Why our next Prime Minister got drunk in a strip club

I was asked recently in a comment why I write about US politics and not Australian politics.  This is mainly because Australian politics is boring.  I’m not vain enough to think what happens on this remote island has much effect on the world stage.  Decisions and actions taken by the US administration, on the other hand, affect pretty much the whole world.

That said, I’ll tell you the most interesting things about Oz politics right now.  We’re having an election some time in the next six months (the Prime Minister gets to set the date within a certain range and he hasn’t set it yet.)  All the polls point to a fairly massive loss for the incumbent conservative government.  A few key points about how our political system differs from the US:

  • We have a Westminster-style parliament (like England)
  • We don’t have a president
  • If your party (or coalition) wins the most seats in the House of Representatives (analogous to the US Congress) you win the government.  The head of your party runs things and is known as the Prime Minister
  • All of the ministers in the Cabinet (analogous to US “Secretary of…” roles) are elected representative, NOT appointed as they are in the US
  • The conservatives in Australia (broadly analogous to US Republicans) are a coalition of the Liberal and National Parties.  The “Liberal” bit will be confusing to those used to US political terminology, I know
  • The other party (broadly analogous to Democrats) is known as the Labor party
  • There is actually a party called the Democrats.  They’re losers.  There’s only a few of them left and they’re facing extinction

The current government (Liberal/National coalition) have been in power with the same Prime Minister since 1996.  I am not a supporter of this regime.  I’m sure they’ll learn to live with that.  I’ll give PM John Howard credit for two things: first, he’s a survivor.  Members of his own party tried to screw him over for years.  Ultimately he won and they lost.  Second, for ten years he completely neutered pretty much all opposition.  The Labor party were his bitch for years.

That all changed when Labor got a new leader in the form of Kevin Rudd.  The guy is teflon.  No attack on him sticks.  And now the Liberals are staring down the barrel of a really humiliating defeat at the next election.  The title of this post refers to my favourite failed attempt to smear Rudd. 

The story broke recently that Rudd visited Scores “gentlemen’s club” in Manhattan in 2003 with fellow Labor MP Warren Snowdon and New York Post editor Col Allan during a taxpayer-funded trip when he was opposition foreign affairs spokesman.  Because Rudd is a Christian with a fairly clean image some may have thought this would hurt his reputation and his lead in the polls.  Not so.

I’ll be honest, it was Rudd’s goody-two-shoes Christianity that gave me doubts about him.  I’m uncomfortable with governments anywhere being run according to theology (any theology).  So I felt this actually humanised him a little.  Public reaction shows I’m not alone in thinking that.  He even has the greatest defence if someone tries to embarrass him with specifics (“Did you get a lapdance?” “Were the strippers hot?”  “Who was your favourite?”)

He was too drunk to remember anything!  Legend!  I actually suspect this story was leaked by his own side.  Obviously, it’s been known about for ages in political circles but it wasn’t given to the media or at least no media ran with it.  If you knew Australians you’d realise that thinking this would hurt his image is a stupid idea.  He’s much more of a bloke now.  And he’ll probably be Prime Minister soon.

So I mentioned the things I give current PM John Howard credit for, what don’t I like about him?  Simple – his politics.  He’s a very dry conservative economically and extremely conservative socially.  He’s overwhelmingly committed to ideology over pragmatism.  Most of the time this has served him well but it’s led to some spectacular blunders.

He’s staunchly anti-union and introduced laws that tilted workplace relations heavily in favour of employers over employees.  Unions had been dying a natural death – membership was steadily dwindling because people didn’t think they needed them.  Then Howard introduces a raft of draconian industrial laws that scare the crap out of people, making them run to unions.  The man who hates unions gave them their biggest membership boost in 20 years.

His other blunder (in my opinion) has been how he’s handled the Australian/US alliance.  This alliance is incredibly important to Australia but the alliance is about countries, not political parties.  Howard has tied himself intimately to President Bush and is without doubt Bush’s most loyal supporter in the world.  Seriously.  Bush treats Howard better than any other world leader when he visits because no other world leader supports Bush so strongly.

Howard has criticised opposition politicians who have criticised Bush’s policies saying they are hurting the alliance.  Yet Howard has had no hesitation in attacking Democrats who may well form the next US administration.  This sort of hypocrisy and political game playing really pisses me off.  In fact, I lost all respect for Howard when he repeated the appalling Republican talking points about a vote for the Democrats being a vote for terrorists, a subject I tackled in the following video for The Fizz Newzz:

10 Comments

Filed under Politics, Video Blogging

10 responses to “Why our next Prime Minister got drunk in a strip club

  1. Hi…

    I would like to inform you that you’ve got a nice blog and I was wondering if you will be interested in joining adultforum.com.au. It’s a free Adult forum that is totally free of pop-up, spam and etc.

    The forum is an active forum and we’re lack of administrator therefore active users are usually promoted.

    Regards,
    Admin
    http://adultforum.com.au

  2. Best. Comment Spam. Ever.

    Seriously though… If only British politics was that interesting. We just get endless arguing about “policies” and “initiatives”.

    Curiously, as my wife works for the civil service, I know how these “initiatives” work. A half-thought out idea is bounced around at the pub, (I’m guessing about the pub) enough people say “that sounds like a good idea”. Then a letter is written to some department saying “do this shit.” (or even better they appear on the radio saying “we’re going to do this shit”)

    Some civil servant gets the letter (or listens to the radio) and says “how the fuck is that going to work?”

    And that’s how government operates…

    Scarily, that’s how private enterprise operates too. (minus the radio part generally)

  3. You’ve got a nice blog (it says so up there ^^^).

    Well done, Mr A. I always like looking at nice blogs.

    And Massif, Ze Frank is gone. The “worst bow-tie ever” thing is no longer.

    (Only those who watched Ze Frank would understand that comment. Every one else missed out…)

  4. Massif: I thought it was funny too, which is why I left it. Plus you’ve given me an ide for another comic strip.

    gruntski: ZeFrank lives on in my Angry Frog videos😉

  5. Vladimir

    I am honored to influence a big thinker of today’s Internet🙂

    The question was somewhat different, though. Of course, since USA rules the World, pretty much everybody know and admire George Bush and, probably, some of his immediate henchmen. And Schwartzenegger, of course. But Bob Allen, Glen Murphy Jnr and senator Larry Craig, along with their escapades, seem way too local to be of high renown worldwide. Is that not true? Is it typical for an australian to know about them, or does it requires a special dedication to the subject? If you want to make a chit-chat with one of your cow-orkers (picked at random) about, say, Ted Haggard involved in gay sex – would you have to explain to the cow-orker first, wtf is Ted Haggard, or he would most probably already know that?

  6. Vlad: Good point, you have to be a bit of a news/politics junkie to know the more obscure stories like Craig and Hagagrd. I know them because I watch the Daily Show and spend a lot of time online, but that makes me a minority in Australia.

  7. Gosh Mr. Angry…. if you have this much fun with US politicians all the way over in Australia — you should try LIVING here where you can witness the bathroom stall hijinks in PERSON! You too could get propositioned while trying to “drop the kids off at the pool”. bwa….ha..ha…! 😉

  8. That sort of thing happens in public toilets here but I don’t remember any celebrities getting caught. The closest I can think of is when conservative radio host Alan Jones got caught doing it in London about 20 years ago.

  9. I love a point of view from outside of this place. Helps me keep the insanity in the proper perspective.

  10. It’s always interesting to see how others perceive you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s