As widely speculated last week by the NSW ALP spin machine, NSW state secretary Karl Bitar will be confirmed as the next ALP national secretary following the consent of the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Sources say Rudd made it known over the weekend that he was perfectly happy with Bitar’s appointment after privately talking with both Bitar and Queenslander Jim Chalmers late last week in what amounted to job interviews. Chalmers was apparently interviewed on Thursday on the Prime Ministerial plane.
The PM’s acquiescence confirmed the wisdom of Arbib’s Rumsfeld-like “shock and awe” rapid invasion strategy with on and off the record commentary to the press including even canvassing who Bitar’s replacement would be at Sussex Street.
Bitar will be formally confirmed in the position at the next meeting of the National Executive of the ALP.
The NSW Right strategist enjoyed the strong support of his friend and mentor Senator Mark Arbib – easily the most powerful person in Canberra outside the Cabinet – whose hobbies include dividing, conquering and cultivating young PMO whiz-kid Alistair Jordan.
Arbib has now emerged as the pre-eminent powerbroker in all of Canberra, with the Victorian Labor Right continuing in its temporary division.
The newbie Senator is expected to succeed in his push to be included in the Ministry in a reshuffle he has advocated occur no later than January next year ahead of a possible early election which he and Bitar are known to favour as a way of “getting ahead” of the looming storm that has unsettled financial institutions from Wall Street to Reykjavik and will inevitably slow economic growth.
And in further news from the north, a source writes in:
His (Bitar’s) shoes may be filled in NSW by Matt Thistlewaite, current deputy secretary of UnionsNSW. This shift indicates that the unions are taking control of the ALP again in NSW. Thistlewaite is not your usual ex-Young Labor hack. He is respected among the unions and the ALP and has a take-no-shit attitude. It will be a breath of fresh air if he gets the job and just what we need up here to shake the Mark Arbib influence which many see as the reason Labor is in the mess it’s in in NSW.