A note to Julia, from Tim.

on February 4, 2011 | Australia Blog | Comments (0)

This is a note from my friend Tim, to Julia Gillard. This isn’t really related to Social Media, but i wanted to post it up anyway – thanks David.

Dear Julia. From Tim.

You might recall that we met at the founding of the National Union of Students. I guess it was 1985.

Myself and three labor guys came over from Tas Uni. It is the way our student union was then. Me & the labor guys against “independents” who would defer to the vice-chancellor on anything. I guess it was something inspired by Bob Hawke to put on a resume for the non sporting types in the hope of a trip much further than just Melbourne.

I remember you asking me what I was doing there and I explained that I still recognised that student bodies should exist even at a national level, I just wished that they would stop taking an opinion on problem issues like the Palestinian question.

What I probably didn’t tell you is that it was (& remains) my only ever trip interstate where someone else was paying.

I let my Liberal Party membership lapse about 15 years ago. Not much point being the only gay in the village.

Suddenly they then started winning elections without me. 1996 was on Sleaze Ball day & 1998 on Mardi Gras itself. Mind you even a drover’s dog could have won in 1996. 1998 was very close. Beazley actually won more votes overall like Peacock did if I recall correctly in 1984.

The victory in 1998 was in a way due to Martin Bryant & the gun buy-back and a statuesque performance in the wake of Port Arthur.

In 2001 the election was just weeks after September 11. Great trans-national tragedies are always good for incumbents. It is the same with flood & bushfires at home.

2004 delivered unexpected control of the Senate. All due to the Latham hand-shake on election eve.

In 2007 my Federal member knew his time was up. He made sure he lost his seat & his deputy at the same time.

Peter Costello assumed pretty much that he would get a turn just by dint of the age difference. Weird events happened it seems during APEC in Sydney. Howard actually asked Downer to sound out his support. Just when a change was quite impossible.

When Costello worked out that Howard would not even discuss a timetable to hand the reins over he started to talk to colleagues about a challenge. Every time there was talk of a challenge it pretty much started (in public anyway) as some sort of broadside from the Telegraph against Peter.

Apparently the Telegraph invited him to be editor for a day early in the piece. He arrived full of cheer and sat down at the morning editorial conference to discuss the news of the day and was told he was in the wrong seat. The guest editor was told that is not your seat! He should have worked out right then who his enemy was.

If you know politics from the NSW level you understand where the Telegraph fits in on the conservative side. It was the Telegraph & the Australian that delivered for Whitlam in 1972. The same ownership has been propping up the NSW ALP right since May 1976.

Every time there was a rumble from the Costello camp the Telegraph hit him hard with some sort of lack of ticker allegation. The question is how the Telegraph got wind in advance. Was there a member of Costello’s ALSF set who had become closer to Howard than Peter?

I guess you would call 1975 a sort of a coup. There was a coup in 1977 in the cricket world too. It was presaged by draws that year on consecutive days in the AFL & rugby league grand finals. In between was the Wran victory in 1976 backed 100% by those media forces that had hounded Whitlam. There was a narrow initial victory for Wran and then mere months later a crucial by-election in Earlwood where the Liberal candidate named Alan Jones (heard of him?) lost quite inexplicably.

There is a problem country on this planet where the head of state is a man who died in 1994.

Australian cricket is likewise still run by a corpse. There is a clear bias in the selection of Australia’s one unifying national team.

Sports writers up this way joke that when you suddenly need a replacement batsman or bowler you don’t waste time flying selectors round the place. You check what’s been happening in the Sydney grade comp.

Once you are from NSW and in the side it is hard to find your way out again. Mind you an opening bat with no runs and no technique had to go eventually.

To be captain you must be from NSW like Border or move to Sydney like Ponting. To be the heir apparent you must likewise be from Sydney. No need to actually score many runs in live rubbers.

In the midst of this season of mixed success we even had the replacement wicket-keeper (named Tim Paine & from Tasmania) being touted as a future captain when he wasn’t even in the first 11.

Now Tim when you had that moment of sunshine you should have imitated these celebrities who arrive in Sydney and suddenly decided you wanted to buy a house. Then I might have taken this future captain thing seriously.

Mind you this was not as bizarre as the fast bowler who came back into the one day side and interviewed at ground level after a good bowling stint talked about the third coming of his career. I guess his second coming was the period out of the side through injury etc.

When I was young toffs were from Toorak or thereabouts. Yet in cricket terms the toffs are the ex captains who have moved to Sydney. One to Mosman & the other to Vaucluse. And then there is the pigeon fancier who probably lives in the same Melbourne street he has always done. And don’t they love to talk about their salad days. No-one existed prior to them in TV land because the footage is all black & white.

Yet at the selection level there is an obsession with the NSW working class boy made good persona. Just make sure you move to Bondi or Sutherland Shire. Leave Vaucluse & Mosman well alone.

I will talk another time about rugby league’s state of origin series since 1980.

and here is Tim (centre), Stonewall hotel, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst – Sydney.

image goneeeeeeeeeeeeee

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