Category Archives: NSW politics

Iemma rolled amid Labor turmoil

Such drama here in NSW!

Morris Iemma has been forced to resign as New South Wales Premier after sacking his colourful Treasurer Michael Costa. Nathan Rees or Carmel Tebbutt are now in line to be elevated to the premiership in a bid to try to rebuild the party’s flagging political fortunes. News that Mr Iemma was gone came in the wake of a press conference by Mr Costa, who said he did not consider that he had been sacked until the decision was ratified by a Caucus meeting.

Bye bye, Morrie!


ABC pic


Nathan Rees is now NSW Premier. Only in Parliament for 18 months, and at one time a garbage man — an experience that may well be relevant — he does come across fairly well. He has a job on his hands; some wit a day or two back said the ship was deserting the sinking rats, and there is something in that I fear. But whatever, I do like the cut of Nathan’s jib, I have to say…

Saturday morning

There has been something of an outbreak of honesty in some of the interviews that have surrounded the sinking of Morrie. Nice guy, but never very convincing. Former Treasurer Michael Costa definitely has personality issues — some of which he has quite candidly admitted to in recent times — but in his farewell package he certainly told it as it is. He also admitted the problems go way back to Bob Carr’s day; now there was a man who had read his tea-leaves — or coffee grounds — back in August 2005. Bob is, and was, very plausible; you may take that in several senses.

I don’t usually quote The Australian’s Imre Salusinszky — very much a culture warrior — but he does get recent events pretty right in this story and this commentary.

Here is one of the new Premier’s interviews: NSW Premier Nathan Rees speaks to Lateline.

VIRGINIA TRIOLI: And congratulations on being made Premier today. It’s been an unholy mess, a really crazy last few months, hasn’t it, and a destabilised and fracturing time for the Labor Government? How do you unite now such a deeply divided party?

NATHAN REES: Well, I think you nailed it just then. It’s been an unholy mess and what we’ve demonstrated today as a party is that we recognise that it’s been a mess and we recognise that we need to deliver much better than that for the people of NSW. The changes that were made today, with the resignation, the courageous resignation of Premier Iemma – or former Premier Iemma – and the installation of myself and my deputy Carmel Tebbutt demonstrates how seriously we take the job of fixing the public’s view of our delivery and we take it very seriously…

By the way, he has a degree in English Literature from Sydney University — so no wonder I like the cut of his jib… 😉

Sunday night

Worth looking at: ALP dominance crumbles by Trevor Cook on ABC Unleashed.


Posted by on September 5, 2008 in Australia, current affairs, NSW politics


Jim Belshaw on teacher accreditation

I commend Jim’s post Problems with teacher accreditation. I could not have put the issues any better. And I must agree with his coda:

As a broader comment, the NSW Government’s obsession with standards and measurement does not seem to have made NSW a model for good public management.

Too true!

Blogged with the Flock Browser
Comments Off on Jim Belshaw on teacher accreditation

Posted by on August 23, 2008 in current affairs, education, Jim Belshaw, NSW politics


Saffron’s son: Dad paid off Askin and lent Packer money – NSW: the good old days!

I was told once of a then illegal gay venue in Sydney — I am speaking of the 1960s and 1970s — by someone who worked there that he had one night been introduced to the club’s “silent partner”, the then Premier of NSW. Somewhere in this mix was always the name Abe Saffron. Now Saffron’s son has written Abe’s biography.

THE disgraced former Liberal premier Bob Askin was not only on the payroll of the late crime boss Abe Saffron, but was the recipient of payments via horse races that were fixed as “a courtesy to premier Askin”.

Askin and a police commissioner were among those who received thousands of dollars a week from Saffron, the crime figure’s son has confirmed in a book on his father, to be released soon…

Despite Saffron’s lifelong denial of involvement in criminal activity, in Gentle Satan Saffron’s only son, Alan, 59, says his father controlled the vice trade, including illegal gambling and prostitution, in every state except Tasmania and the Northern Territory, and bribed a host of politicians and policemen to ensure he was protected.

At one stage, the American “Mob” tried to persuade Saffron to operate a casino in Las Vegas on its behalf, but his father declined, he said.

Mr Saffron details his father’s “excellent business relationship and long-standing friendship” with Askin and the police commissioner of the day, Norm Allan, who died in 1977. Questions were asked about the size of Askin’s estate, almost $2 million, when he died in 1981. Askin was knighted in 1972, while he was premier…

In his early years as premier, Askin would meet Saffron at restaurants at arranged times and speak to him on the phone regularly. But as Saffron came to the attention of law enforcement agencies, intermediaries were used, Mr Saffron says in the book.

He says in the later years of Askin’s premiership, his father became the “bagman” for Sydney’s liquor and prostitution rackets, and most of the illegal gambling. “In return, my father was completely protected.”

During the late 1960s, when his illegal casinos were flourishing, Saffron was paying the premier and the police commissioner $5000 to $10,000 a week each…

Mr Saffron said he was “extremely disappointed that there were notable absences at his father’s funeral, including several prominent former politicians and police who had been the recipient of his father’s generosity. “I wish I could tell you who they are,” he said, but lawyers for his publisher, Penguin, had asked him to remove a number of names from the book.

One person who did attend Saffron’s funeral in 2006 was the controversial West Australian businessman Warren Anderson. Mr Saffron said Mr Anderson had been a wonderful friend to his father and had helped him with “real estate ideas”.

“He really trusted Warren. He thought he was a really good man,” Mr Saffron said.

As to his father’s battles in his dying years to restore his reputation by suing anyone who referred to him as Mr Sin, Mr Saffron said he had wasted thousands of dollars. He said he told his father: “Don’t try to clean it up. Everybody knows you did it.”

“He was a sinful man,” his son said, “but he was not Mr Sin.” That person, he said, was a doctor whom he would not name.


Read the rest of this entry »


Youth Day rail strike plan rushed to IRC – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A rail strike plan for the most crowded day in the World Youth Day schedule is a strike too far, in my opinion, and I say that as one not involved in WYD, not even all that enthusiastic about it, and as a trade unionist. I think the Rail Union is being unbelievably stupid, not doing the union movement any favours at all. Look, they may have a case, but my immediate thought, and I think most Sydney residents would agree, is that I no longer care. It is blackmail, no doubt about it.

Rail Union: sack that ugly dick who speaks for you on TV. I find him truly offensive… But I find RailCorp pretty offensive too…

@ update: strike averted!part of the political assassination of M Iemma?

NSW Government: how much more incompetent can you get? You have lost my vote — though come to think of it I am fortunate enough to be in Clover Moore’s electorate so I have actually never voted for you, not since some time last century…

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off on Youth Day rail strike plan rushed to IRC – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Posted by on July 7, 2008 in Australia, NSW politics



How the NSW government has made World Youth Day into a problem

There was a talkback session on ABC Local’s Night Life last night about the upcoming Papal visit and the NSW special laws so quietly foisted on us recently. Arthur covers those laws here from his point of view:

The Australian and international blogosphere is abuzz with news of New South Wales’ antidemocratic laws protecting Catholicism from criticism during the World Youth Day festivities:

EXTRAORDINARY new powers will allow police to arrest and fine people for “causing annoyance” to World Youth Day participants and permit partial strip searches at hundreds of Sydney sites, beginning today.

The laws, which operate until the end of July, have the potential to make a crime of wearing a T-shirt with a message on it, undertaking a Chaser-style stunt, handing out condoms at protests, riding a skateboard or even playing music, critics say.

Police and volunteers from the State Emergency Service and Rural Fire Service will be able to direct people to cease engaging in conduct that “causes annoyance or inconvenience to participants in a World Youth Day event”.

People who fail to comply will be subject to a $5500 fine.

You may find a very amusing range of T-shirts that have appeared as a result in Arthur’s post.

My own feeling is that prior to the NSW government’s heavy-handed and authoritarian action most people here accepted, whether with or without enthusiasm, that World Youth Day is indeed a major event of note and thus accepted that it would lead to inconvenience. However, most Sydney-siders really were not all that interested, and very few would have bothered to go out demonstrating one way or another.

Now, however, the government has so incensed people, including many prominent Catholics, that demonstrations and protests are far more likely than they would otherwise have been.
Read the rest of this entry »



God’s Politics – Dobson and Obama: Who is ‘Deliberately Distorting’?

This entry, and a few YouTubes posted on the same blog since, is quite fascinating, even to an outlander like me here in Australia. Just over a year ago I asked Who on earth is James Dobson? I quoted there the US blog Daddy, Papa and Me:

I have harped on this over and over and over again. These groups (American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family and the ilk) are hate groups. The take a group of citizens (GLBT) and demonize them as diseased and worse.

Many in the religious right object when their speech is called ‘bigotry’ and even close to ‘nazi propaganda’ in its ferocity. The main argument they use is basically that we are ‘reducing the level of disourse’. I find it a strange argument. These groups and people affiliated with these groups will demonize me and other GBLT in some of the most hateful language, but then call ’shill’ those who would call them on it.

The fact is, these groups demonize gays in nearly identical terms and ways anti-semitic groups and early Nazi propoganda did. These groups and their spokespeople use use hate speech not far removed from the KKK might say about blacks.

These are hate groups. There is no argument.

Socially aware evangelical Jim Wallis is somewhat more circumspect in his language, but only somewhat.

Read the rest of this entry »


Quick note on the 2020 Summit

I think it is far too soon to judge the 2020 Summit just concluded in Canberra. Those of you still here in 2020 will be able to make the necessary judgments. I was, as I made clear, not in the camp of the cynics, however. I note that Jim Belshaw and Marcellous have both expressed views, both of them worth considering, though I really do find Marcellous too cynical on this one, though he does say he still has an open mind. It was interesting that at lunch (The Porter House) today Sirdan was very enthusiatic about it all; I don’t think anyone could accuse Sirdan of radicalism. (We also discussed Mugabeland, Sirdan’s birthplace, and expressed much satisfaction in the way this country of Australia, by contrast, handles political and social change.)

Read the rest of this entry »