


  1. Although his work is stunningly shallow and narcissistic, ____ is celebrated as a big thinker.
    That's not about Kevin, tho' it could be. It's from a review of a book about Thomas Friedman.

  2. Very funny considering that Rudd was ousted by mining magnate pressure exerted on the union powerbrokers to can the Mining Tax...and bring in a massively watered down compromise. Then there's the silence while good ole Gina buys up Fairfax and Channel 10 to push her right-wing agenda. But of course Labor can't tell us the truth so they make up lies to cover it up by defaming one of their own.

    I wish that they'd direct these attacks intelligently at Tony Abbott. At least Rudd is doing this. The best the rest can muster is "Dr No" (which is what Kim Beazely did).

    The rest have seem to have forgotten that if Rudd defects like Peter Slipper then they lose the prime ministership which is what they deserve. No one would want to be subject to that personal rubbish. It's as bad as Tony Abbott saying that PM Gillard is "barren". Not good enough for Gillard but okay for Rudd to cover up collusion with mining magnates.

    They are certainly no longer representing new Labor which is middle class Australia. Instead they represent old cranky pants working class Labor who are a dying breed thanks to the demise of the manufacturing industry which they can't or don't want to save.


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