2 Sep 2007, Comments Off on Hey, it’s Maribyrnong, let’s send a nong there

Hey, it’s Maribyrnong, let’s send a nong there

Author: Helen

This is the boy man the Liberals considered good enough for the likes of us, the inhabitants of the inner Western suburbs of Melbourne.

You know you haven’t got a hope in hell of winning a seat in an electorate full of inner-city Green voting types and working people who are still union members and who are quite incensed about such things as Workchoices and public transport; so, what do you do? I’ll tell you; you use… well, whoever you’ve got. It doesn’t speak volumes for the talent pool in the Liberals, young or otherwise.

Hamish Jones has, as you probably know, been in the news because he was dooced (sacked) when he referred to a State government MP as a “bitch” on his personal blog.

The story of his doocing has been more than adequately covered by LP and Defamer (who includes a link to the cached, but now abandoned, blog.) At the beginning of the discussion, it was about the unfairness of being sacked for swearing. As the comments moved on, it was apparent that most people. like me, don’t think that was the case. Politicians are some of the swear-iest people on the planet. Think of Jeff foot-in-mouth Kennett and the and the famous car phone conversation, twenty years ago. Swearing is practically a job requirement for both Labor and Liberal politicians.

An online reputation isn’t made or broken by a sentence, however unpleasant. It’s built up as accretions of information over weeks, months and years. You might think the picture above was unfair: an unrepresentative out-take from a moment of silliness. If you look at Jones’ online presence, though, the silliness is a feature, not a bug. After his doocing, he was quoted as saying “women shouldn’t be politicians” (as one LP commenter said, the shortest ever political suicide note). Then there’s his presence on various websites where we get to assess his level of maturity and ability to communicate. I was planning to go into more detail on these, but since this post got delayed and my annoyance with him has leveled off, I won’t do it, because he’s really too small a target. I’ll just point out, though, that if you want to go into public life you need to have a realistic knowledge of your own strengths, weaknesses and abilities. Maintaining a website offering paid advice on writing PR releases will just result in mockery if it’s badly spelled with bad grammar, and you are, yourself, a PR trainwreck.

Hamish Jones’ writings all added up to the fact that he was immature, undercooked, none too bright, and a complete non-starter to participate in any meaningful political career. And the reason I’m writing about it is because I’m pissed off: I’m pissed off because I’m a constituent of Maribyrnong, the division for which young Hamish was standing.

You have to show the voters some shred of respect before you can get anywhere, so don’t send a boy to do a man’s job. Or a woman’s.

Comments (0)

  • shula says:

    I am too.

    A constituent, that is.

    I feel vaguely insulted, somehow.

  • Meself says:

    Luckily we are in the adjoining electorate – specifically Kelvin’s “You need a reference – no trubs” Wills, but we’d reckon (without prejudice) it’s a bit line ballish when the sitting (very apposite – in the lying back ‘Life be in it’ Norm like sense) but soon departing (not before time) Maribrynong (bugger of a word to spell!) member has been Sir Bobcombe.

    How sad to think that a previous Member for Maribyrnong was the wonderful and genuinely committed Moss Cass.

    Are we sounding all a bit “back in our days? (OK, very probably – but expect no apology.)

  • kate says:

    I’m quite happy to live in a spot where I’m not the only person who got jack of the ALP and started voting for Greens (and previously Dems and independents) and made the seats marginal. It’s made a remarkable difference.

    Hamish Jones is a berk, as far as I can tell, but the Libs are far from the first party to stick a youthful nobody on a ticket. Incidentally, a friend of my little sister stood for the Greens in Broady in the last state election. She’s certainly not a berk, but she is 21, and the chances of her bumping the then Treasurer and now Premier were not even slim. The problem is that the parties don’t actually have enough members to stand someone decent and sensible in every seat. Unfortunately, the decent and sensible people of this world often have more interesting and rewarding things to do than run fruitless election campaigns. Sucks for democracy though.

  • Helen says:

    The problem is that the parties don’t actually have enough members to stand someone decent and sensible in every seat. Unfortunately, the decent and sensible people of this world often have more interesting and rewarding things to do than run fruitless election campaigns. Sucks for democracy though.

    That’s exactly it.
    Point being, though, that the Libs are a much larger and more powerful organisation than the Greens and have been around a long time… so you’d think they could come up with someone who could run a chook raffle.
    Actually, young Hamish probably could do that.
    I read John Hyde Page’s Education of a Young Liberal recently and recommend it highly. Perhaps I’m party-political naive – no scrub that, I know I am – but I was quite blown away by how weird and freakish they (Liberal machine people) actually are. I’m told the Labor counterparts are no different and I could well believe it.

  • TimT says:

    I had a bit of a stoush with Sam over whether Hamish actually did say that ‘women should not be politicians’. I was skeptical, partly because it seemed like such a blindingly stupid thing to say. I still am, since – even though they had themselves quite a headline there, the Herald Sun chose not to run the story in the paper the day afterwards.

    But as soon as I’d heard Hamish’s name on the radio in relation to his being stood down, I think I guessed that his blog had got him into trouble. Stupid of him to have even thought he could run, really.

    That John Hyde Page book is hilarious and horrifying in equal measures. The chapter to the end where one enranged hack tears apart a copy of the Liberal Party constitution still sticks in my mind.

  • Wasn’t Bob Sercombe your previous member?

    By starting a blog Hamish Jones has already done more work than Sercombe ever had.

  • Meself says:

    Seconded and carried on the voices, FXH.

    Bob the Sercombe size me epiphyte.

  • Helen says:

    Your epiphyte talks??

  • Helen says:

    Tim, I was going to blog the John Hyde Page book, it’s one of those things that just stays kicking around in your mind. So much fascinating and horrifying stuff in the world, so little time…

  • TimT says:

    I did a review of it that got published in Quadrant about a year ago. The title, ‘Prats in the Ranks’, gives a good indication as to what follows.

  • Helen says:

    Do you have a link to the article, Tim?

    Here’s one I prepared earlier – Young Libs conference, 2005. Shudder.

  • TimT says:

    It’s not online, but here are details for the issue in which it appeared. Most libraries have a copy of the magazine. The first paragraph is here.

  • Ann O'Dyne says:

    GG – don’t fling ‘Epiphyte’ at FXH – he thinks that’s a make of guitar.

  • Bernice says:

    Does any one else think he looks suspiciously like Lord Downer?

  • Helen says:

    Kind of a template, perhaps Bernice?

  • Ariel says:

    Bernice – YES.

    Helen, as a fellow Maribyrnong constituent I, too, am insulted. But also quite pleased that we still obviously have so few Liberals in our midst, despite rampant gentrification and overpriced cafes. (Though I guess the local latte sippers tend to be ALP/Greens, don’t they?)

  • Russ says:

    Helen, this statement is truer than you think, and is part of the problem:

    “Point being, though, that the Libs are a much larger and more powerful organisation than the Greens and have been around a long time”

    They have been around a long time, and so has the membership. The average age of a Liberal party member is closer to 70 than 60. Labor and the Democrats – who to some extent have died a demographic death – are the same. So, sure, they have 40,000 odd members in Australia, but only a quarter of them are active enough to man a polling booth, and most are only there because it’s a nice social club for their retirement years. In terms of personnel, the Greens are no worse placed than the other parties.

    Once you take out the people not remotely interested in running, I’d say there would be barely 800 potential [1] Victorian Liberal candidates for a seat in parliament – trying to fill 200 odd potential seats – with most of those in the electorates that they have a vague chance of winning. As much as the party was criticised for not running someone in the Williamstown by-election, they probably had enough trouble finding the troubled candidate above to run in the Federal slot.

    Be insulted if you want, but this problem will get worse before it gets better. There just plain aren’t enough sensible, interested people actively involved in party politics. And far too many of the ones who are interested in sensible get run off by the rest.

    [1] And I mean bodies here. This figure includes all the nutcases, loners and unelectables that invariable get attracted to politics.

  • Helen says:

    The average age of a Liberal party member is closer to 70 than 60.The average age of a Liberal party member is closer to 70 than 60.

    The average age? Dear god, how old are the oldest ones?

    Colleen Hartland, a Green who’s visible in my area, is pretty sensible and very passionate about fixing public transport as her no. 1 issue. She told me she used to be a waitperson in the Parliament House dining room and it was quite a surreal experience getting to experience the other side.

  • Russ says:

    Parties, generally, recruit in waves. In the Liberals’ case most joined up at the start, as young political aware 20 and 30 year olds – especially the women – in the late 1940s and early 1950s (now in their 70s and 80s and the dominant membership group). Subsequently, there have been jumps in the mid 1970s (now in their 50s and 60s but the bulk of the parliamentary membership), and a smaller wave in the early 1990s who are slowly filtering into parliament – but might well never get there.

    Given Colleen is now a member of parliament I am glad she is visible and sensible. If only all parliamentarians were.

  • Dave says:

    The Libs put forth a bare faced nong… Labor is just as cynical…Wade Noonan, our replacement for Bracksy in the Willy by-election. Just happens to be secretary of the TWU, nothing against unions – just a bit of an issue with the thousands of trucks that use Yarraville as a shortcut to the docks and a way to avoid the tolls. According to the public lobby group, MTAG – the TWU has countered every move for change and Labor has fudged this issue for years. So now he is going to be running the show, we will be truly #$%&%$! in terms of genuine debate.
    Good one Labor…Answer… Vote Green, I love you Janet Rice.

  • […] Williamstown is a safe Labor seat, a very safe seat, and there’s no Liberal candidate standing. (This isn’t the seat young Hamish got the boot from – this is State, he was feral. Sorry, Federal.) The Labor candidate is Wade Noonan of the Transport Workers Union, who has been parachuted in by Labor. This is a slap in the face to the people who live in the electorate – they have been trying to get trucks (monster B-doubles, container trucks and tankers) to keep out of the residential areas for years now. […]

  • […] I know I sound ageist; I don’t want to be, honest. They just keep sending us the wrong 24-year-olds. If one of my under-30 bloggy must-reads decided to run for office, I’d vote for them in a flash. Unless they lived in Camberwell. […]

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