Thursday, May 04, 2006

Robert Doyle resigns

No surprises there, but kudos to Doyle for his timing, viz allowing his replacement a decent six months to settle in before the next Victorian election. (This from a voter wa-a-ay to the Left, who’d love to see Premier Bracks get shafted, any which way.)

The real interest lies in who will be Doyle’s replacement, and boy, do I have a good suggestion. No not Andrew Olexander, the Lib’s token (i) gay (ii) fallen (= was a high-achiever) (iii) Xer. Rather, I suggest following the Ryan Heath template, viz a “generational renewal” that skips over GenX totally. Here the 23 y.o. Julian Barendse, a prominent Liberal student politician (who must surely be due to graduate sometime soon?), seems to have all the makings.

You want media savvy? Tick:

The main amusement of the [April 2004 student protest] was provided by the Melbourne University Liberal Club, and their rather good concept of the ‘anti-protest protest’. They’ve learnt that it only takes a handful of people to steal a good percentage of the left’s TV time . . . I watched the start of three TV news services, and Liberal Club President Julian Barendse appeared on all three . . .

You want a control-freak (not *too* freaky, mind, but just someone who can keep a tight grip on media coverage of his crew's ‘anti-protest protests’? Tick:

"Liberal students held rallies supporting laws banning compulsory student unionism.

They were happy to speak with the media, despite having been gagged and threatened with expulsion from campus Liberal clubs and the party if they dealt with reporters. In an email to Liberal students, the Australian Liberal Students Federation directed that "no one is to speak to any member of the media whatsoever".

Federation president Julian Barendse said Liberal students could speak to the media if they did not speak on behalf of the federation."

And finally, with the Lib’s generally having to drastically “de-toff” themselves, if they are going to have any chance of picking up the dozens of seats they will need to take from Labor to win government, Julian Barendse has just the other night brought back the verb “chunder” (first popularized, of course, by Barry Humphries’ Bazza McKenzie) into the, ahem, spotlight:

A Liberal chunder blunder

The future of our nation is in safe hands if the next generation of student politicians is any guide. A Tuesday night function in the city turned into a vomit-soaked event that required the attendance of police . . .

A private event run by an accounting students' society for about 50 people was disrupted by a small group of gatecrashers [which included president of the Australian Liberal Students Federation, Julian Barendse] . . .

Bond Lounge Bar [a swanky venue] owner Phil Anderson confirmed the disturbance, which began just after 7pm and dragged on for more than an hour . . . Mr Barendse was allegedly ejected, but about 7.30pm he ventured back in and nabbed some of the banners belonging to the sponsors. "The guy who we'd ejected was still out the front … (and) was getting beers from inside from his mates," Anderson said.

When told to dump the drinks and move on, he said, Mr Barendse ran back into the club and threw up several times . . . The police arrived and asked Mr Barendse, an ex-president of the Melbourne University Liberal Club, to leave. He didn't, so they took him outside. "He was saying, 'I'm being assaulted, I'm being assaulted,' " Mr Anderson said, as another member of the errant group videotaped the fracas.

Ah, chunder, theft, and videotape – disgraced Xer Andrew Olexander should hang his head in shame, for not being anything like as media-savvy, nor as palpably vile, as Julian Barendse. How typically Xer of Olexander, in fact, to burn-out in his late-30s prime, without so much as a demonstrative public chunder with a camera crew in tow.

Yep, Julian Barendse for the Lib’s new leader – what a GenYer (“team player”, and all that) par excellence!

Update 6 May 2006

More “no surprises” – the Vic Libs didn’t make even a token effort at generational renewal with their new-leader choice. This is despite in the UK, an Xer (David Cameron, 39) having now successfully turned-around a once-moribund party of the Right, and in a very short time.

(Re David Cameron: It’s going to be interesting to see whether “suicide bomber”-type party insiders (who, unlike their Islamist inspirations, are invariably baby boomers) soon act to destroy his career (and to a lesser extent, their own party). I say this because such Iago-esque destruction seems to be the rule for boomers, and so the inevitable fate of any Xer-politician in the West who has ever got within a whiff of making a real difference: e.g. the grotesque sabotage of one-time Democrats leader Natasha Stott-Despoja, and the collateral-purpose framing of one-time NSW Libs leader John Brogden).

Causing me to chuckle about Ted Baillieu’s installation as new leader, though, are these digs, coming from Labor, about his being a “toff”. The guy presumably is indeed currently “the richest member of [Vic’s] state parliament”, but he’s only a few months away from losing this mantle, to Labor’s Evan Thornley, who “will become Victoria's richest politician after being assured of a safe seat in Parliament's upper house”.

More poignantly still, Attorney-General Rob Hulls said:

"[Baillieu’s] inherited everything he's got, and that includes his seat in Parliament, and now obviously the leadership of the Liberal Party."

I accept that Baillieu has inherited, rather than “made” most of his money, and that some of the said pile would have been useful, in the form of donations or somesuch, in advancing his political career. But I don’t believe that it can be fairly said that Ted Baillieu has bought his way into parliament or the Lib leadership; an accusation that will however, come November, be able to be reasonably sustained against Labor’s Evan Thornley.

So what Rob Hulls really seems to be saying is that, as long as money is self-made, anything goes. Nice.

I’ll be following Evan Thornley’s future public (he is at the moment exceptionally low-profile) career with relish. By date of birth, he is, of all things, an Xer. By his Scotch College education, he is a co-toff with Ted Baillieu (and Rob Hulls also, I shouldn’t be surprised).

But by his wealth and temperament, he is neither much of the previous two – rather, he is a useful tool/fool. That is, an Xer who is extraordinarily submissive to the ruling boom-archy – I doubt that the guy has a single Xer friend in the world, nor a single boomer enemy, at least on the Labor and business-elite side/s. Whatever else may happen, Evan Thornley can regard himself as safely insured against his boomer political colleagues pulling out a Brogden-style hatchet on him.

What Xers might do to him – should we ever get our hands on the metaphorical hatchet – is quite another matter.

I posted my own version of a rebuttal of the Toorak Toff tag ...
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