Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who's next?

Update from The Age this morning. This is Katharine Murphy writing:

THE sounds of paper shredders can be heard in a discordant symphony around the ministerial wing of Parliament House.

Wheelie bins clutter the corridors. Shattered Coalition staff in tracksuits and jeans are gathering possessions and trying to remain civil.

Nameplates have been ripped off the walls, awaiting their replacements.

The Coalition, like Elvis, is leaving the building, or moving to pokey offices with modest ensuites and concealed courtyards.

Barnaby Joyce — whose Canberra office has always been out on the fringes of the building — confesses he is afraid. "I'm scared, I don't want to go outside because I might find a podium to resign from," the Queenslander says before breaking into one of those laughs where it's clear there is absolutely nothing to laugh about.



And so it goes on. I know it seems like I'm gloating, but it's exactly this kind of behind-the-scenes stuff that I love to hear about: the intersection of the personal with the professional. Hard not to see it all through eyes trained by watching West Wing, though.

5 comments:

David Thornby said...

This might seem weird (it seems weird to be thinking it), but as much as I have been dismayed at the governing of the country under the Coalition, I hope for the sake of the (remaining) dignity of Australian parliamentary democracy that the resignations stop soon. This whole 'taking my bat and ball and going home' attitude is saddening, even maddening. So many people who claimed to have given so much in public service can't be bothered with it if they're not doing it in government -- I find that disappointing. Downer almost certainly can't be PM, but I think of all the senior Libs he was the one who seemed to be at ease with that, so I'm surprised he won't be staying on. Costello could conceivably still have been PM, one day, if things went badly enough for Labor in the next three or six years. However, he's apparently not prepared to be Opposition leader first -- too averse to either the ignominy or the risk. Vaile obviously wasn't in the running to be anything particularly important any more; it's disappointing that serving his electorate isn't enough to keep him interested. I wonder how many by-elections we'll have to endure in the next 18 months.

Turnbull seems to be the only one who believes he can be Opposition leader immediately after a loss, and still be in the job the next time the Coalition wins government. Good on him for that, I suppose; it's more than the rest of them are prepared to believe about themselves. Heaven help us all if he ever runs the country, though I suppose dog owners will be happy.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Yeah, I'm with you. Heaven knows, the rest of us have to pick ourselves up from disappointment often enough... Mind you, as the Fin. Review said this morning, all the departing public servants now going on the job market will be able to test if it is indeed as robust as they have been saying. (Never read it; just at the oncologist's this morning!)

On talkback radio last night, I heard someone suggesting Costello was just retiring to the back bence in order to distance himself from the debacle, and then when Turnbull or Nelson stuffs it up, he can come back in and save the day. What do you reckon? Sounded plausibly sneaky enough to me...

Pavlov's Cat said...

I've heard that suggested about Costello too.

There was a note at crikey.com.au this morning from some traveller who had spotted Downer in cattle class on a Virgin Blue flight, taking instructions from the flight attendant on his exit row responsibilities. THAT'll take some getting used to, Alexahn-duh.

(The ony time I ever got to sit in the exit row was when I was travelling with Peter Rose, who is 6'3" or 4" and really needs the extra leg room. You have to practically become an honorary crew member in an emergency. Good thing there wasn't one.)

David Thornby said...

Well that's exactly what I thought Costello would do -- get out of the spotlight for a year or two, let Nelson or Abbott take the immediate post election heat and suffer the fallout from the inevitable party-room implosion, before rising to the challenge again come election time. Leading a political party immediately after losing government really is, after all, a foolish thing to do most of the time if you have ambitions for the top job.

Then he started talking about finding a new life post-politics; he's as much as stated that he's looking for a new job in commerce. Downer likewise. I think that's an insult to their electorates, really, but surprising particularly in Costello's case as he's still young enough to get to the Lodge, if good enough.

Perhaps that's really the admission that he's making; that he's lost the belief that he can get where he wanted to be for so long.

Ampersand Duck said...

And no doubt -- NO doubt -- there is a public servant or two hastily stuffing documents down their top for a scandalous memoir further down the track. We can only hope. All those shredders are setting my teeth on edge.