Saturday, 12 June 2010

Keith De Lacy's political judgment: Kevin Rudd should not rely on it.

The Hon Keith De Lacy AM Hon D Litt. DUniv, BA, DipAgr, FAIM, FAICD

Keith De Lacy is unhappy with our Kevin.  Well he has been for a while.  Now he is calling for Rudd to be replaced.

If there is one thing that Michel Foucault and post-modernism has taught us it is that there are many stories.  For better or worse, you, dear Networkers, are getting the Miss Eagle version.

I don't see why we should take one scrap of notice about what Keith De Lacy thinks on anything at all.  You see, Networkers, Miss Eagle well remembers the morning after: the Queensland State Election of 1996 when Keith De Lacy woke up and found he wasn't Treasurer of Queensland any more. I have never forgotten what he said on air.  He said: "There's a message in there somewhere but I don't know what it is."

This oh-so-public reflection was indicative of the feelings of the upper echelons of the Queensland Labor Govt under Wayne Goss.  It is also why the preferred Prime Minister or preferred Premier polls are unreliable and untrustworthy.  You see, right up until he was chucked out of office, Wayne Goss was the most popular and preferred Premier in Australia - can't recall the figures, but very high in the 60 or 70 percentiles.  In short, they didn't see it coming.

I lived in Townsville at the time and we saw it coming from miles away - and we were not alone..  We had Cabinet Ministers working hard whittling safe Labor seats into marginals.  We had the Queensland Rail vote - which, in Townsville, had some significance - publicly stating 18 months out from the election that they would not be voting Labor.  There had been the controversial Mundingburra by-election and, Networkers, there are things I am privy too that I won't be telling you about the period of the Member for Mundingburra, Ken Davies. And Keith De Lacy was acting publicly like a stunned mullet?!  Clearly, political judgment was not his strong suit.

Politicking and money are Keith's strong suits.  Keith lived up the road from Townsville in Cairns.  How I used to admire the campaigns run by De Lacy.  Labor finances in Cairns were something else!  The raffles were for cars.  The branches had bought a house or two as investment properties.  They had the money and they were well organised - and well placed to thrust Keith into Government and the position of Treasurer.  The politicking and money traits are embedded in Keith's character and shine forth still to-day.  

Now, in case you think I am letting Kevin Rudd off lightly, I am not.  Kevin was part of this crew.  Kevin was Chief of Staff to Wayne Goss and was very powerful.  One could argue that Kevin ran Queensland - under Wayne.  So what Australians at large are seeing up front in glorious technicolour Queenslanders have seen before with more subtle lighting and lots of shadows.  

Prior to the 2007 Federal election, I can recall many non-Queenslanders saying about Rudd that he was inexperienced; that he had no experience relevant to the role of Prime Minister.  South-of-the-border ignorance!  Or as Queenslanders would say in an an expletive tone, Mexicans!  Rudd was probably more qualified than most who had preceded him in the position of PM.  He had run a state!  

I was always nervous of Rudd's leadership and political skills because of the reasons I have mentioned above.  I hoped that Rudd had broadened his perspective.  I hoped that being elected to Parliament, albeit from a safe Labor seat, he would have learned more about politics since leaving the Queensland government.  I also have a lot of personal trust and respect for Wayne Swan.  He is savvy.  He has significant runs on the board in difficult political situations.  His political nous can be put up there with the best of them.  He could never make the Keith De Lacy comment because, in my view, Wayne would always know what the message was. 

So Kevin - I do have to say that a case could be made that the shortcomings of the Queensland experience have been transferrable to the Federal sphere.  But to be told by the likes of De Lacy that you must be replaced!  

My message to one and all is: 
IGNORE DE LACY.  
He speaks from venal, vested interest.

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