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Max Walsh left out an important sporting analogy



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

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WI LS ON TUCKEY, M.P. MEMBER FOR O'CONNOR OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN FOR SMALL BUSINESS AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES

PRESS RELEASE

"MAX WALSH LEFT OUT AN IMPORTANT SPORTING ANALOGY" - TUCKEY

In making a series of sporting comparisons of various Parliamentary figures, Max Walsh failed to mention the front-runner commonly known in racing parlance as "the speedy squibb", Wilson Tuckey said today. (Sydney Morning Herald, 18/4/85, page 11.)

This animal shows great ability and heart while left alone and unchallenged at the head of the field b u t , when challenged seldom fights out the finish.

The recent backdowns, turnarounds and Parliamentary performance of the Prime Minister points my mind to making this comparison, Wilson Tuckey concluded.

Canberra 18/4/85.

THE ELECTORATE OF O'CONNOR covers the following local government areas: 1 Beverley, 2 Boddington, 3 Brookton, 4 Broomehill, 5 Bruce Rock, 6 Carnamah, 7 Coorow, 8 Corrigin, . 9 Cranbrook, 10 Cuballing, 11 Cunderdin, 12 Dalwallinu, 13 Dowerin, 14 Dumbleyung, 15 Geraldton, 16 Gnowangerup, 17 Goomalling. 18 Gteenough, 19 Irwin, 20 Jerramungup, 21 Katanning,

22 Kellerberrin, 23 Kent, 24 Kojonup, 25 Kondinin, 26 Koorda, 27 Kulin, 28 Lake Grace, 29 Merredin, 30 Mingenew, 31 Moora, 32 Mt. Marshall, 33 Mukinbudin, 34 Narembeen. 35 Narrogin (Town and Shire}, 36 Northam (Town and Shire), 37 Nungarin, 38 Perenjori, 39 Pingelly, 40 Plantagenet, 41 Ouairading. 42 Tambellup, 43 Tammin, 44 Three Springs, 45 Toodyay, 46 Trayning, 47 Victoria Plains, 48 Wagin, 49 Wandering, 50 West Arthur, 51 Wickepin, 52 Williams, 53 Wongan-Ballidu, 54 Woodanilling, 55 Wyalkatchem, 56 York.

T h e S y d n ey I\

Dry track to suit the Libs’

iw w i • & IDEASA S JOHNNY TAPP mlchl say: /Ιο, “ if you waoi to back a long shot /""■m for a saver in the political Z JL. sweepstakes you could do a lot worse than put a few dollars on Peter Shack.“ He’s a well-bred performer from the West who has shown flashes of brilliance in track work and has been given a dream barrier position.“The top weight, Andrew Peacock, the coil from Kooyong, is quite a looker aod had his impressive moments when run­ning in the welter class. So far he has failed to shine in open company.“The other fancied runner, John Howard, will try all day but he has been given a horror barrier position and will be hard-pressed to get a rails run from pocket he will be caught in behind cock.” It you think the racing metaphor a touch irreverent for such a serious topic as Liberal leadership I could have drawn another analogy, with Andrew Peacock os an antipodean Ted Heath. Peter Shack would have been your Maggie Thatcher and Jim Carlton could have filled in for Sir Keith Joseph.The only trouble with that particular device is that it would have overstated the situation and promoted Mr Shack to a position in the political arena he does not yet warrant.But the Thatcher analogy does have the advantage of illustrating the very sort of political forces currently running through the Australian political scene, especially within the ranks of the Coalition.On the one had you have a government led by a popular figure who is seeking to marry a conservative economic policy stance to the special demands of a trade union movement that does not compre­ hend the changed circumstances in which it operates. This process oi serving two masters — the electorate and the ACTU — carries the seeds o f its own destruction. True Mr Hawke may live up to his old nickname of Houdioi and escape the contradiction which now has him in its thrall. But the odds are that the exercise of satisfying contrary demands will dch.litate his public image and that of the Government.Λ Heath-liLe Peacock could sit there, watch the pioccss of crumbling and slip comfortably back onto the Treasury benches.Such a tactical approach is very much in Mir Peacock’s style. He is, to employ two other sporting metaphors, a spoiler aod a grafter.A spoiier is one who knows he is inferior to his opponent but one who knows how to take the edge off that natural brilliance and win with psychol­ ogy rather than natural attributes.A grafter is the batsman at (he crease who is satisfied to pick off the loose balls for the odd single, avoiding at all cost .oy flashy strokes or attempted big hits.As an approach to winning the next election the Peacock strategy is probably as good as could be framed at this time. However, this spoiling and grafting approach is one which does nothing for

the morale of the rest of the team and therefore places the bold on the leader­ ship in doubt. Instinctively everybody looks to dep­

uty John Howard as the logical replace­ ment should Mr Peacock slacken his grip on the leadership. M r Howard, who docs not tuck

ambition, is locked into the role of loyal deputy — an near impossible position from which to launch a party room coup. If a creeping disillusion infects the Liberals then Mr Howard has to perform the schizophrenic task of defending the leadership while at the same time displaying prominently his own creden­

tials for the job. The challenge to Mr Peacock, if it comes from anywhere, will probably come from a source other than the deputy and his allies. That is why Mr Shack is interesting.

6 The challenge to Mr Peacock, if it comes from anywhere, will probably come from a source other than the deputy and his allies.^

Not for a moment is it suggested that the young (32 years old) member for Tangney is contemplating a challenge to the man who up until the last election employed him as a political adviser.

But events have a way of conscripting people in politics and Mr Shack — rather like Margaret Thatcher — could find himself offered a serious shot at the dazzling prize.

To understand how (hut could happen you first have to look at the make-up of the Liberal opposition.

There are do factions as such in the party but there is one identifiable group which is imposing its intellectual stam p on the Opposition — the so-called economic Dries.

Peter Shack is a charter member of this group which really had its origins in the ranks of the West Australian Liberals. This identification of a strong

bias towards economic rationalism with the West (Senator Peter Walsh, John Dawkins and Kim Beasley are members of the same persuasion in the ALP) is uot a functional result of the frontier nature of that State.

Rather It reflects the much more prosaic fact that the lengthy travelling time these politicians have spent with each other down the years has virtually involved what must be one of tbc world’s longest-running seminars on government administration.

Tribute must be paid to the catalyst in all this — John Hyde, who lost his seat in the 1982 election. Mr Shack is very much Mr Hyde’s protegee.

The Dries are gaining the intellectual ascendancy In the Liberal Party basi­ cally because they are promoting an approach to economic policy which is in

M r S h ack . . . y outh no b arrier.

line with successful conservative govern­ ments overseas. At the same time they arc operating in something of a vacuum with no alterna­ tive policies being advanced by the non-Dries.

Andrew Peacock is obliged to employ the language of the Dries but his

commitment to their ideas is decidedly suspect. There is a second discernible class, as distinct from faction, in the Canberra

Liberals. This is the Noisy or Larrikin Right. Andrew Peacock has acknowledged their importance by putting three of their members — Michael Hodgman, Wilson Tuckcy and James Robert Porter — on his front bench.

They are of the bar-room brawling school of politics and while their style rankles it can be quite effective in the Parliament. Their aggressive ebullience gives them a disproportionate weight in

party uffairs. It is a characteristic of this style of politician that they need an heroic leader figure. M r Peacock has sought to provide that with patronage, if cot presence.

Should the Rah-Rahs ~ a sporting expression denoting a certain type of enthusiastic Rugby Unioo supporter and as such a term less emotive and

pejorative than the Larrikin Right — settle ou an alternative hero to Andrew Peacock then the present leader would find himself seriously under siege. ‘ A combination of (he Dries and the

Rah-Rahs would (especially when you add in the numbers disenchanted with Mr Peacock) represent an unstoppable force in a party where leadership is presently defended by diplomacy ruthcr than ground troops.

A candidate for such Coalition sup- pot t is Peter Shack. Iliu attraction to the Rah-Rahs is going to become more apparent in the months ahead as Mr Shack asserts himself in his rule as shadow Minister for Industrial Relations.

Mr Shack’s Dry approach dictates a much much stronger anti-union attitude to industrial relations than his predeces­ sor, lan Macphce — and Ian Macpbee’s ' predecessor, Andrew Peacock.

M r S hack’s anti-union altitude springs from a belief in greater wage flexibility. The Keh-Rahs’ anti-unionism , is visceral ruthcr than cerebral. j

The shared view of the union move- 1 men! by Mr Shack and the Rah-Rahs, ' especially as industrial relations moves as it already has back to the top of the agenda in Australian politics, creates (he ' pre-couditious for the making of a hero. I

Working against M r Shack is his j youth. He is only 32 and very much a boy in Canberra politics. But as John |

Howard and Paul Keating have demon- 1 strated, youth is no barrier to rapid | advancement. ;

Mr Shack, who first entered Parlia­ ment at the age of 24, is if anything more the Liberal mirror image of Mr Keating than Mr Howard is.

Within a few months that will become obvious to all — especially Andrew Peacock.