Itâ€™s all happening in the normally peaceful and idyllic state of Tasmania at the moment. The election of five Greens party politicians in their stateâ€™s lower house has created unprecedented instability and carnage in state politics with Premier Bartlett reluctantly staying on in the top job, in conjunction with the Greens, whose unstated aim is to destroy Labor in the way many parasites can kill their host. The number of Greens voters (and party activists) at the ACTU makes it clear Laborâ€™s left continues to allow the parasite to grow, bigger and bigger, unchecked and mostly uncriticised.
It was a big call for Bartlett saying he wouldnâ€™t govern with the Greens and he certainly looked like he meant it, now weâ€™ll see just how sincere he was. If he goes along with the Greens in pursuing their radical agenda on heroin decriminalisation or extending the vote to murderers and rapists while they are serving their sentence in jail then heâ€™ll do much to destroy Laborâ€™s already roughed-up brand down there.
Bartlettâ€™s chief of staff Terry FieldÂ is the brother of the former Labor Premier Michael Field whose career was destroyed by his ill-fated partnership with the Greens, so both the cos and his boss will be keen not to repeat that damaging episode.
ON RUDDâ€™S ORDERS
At the federal level, the Tasmanians havenâ€™t exactly excelled themselves, indulgently preselecting renegade union â€˜pugilistâ€™ Kevin Harkins despite the express direction of the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that he would not be tolerated as a candidate.
While there is genuine dispute within the ALP about exactly what Harkins had done to earn the Prime Ministerial veto, there was no doubt that he needed to be chopped as Rudd required. The media says it loves a healthy internal democratic party process. They lie. They insist and demand the most Stalinist set of arrangements where the Party Leaderâ€™s every opinion is quickly implemented. Anything else is a repudiation, a humiliation and a desecration. As a result, a public expression from an incumbent PM that an aspiring candidate is an unperson is and will these days probably always be sufficient grounds to terminate them.
Tonight (Thursday evening), the Right and Left caucuses of the National Executive met and resolved to flick Harkins in favour of a former state minister whoâ€™d just lost her seat, preachy leftist Lisa Singh.
Singh is no genius either, party insiders say, with her publicly attacking her own partyâ€™s belated but correct decision to hold the radical Greens party to account for its extreme policies during the state election. She was defeated by Scott Bacon, the son of the former Premier Jim Bacon and who doorknocked a huge number of homes while Singh was playing the important minister, too notable to mix it up with retail political tasks.
In sequence, the ticket has been re-ordered from the Tasmanianâ€™s initial choice of the Rightâ€™s Helen Polley, Harkins and AMWU official Anne Urquhart to now be Polley, Urquhart and Singh. The third position is by no means a certain pick-up.
Faction insiders tell VEXNEWS the Left caucus split 5:4 with Mark Butler and Anthony Albanese defeating forces aligned with Kim Carr on the Harkins issue.
The Right faction supported the PMâ€™s view but there was some dispute among its participants about whether Singh should be supported or the factionally ambiguous and incumbent Senator Kerry Oâ€™Brien should be given a life-line, partly as a reward and encouragement for him leaving his left faction.
His Senate colleague David Feeney argued the case for Oâ€™Brien although interestingly the national secretary of the SDA Joe de Bruyn opposed Feeneyâ€™s view.
There was criticism of Oâ€™Brien over claims heâ€™d been involved in ratting on Labor candidates or some such. Feeney apparently conceded this point but pointed out that the Singh had some baggage too that ought be considered. She had previously ignored Labor caucus decisions on support for a pulp mill project in Tasmania and abstained.
The moderate union leader de Bruyn won the argument and Singh won support of the Right caucus too, meaning the result of the National Executive on Friday is now a foregone conclusion: Harkins is a goner.
We suspect the Tasmanian Kevin will have to wait for Queenslander Kevin to retire off to the United Nations or George Soros thinktank before taking his union-decreed birthright in Club Fed.
Labor insiders sympathetic to Harkins say he would have been a much better Senator than Singh. Weâ€™ll now probably never know.
While Rudd might have been brought back to Earth by the pugnacious Liberal leader Tony Abbott, any doubt that heâ€™s still large and in charge in Labor Land was swiftly quelled by the National Executive caucuses tonight (Thursday) and will be made clear to all the world after the formal meeting of the National Executive tomorrow.