The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Is Labor even running anyone besides the Ruddster?

[flyer for Melissa Parke in Fremantle] Party propaganda is hardly surprising given the upcoming election, but as soon as this flyer landed in my mail last week something didn’t seem right.

Ostensibly, I’m being notified about my new Labor candidate now that Carmen Lawrence is retiring … but looking through the text, that matter is dispensed with in three sentences. In fact, the flyer’s really about Kevin Rudd being a great leader, and his grand plan for a wonderful and prosperous Australia, and don’t you think this is wonderful too and should therefore vote Labor?

This didn’t sound very grassroots to me. And it was followed by the “my industrial relations rules are better!” TV ads of two days ago, in which the Ruddster was the only speaker and Julia Gillard the only other Labor face to appear (for all of three seconds).

Heck, this last week was also the first time I can remember reading a newspaper article quoting Labor’s foreign affairs spokesperson (Robert McClelland, apparently). Aside from the rock-star environment rep and the oft-parodied second in command, does anyone actually know who’s in the shadow cabinet?

This campaign is increasingly looking to be a race between one man from Queensland and That Other Lot, and I have to wonder whether the populace really love the Ruddster that much …

  1. It’s not universal – I just got a communique from Stephen Smith (member for Perth [which is my electorate, obviously]), which talks about how he’s pretty good and I should vote for him. Not only does it not mention Rudd, it doesn’t even mention his party affiliation. I had to look him up on wikipedia to find out that he’s a member of the ALP.

    ..nor did it mention that he’s apparently the Shadow Minister for Education, so I see your point there.

  2. Hi there – I enjoyed your blog review of my brochure. I understand your point about the brochure’s emphasis on Labor policies under the leadership of Kevin Rudd, but it is important for me as a Labor candidate to highlight what we, as the progressive party in Australian politics, are seeking to achieve. I am campaigning to earn the support of the people in Fremantle as part of the Labor team that puts itself forward as the alternative government of Australia. Our plan to improve broadband infrastructure is a critical, national initiative … but for me it means providing adequate 21st century communications infrastructure in suburbs like Hamilton Hill, Banjup, Coolbellup, etc – so that everyone can benefit from the technology that you’ve used (in this blog!) to participate in Australian politics. You can see more about me at (or via wikipedia). And if there are specific policy areas that you’re interested in, please don’t hesitate to email me directly at [email protected]

    All the best,

    Melissa Parke

  3. Hi Melissa,

    Many thanks for taking the time to comment — it’s great to see a political candidate who actually knows what a blog is :-)

    It’s entirely fair that you’d want to inform people of party policy. But the brochure was the first I’d heard from your office, so I was kinda expecting more of an attempt to emphasise matters in the electorate … particularly since the most vocal critics of your candidature have been going on about you not being a local! (’tis silly, given that Freo is a migrant town, but anyway.)

  4. Well now, you are rising in the ranks. A response from the actual politician in question, none less. (Although I do feel obliged to point out that throwing in “the progressive party” was not subtle. At all. I know it’s an election year but please, stop with the bludgeoning, even if only for a little while!)

    I have to confess I’m rather hazy on where the line between federal and state is in terms of what each achieves at the electorate level. But it’d be an interesting conundrum; what if, in general, you approved of Labor and wanted them in, but their policies were not the most beneficial for your electorate? I’m sure psychologists would love that as a behavioural study. (I’m not saying this is the case, because I’m actually not really sure what the specific policies regarding here are – of either party. Most of the stuff that comes to mind is all dealt with on a state level, probably because I tend to keep better tabs on mining-related issues.)

    There was an interesting bit today – or possibly yesterday, it’s all starting to blur – in the Oz about Labor’s careful leashing of their rock star. As for our Labor rep, apparently she’s moved here to start campaigning – made front page of the Miner, it did. Not that I actually remember her name…

  5. For Federal politicians, looking after the electorate generally means keeping in touch with people to ensure their concerns get heard in Canberra, but in marginal seats it means throwing money to build technical colleges or take over hospitals! Although in the dilemma you describe, maybe a sense of the greater good would win?

    Also, Kevin from Broome wrote about your Labor candidate recently.

  6. Hmm. Lots of the “what we’re going to do” with a distinct lack of any actual how in that ad. (I’m thinking it’s a good thing I don’thave a tv, because if all the ads are like that I’d probably wind up hating the lot.)

    I really should start finding out what the issues here are, I keep thinking as though I’m still in Tangney. Although I’m really not surprised that the sum that leaves Kal is disproportionate to the sum that gets put back; I count 21 projects “operating in 2006 or under development with an actual/anticipated value of production than $A10 million” on my resources map – and that’s just in the immediate Kalgoorlie surroounds (roughly 150 km radius, I think). (For the record: one tantalum, the rest roughly 50-50 gold and nickel.) That’s rather a lot of revenue right there.
    Besides, they’ve being saying that same thing about WA as a whole – “economic powerhouse” sounds familiar – and also Queensland, to a lesser degree.

  7. To Thia

    The size of the Kalgoorlie electorate is roughly 2.3 million sq km – thats a lot of territory to cover and makes it difficult to get to talk to everyone – although I do try my best, and this is a good way to get to know what people are thinking!!! Fortunately for us the Kal electorate houses the nations resources wealth, however unfortunately we haven’t been getting our fair share back. This means less money for us for health services and education, for example. Currently in some rural areas, health spending is only $100 per capita compared to the national average of $827 – and this is not fair. In addition to health & education, other issues raised to me by voters was Howard’s unfair IR, childcare, climate change, housing affordability and the skills shortage (which links back to underinvestment). To get our fair share, Labor has developed policies for these issues, as well as recognised the importance of investment in regional communities in the Kal electorate by giving 25% of Gorgon royalties back to the region.

  8. Hi Sharon,

    Many thanks for your comments as well … maybe I can keep working my way around electorates to get every Labor candidate to stop by this thread ;-)

    Your electorate is indeed at the heart of criticisms about WA wealth being taken by Canberra and not returned, but this may well be alleviated (at least for a while) during the election campaign. There’s chatter of big spending commitments from a Liberal Party trying to grab every seat it can in WA …

  9. [...] role to change, like how it stopped caring about the complaints of State politicians (and even local candidates) in saying “waaaaah Canberra isn’t giving us enough [...]

  10. And look at the result – Labor Wins!!!

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