I’m not sure if I’m following the soap opera properly. Can you give this synopsis a run through and see if I’ve missed anything out??
I suppose the opening act in this ‘comedy of errors’ would have to be the collapse of the Liberal Party at the last General Election, and expulsion of John Howard both from his position as Prime Minister *and* losing his seat to boot… a trick only done once before in Australian politics back in the far distant past.
Things quietened for a few months while we all giggled a bit. Then after a few months when we needed something new to laugh at, the NSW Labor Party stepped up to the stage and took their turn, The State Labor Party realising the state’s economic were so shonky they were in danger of collapse determined the best way forward was to sell off the electricity supply!!! Well why not, it was streamlined, was making massive profits for the people of the state and… err… well ok those weren’t very good reasons but still thy tried.
They tried and they failed.
Bizarrely, the state Liberals voted against *their* principles to *keep* the supply in public ownership!! With a clear picture of economic disaster emerging, John Watkins, the Deputy Premier, resigned. The front bench still reeling from a recent scandal involving a married couple of sitting members, was ripe for a shuffle, so the Premier Morris Iemma walked into the caucus room with a list of demands for change… impossible demands.
When they weren’t met… instead of negotiating… he up and resigned on the spot!! He resigned not only his position… but also his seat in Parliament! What a laugh eh? What was funnier was that the caucus then elected to the post of leader… and therefore Premier… an MP who is somewhat inexperienced with only a few years in politics… some of them working for an MP who was convicted not long ago of abusing little boys!!
Leaving that to one side, he then set about reforming the front bench… by sacking many of the people who’d voted him in! As an extra treat, the Health Minister Reba Meagher also flounced off… neglecting (as she flounced), to tell the new Premier she was off. Luckily she *did* announce her resignation directly to the media otherwise we probably would never have known!! Nice!! 😀
So in the space of a week we lost the Premier, Deputy Premier, Treasurer, Health Minister, Planning Minister… oh yes we also lost the new Police Minister sacked after 3 days in the job for dancing around drunk in his underwear and attempting to ‘have sex’ with the ‘bustline’ of another MP, Noreen Hay who was Parliamentary Secretary for Health!
There were a few more but I’ve lost track of who did what to whom!!
Of course being mostly within NSW, the lunacy was fairly localised and other parts of the country were feeling a little miffed at being sidelined so started up their own show.
Of these, Western Australia probably put on the best performance with the voters doing their part by balancing their votes such that the incumbent Labor administration was just pipped at the post. The government over there now consists of a weird combination of Liberals, Nationals, lesser parties… and one defector from the Labor Party!
Their sideshow resulted in the leader of the Liberals, who had resigned after ‘losing’ the election… withdrawing his resignation and taking over control of the state!!
Of course, the real clowns (a.k.a the Federal Liberal Party) were regrouping having decided that the leader they elected to take them to the next election, one Dr. Brendan Nelson, was in fact to be ‘transition man’ and the real hero was to be Peter Costello… who was handed the job on a platter by John Howard and turned it down on election night… saying *he* was resigning his seat immediately after winning it… and leaving politics.
Ok this part is a little complicated. Nelson was now leader but was concerned that Costello who was going to resign would in fact return and take over the party he turned his back on. What’s more, showing real leadership, Nelson was going to stand aside and let him!! Keeping everyone guessing, Costello made no moves towards the throne (as he hadn’t done for the 13 years before) but wafted about in the wings keeping everyone who cared waiting for him to make his move.
It transpired that Costello was in fact simply waiting for his book to released in which he was telling all about his time as John Howard’s putative, but never to be realised, successor. When it became clear he wasn’t going to tap Nelson on the shoulder… more intrigue reared it’s head. In the wings (loads of room in Liberal wings) was Malcolm Turnbull, a self made millionaire hated by many [i](most)[/i] and known to be very pushy in an obnoxious sort of way.
He had stood for leader when he was rebuffed in favour of Nelson, but Nelson made such an appalling Opposition Leader (repeatedly scoring *the* worst opinion poll showing of any leader in Australian history)that when it appeared Costello wasn’t going to stand… Turnbull decided to stir the pot all bar telling Nelson he was planning a coup so would he mind just hanging on for a few more weeks ’til he was ready to push him aside.
The result was that Nelson pulled off his masterstroke pre-warning his supporters and then calling for a leadership ballot to confirm him in the post as Opposition Leader.
Well, as with every other strategic initiative he made through his time as Opposition Leader… he had miscalculated. Turnbull emerged from the voting session triumphant… and Nelson came out wiping tears from his eyes.
We now have a new Leader of the Opposition. Of course there are those *still* hoping Costello is just waiting until the election is looking before making his move. That is obviously something being kept secret for now!! 😀
After the thrills of the past few months we’re all sitting eagerly awaiting the next episode!! Who said politics wasn’t fun?? Is this right so far… I do hope so!?!? 😀