Courtesy of Crikey.com.au (and I apologise to Crikey for such lifting of content, in my defence I only do it very occasionally):
Let’s leave family out of this
John Howard might be gone, but his former colleagues are still scared of him. Or his wife, anyway. In December, Pam Williams published a devastating axe job on "the royal family" – John and Janette – and their deleterious influence on the election campaign in the Financial Review. Crikey understand the b-tching and moaning about the royal family was reprised the week before last at the Liberal Party love-in before parliament resumed. Last night’s Four Corners ran the Today Tonight interview in which Howard's formula over staying or going seemed to change, when his family supplanted his colleagues:
ANNA COREN: Why do you want to
continue? I mean, what makes you tick?
JOHN HOWARD: Well, there are still
things I want to do. And in fact I've talked about my position with my own family at length last night.
COREN: What did you say to your family?
HOWARD: Well, they want me to continue to contribute. They support what I'm doing.
But no one appears prepared to talk about the royal family on record – and especially not on camera.
"John Howard is keen to speak publicly overseas -- it's at home that he wants to remain silent for the time being," Malcolm Farr comments in the Telegraph today.
The Age’s Tony Wright goes one better. He details how the former PM has been off launching his career as an international guest speaker at the Awards for Excellence
ceremony in Nigeria. Howard will talk to ABC Television later this year for a series on his years in government – but it’s surprising that there’s been so little attention to an event in Washington that will place him centre stage in just over a fortnight.
On 5 March, leading think-tank the American Enterprise Institute will honour Howard with its Irving Kristol Award for "individuals who have made exceptional intellectual or practical contributions to improved government policy, social welfare, or political understanding". The former PM will deliver the Irving Kristol Lecture that evening. The AEI’s pre-publicity puffs Howard as "one of the world's most successful democratic politicians". Crikey hears the former PM is "depressed". Will he offer any insights into where it all went wrong?
Unlikely admission of reality - also known as the world that other people live in - is not in Howard's nature. The Irving Kristol Award for post-event irrelevance. How did Gareth Gareth-Gareth put it? "Relevance deprivation syndrome" (that phrase has stayed with me, just for an occasion like this).
As for the erstwhile royal family - do any of you sniff the emerging stench of "we knew where the power lay and we couldn't do anything about her."
Crikey also has a fleeting reference to one of those people who only show up in blog/political-tragic circles, one Senator Concietta Fierravanti-Wells. She is by all accounts a hard-right warrior against everything that is good and decent (depending on where you start from, of course).
4 . A rough estimate: Looks like there's a new government
David MacCormack writes
The first Estimates hearings of the new Government was always going to have a surreal air. New Ministers took their seats before their former committees, next to bureaucrats they had interrogated only months ago. New chairmen and women, like freshly-appointed prefects, struggled to assert their authority. Labor senators
repeatedly did a Wayne and forgot they were now the Government. Opposition Senators railed against the unfairness of it all, and struggled.
With little to go on against a new regime and no staff to do the detail work, the Coalition had to stick to the high level and the topical. The Finance and Public
Administration committee laboured over the Prime Minister’s errant staffers.
In the Communications committee, the recent tradition of the vile Connie Fierravanti-Wells and Michael Ronaldson maligning ABC and SBS journalists appeared to have ended – Fierravanti-Wells was last spotted chasing Kevin Rudd’s dog through the grounds of the Lodge. Coalition senators, perhaps forgetting that it was no longer Their ABC, or that there’d been an election in recent months, barely mentioned their usual obsessions of bias and left-wing influence. Instead, they spent most of their time inviting Stephen Conroy to elaborate on his plans for an independent ABC board appointment process.
I do like to see my taxes at work - particularly the hard right anti-public service tradition of 'Senator' Bronwyn Bishop who have lived a life high on the public teat, give defenceless public servants a hard time and, essentially, are as dumb as two short planks.
(Sorry about bold type, I hit a key or combination of and it appeared, not way in Blogger to undo).