NEW SOUTH AILS: Cactus government pricking itself to death has lessons for all

morrisiemma Despite being ably led by a nice lady Kristina Keneally, the NSW Labor government is a cautionary tale not just for Labor but for all governments.

And the message is clear enough: never squib reform because you’re being bullied by vested interests, no matter who they are.

If you make the tough calls, the voters might not like it but at least you’ll have achieved something for posterity and more often than not you’ll build enough respect to help you trade through the tough times.

If you squib the tough calls, you’ll generate so much contempt over time that you’ll be given absolutely no benefit of the doubt when things go wrong.

Government is precious and for those in politics it should be always treated that way. Never be frittered away on petty matters but used in the big causes that can shape and improve the nation.

And by the way, we wouldn’t put Workchoices in that category of reform. Far from a labour market deregulation – which is not exactly in great political demand – it was a massive 1500 pages of re-regulation that gave a Federal Minister incredible powers to interfere with workplace bargaining. It was probably Keating at his most manically optimistic when he said that “Good policy is good politics” but we tend to think it’s true too.

GIVE ME MEN TO MATCH MY MOUNTAINS
Big reform.

Like Keating. Like Kennett. Big men who did big things and didn’t much care what the know-it-alls on Radio National thought about it.

Whether you loved or hated those two, they took on the big challenges and proved our theory that it often takes an unreasonable person to get things done. And while their eventual defeats were bloody and dramatic, they could both look back on their own careers with a real sense of accomplishment.

That’s the message that comes loud and clear from the best book insiders’ account we’ve read about Australian politics since the disturbing yet well-informed Latham Diaries, Betrayal – the Underbelly of Australian Labor by the Daily Telegraph’s Simon Benson.

Benson is best of breed in political reporting (having recently moved from NSW state rounds to Club Fed for the Daily Telegraph) and his skill and access shines through his book, which reads like a political spy-thriller where you’re compelled to turn the next page to read the next act of intrigue, skullduggery or bloody-mindedness. We, of course, know how it ends but it’s no less compelling for it.

THE TWENTY FOUR BILLION DOLLAR BERNIE RIORDAN HISSY FIT
To quantify the importance of not squibbing reform – in terms of the public purse – consider this chain of events examined in Benson’s book.

In 1997, when then Premier Bob Carr and his very able Treasurer Michael Egan wanted to privatise NSW electricity, they were hoping to raise $30 billion from the sale. All of which could have been used to retire debt and engage in a once-in-a-generation frenzy of infrastructure improvements. They were told no by the party apparatus – led by the electricity trades union – and backed off.

In 2007, when Premier Iemma and his brilliant Treasurer Michael Costa wanted to privatise it the number had got down to $15 billion. The thing dragged on and on as dinosaur union official refused to cut a deal – and even refused eventually to accept a deal they’d initially proposed themselves (!) – and by then the possible sale price was $10 billion.

We notice today these assets are currently being considered for sale at $6 billion.

Some would dispute whether I’m comparing apples with apples but it’s not far off the mark to contend that the bloody-mindedness of the current ALP President and Electrical Trades Union boss Bernie Riordan cost NSW taxpayers at least $24 billion. It’s quite a claim to fame.

In Victoria, electricity union militant Dean Mighell was force to resign his party membership for swearing and boasting about bargaining over wages in a way that deceived bosses. In NSW, they’ve put his equivalent in charge of the party machine and seems or seemed able to veto government decisions at will.

The $24 billion Riordan cost the government could have and would have been spent on schools, trains, hospitals and road infrastructure was retained in the name of retaining state ownership of the state’s electricity assets.

Benson’s brilliant book sets out the Kafkaesque struggle to get Riordan and his backers to agree. $40,000 a head for each worker shifting from public sector to private for starters. And then all  manner of formulations about what would be sold, leased or whatever. But the key point is that negotiations had become so strained that the union leaders ultimately rejected the government’s final offer despite it representing what they would have accepted at the start.

For it is true that New South Wales has produced the best and the worst of Australian political life: paragons of modern leadership like Wran and jailed ministers, reform zeal and incredible cynicism, astute fund-raisers and sleazy crooks, highly principled patriots and venal allies of political extremism be it Julia Irwin’s Hamas or Lyenko Urbanchich’s Uglies, brilliant numbers-men who’d fight to the death for quality candidates and Troglodytes/Talibans, like Sydney itself NSW public life offers spectacular views and incredible depravity all available in a quick trip in the ministerial car.

BEST & WORST
For it is true that New South Wales has produced the best and the worst of Australian political life: paragons of modern leadership like Wran and jailed ministers, reform zeal and incredible cynicism, astute fund-raisers and sleazy crooks, highly principled patriots and venal allies of political extremism be it Julia Irwin’s Hamas or Lyenko Urbanchich’s Uglies, brilliant numbers-men who’d fight to the death for quality candidates and Troglodytes/Talibans, like Sydney itself NSW public life offers spectacular views and incredible depravity all available in a quick trip in the ministerial car.

And the farce over the sale of electricity was most certainly a particularly disgraceful episode in the disgraceful history of NSW politics.

And ultimately so futile because the dysfunction they created in the government these Labor folk presumably all voted for and fought for all but guaranteed the election of the NSW Liberals who’ll sell it all anyway.

There are many others who could be blamed for this including Mark Arbib and his dour lieutenant Karl Bitar but ultimately they were/are paid to be poll-driven chaps and the polls and focus groups were telling them that Premier Iemma was in trouble and part of the reason he was in trouble was that he’d been savagely and brutally undermined by his own Party President and other people who should have known better.

LESSONS TO LEARN EVEN FOR CHAIRMAN RUDD
Government – and the relationship with voters that sustains it – is fragile. Once broken, after a breach of trust, or a series of catastrophes, it is very difficult to rebuild it. Howard managed it after introducing the GST he’d promised “never, ever” to do. But he had an enormous buffer in terms of seats and very nearly lost. We’ll never know whether Iemma could have rebuilt after the catastrophes imposed upon him.

If Kevin Rudd can pull off a recovery from his own nadir today, he’ll be doing very well indeed. He doesn’t have much of a buffer at all. And while his decision to declare Tony Abbott the winner of the next election based on current polling was counter-intuitive it was probably right. He just needs to say it in a way that doesn’t sound complacent or cocksure. A referendum on this government’s own political performance will get them punted. A referendum on Abbott is seen as more likely to help them, by Labor hardheads, but only if the electorate doesn’t think they’re being played by Dr Evil with a Village of the Damned haircut.

Food for thought came from one very serious Liberal thinker who said to us in the wee hours of the morning as he digested Neilsen and pondered his own future:

i just feel Abbott is having a whole other conversation with the punters that Labor (and the Gallery) is missing…

IT’S HARD ENOUGH WITHOUT WHITE-ANTING
The Rudd case study shows just how fragile, precious and possibly fleeting being in government can be, even without enemies from within.

Some in Club Fed Labor circles are saying that Bob Hawke and Robert Ray indiscreetly talking up a leadership transition to Greg Combet might count as subversion but if they’re doing that they’re not doing it publicly.

He – and the very tough decisions he made to amp up spending despite genuinely economic conservative instincts – saved the economy from the global financial crisis. Now the question is can he save himself?

After being seen to have made a mess of so much else, Rudd probably can’t afford to backflip on the mining tax – and won’t – so Labor strategists think he needs to make a virtue of a vice and really give the industry the war some of them – like pro-China billionaire Clive Palmer – seem to want. It’s all very ugly and disturbing for those who believe that the primary obligation of Labor governments is to do good things for the country but to include the Big End of Town in big decisions that could hurt them or that worry them about the prospect of more pain to come. If Rudd coincided Palmer bashing with a deal with Rio Tinto and BHP (who unlike Palmer will actually be paying 78% of the new tax) that could keep those two giants happy, then they’d be in a much better place politically even if the spivvy Perth end of the mining industry would oppose any change for any reason now.

Labor has come a long way from the days when the stock market cheered the day a democratically elected but utterly incompetent government was sacked a drunk try-hard and loser. But the lesson from the Whitlam years, from the Howard Workchoices era and from the outside dismantling of the NSW Iemma government by vested interests, wreckers and ideologues is that all self-indulgence and arrogance in government will inevitably be brutally punished.

In days like this, Betrayal is an absolute must-read for any political tragic and –  let’s face it – that’s most of you except for some puzzled Islamists in Adelaide still scratching their heads wondering what happened to their boy in the Liberal preselection over there and some visitors from the Logan municipality outside of Brisbane where you are finding some unpleasant news about one of your local representatives with a blonde mane and big lips. There are lessons for everyone in politics within its pages. And certainly an excellent index for those seeking to dig up the dirt on comrades from New South Wales.

Buy a copy while you still can. We can only hope Benson could be persuaded to write a book about the next federal election. Brilliant scribes have been greatly blessed by interesting times.

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45 responses to “NEW SOUTH AILS: Cactus government pricking itself to death has lessons for all

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention VEXNEWS 2010© | NEW SOUTH AILS: Cactus government pricking itself to death has lessons for all -- Topsy.com

  2. anon

    If Michael Williamson is involved in any of this, God help the ALP and I know he is involved with national ALP, so god help them too.
    Just look what he has done to HSU, and the ALP is supposed to be for working class –

  3. I agree with anon, look what Williamson did to me

  4. Edmund Egg

    Before we all hyperventilate, Benson’s book should be seen for what it is: A beat up.

    It is hardly brilliant. It is hardly breakthrough. He’s a hack and he’s put out a hack’s book.

    Benson is no brilliant scribe. He’s a grub who has written a grubby little book.

  5. Oh I am so enjoying this!

    It’s interesting that you mention the bombastic Riordan and Mighell in the same article. Deano must be sitting back with a self satisfied smug look on his face at all of this. Lets give credit where it is due, Mighell faced head on and steered his Victorian Branch of the ETU through some very tough times. They could have been destroyed through the Kennett privatisation era but they weren’t and that is due in large part to Mighell. He also bailed out the Plumbers Union and the Tasmanian Branch of the ETU. Yes he is abrasive, he is difficult to fathom, at times he is politically all over the place. I think he dabbled in the ALP games for far too long, maybe he underestimated his own talent to still be a real political force outside the ALP. Maybe he faced internal opposition, I do not know, but his instincts now are spot on in moving to disaffiliate.

    Contrast this with Bernie Riordan, NSW Right headkicker, President of the NSW ALP and State Secretary of the ETU. Bernie runs the ALP in NSW, a number of current state and federal ministers have enjoyed employment in the ETU in NSW. Bernie knew that privatisation of the power industry in NSW meant damage to the ETU and hence his numbers (which are probably inflated). Large scale redundancies and destruction of jobs in other ways would have depleted further numbers. Bernie’s fiefdom and influence in the ALP would have been greatly diminished. Bernie along with the QLD ETU Secretary have lorded it over Dean for well over a decade. Dean, by far one the better ETU State Secretaries (along with WA) are member focused, members first ALP second, as it should be. Any initiative taken by Dean within the national ETU that may have embarassed or impacted on the ALP has been blocked by Bernie and the QLD Branch of the ETU, they have played that spoiler role on behalf of the ALP for years. The words ‘chickens’ and ‘roosts’ now spring to mind. As for your comment about Dean being expelled from the ALP for swearing, while Bernie f*cks the NSW finances-well once again look at how the numbers stack up. The NSW Right own Rudd, and Bernie controls the NSW Right although that control is slipping. Bernie is but one problem that bedevils the ALP at both state and federal level. It is not only the people of NSW that will not shed a tear when they are finally buried.

  6. insider

    Edmund egg. his book is no
    “beat up”
    I was there. and its all true.

  7. hmmm

    oh i am so enjoying this- you seem to know a bit about the etu machine- i hope you are not saying that the vic etu never employed any ALP hacks, -mike symon , gavin jennings, nat murphy all were non elected employees of the vic etu. how did mighell save the tas branch? he offered k harkins a deal to good to refuse ( harkins was next in line to the vic leadership and was a threat to mighell.)free rent good wage etc.
    WA is not member focussed they would be gone if it wasnt for funding from Vic- and in return they must vote with the vic branch.
    as for bailing out the plumbers branch ask earl setches how much thanks goes to mighell.

    so stop writing about yourself mighell and stick to pretending how good your team is

  8. Mustafa bin Pharteen

    The rise of NSW Young Labor, particularly within the executive ranks of Sussex Street is more of a concern than Bernie Riordan. Riordan is only President, not secretary, has no real say over pre-selection- and can be moved if offered an upper house or senate position.
    I do think Benson’s book simplifies a very complex situation regarding electricity privatisation. It over exaggerates Costa’s role as treasurer- many in caucus admit he was on top of his brief but a very poor communicator. Which could have also been a problem getting this privatisation across the line.
    Iemma was never cut out for the job, he wasn’t a very confident or assertive leader, and was rightly booted.
    Benson also neglects to mention the evident split in the NSW Parliamentary Right and the NSW Federal Right, due to the break up of former factional allies Arbib and Tripodi. Privatisations are not a popular thing both Rudd and Arbib realised this, which is why they didn’t pursue it. Ultimately, the consumer will pay more and have little safeguards with the perpetual motion of deregulation.
    Benson does rightly assert that NSW Right is poll driven, but I think a lot of Benson’s sources (which were always considered questionable during his time at Macquarie St on both sides of politics) come from the Left, who have issues with Riordan, Arbib and Bitar. The Left is still frustrated by Gillard’s lack of ascendancy, Rees’ downfall and the fact that they are playing second fiddle at Sussex St. It also rings true of the new general secretary and state organiser: dastyari and cavanagh. Both were catapulted into the job by Arbib and Bitar, ahead of the more qualified Luke Foley from the Left. Only now, is all of this stuff about NSW Labor finances, and Union corruption is rearing its head. The issue re: the downfall of NSW politics has never been electricity privatisation but what Bob Carr managed to prevent for so many years, the splitting of the Right. With the Right split, they are on the same page as the Left who went through a similar factional breakdown in the 80s, that saw the spoils divided between the Soft (Fergusons) and the Hard (Albanese, Faulkner).
    My pick for the new leadership will be Shorten-Combet or the reverse. Tanner to take Treasury (if he can hold is seat), and if not Bowen takes the reigns. Burke and Clare to take more senior roles, as they are both Arbib boys-and Gillard to possibly be the biggest loser if Rudd falls. The rumour is Federal Labor want a female leader but are not sold on Gillard (more specifically the NSW Right). If and when the NSW State Government loses the election, Federal MP for Reid, John Murphy will be forced out of his seat for current Premier Kristina Keneally. That way Arbib and Bitar get their way: A female PM and one who is from NSW.

  9. Rock Lifter

    The “Creche” in Sussex St is on it’s last legs.

    When Luke Foley moves into the NSW Upper House in a few weeks there will be NO ONE under 30 working for NSW Labor.

    No life experience – no skills outside of politics. Just a bunch of hack YLA operatives in cheap suits and on too high a salary f*cking it all up.

    Those who demonise Bernie Riordan know nothing. He is now powerless (pardon the pun). The kids are in control and these dolts follow the lead of Arbib & Bitar, two spivs whose most recent brilliant strategic move was to convince KRudd to ditch the ETS. Nice one fellas.

    The sooner those tow are hosed out of public life the better the ALP AND the country will be.

  10. Rock Lifter

    The “Creche” in Sussex St is on it’s last legs.

    When Luke Foley moves into the NSW Upper House in a few weeks there will be NO ONE under 30 working for NSW Labor.

    No life experience – no skills outside of politics. Just a bunch of hack YLA operatives in cheap suits and on too high a salary f*cking it all up.

    By the way, I’m no Leftie. There are sections of the Right that have looking at the power-players in a new light.
    Those who demonise Bernie Riordan know nothing. He is now powerless (pardon the pun). The kids are in control and these dolts follow the lead of Arbib & Bitar, two spivs whose most recent brilliant strategic move was to convince KRudd to ditch the ETS. Nice one fellas.

    The sooner those two are hosed out of public life the better the ALP AND the country will be.

  11. Mustafa bin Pharteen

    I agree with your comments Rock Lifter. However, I do feel Foley’s talents are wasted in the Upper House, he certainly has the charisma and talent to hold a lower house seat. I directly compare him to his left counterparts the boring Verity Firth and robotic Carmel Tebbutt.

  12. Dean Mighell

    Hows the she=mighell getting on this site and writing about himself like he some hero. How has he bailed out the plumbers union. whata joke, Setches bailed out the she=mighell big time when he told the herald sun there really was a fruity porno party in mighells hotel room when there was only Mighell and Suzanna in London after the she=mighell pleaded with him to lie to them.
    this line is the best she=mighell
    “Yes he is abrasive, he is difficult to fathom, at times he is politically all over the place. I think he dabbled in the ALP games for far too long, maybe he underestimated his own talent to still be a real political force outside the ALP”
    You forgot to add there he is a freindless wanker that concerntrates on his own personnal ends much more before the people he represents.
    What is this grubb going to say about his role in promoting Crissy Pyne and the liberal party to his best buddy Mitchell when Abbot wins the election this year and reintroduces AWA’s.

  13. Rock Lifter

    You’re right, Mustafa. Foley is talented but what Luke also suffers from is emotional instability, which is something an Upper House MP can get away with as they do not have to deal with the day-to-day slog of constituents’ issues.

  14. hughie

    The sooner this state has a Coalition government again and hoses out this lot, the better.

    Sir William McKell must be turning in his grave. Still, his machine lasted a long time. But all things ultimately come to an end.

  15. Oh I am so enjoying this!

    Yes, I did make that point that the Vic ETU played in the ALP far too long, like most unions they have had their share of ALP whores, the people who could not get a job outside the party. As for Harkins why didn’t he stay and take Mighell on? I think you are wrong about the ETU WA Branch, they do not need propping up, plenty of members in mining. My main point is that Bernie could not do what Dean has done, he does not have the ability to survive privatisation of the NSW power industry. It may not be a quick death but it would be a slow and painful demise. All that machiavellian destructive behaviour within the ALP and the CEPU for nothin’ in the end it all comes to nought. Bernie’s own faction is now anxious to move him on. Who pays in then end eh?

  16. Oh I am so enjoying this!

    “Foley is talented but what Luke also suffers from is emotional instability”

    Just about describes most of the modern ALP doesn’t it. One gigantic personality disorder!

  17. Phil Cleary

    “Oh I am enjoying this” why dont you put your real name She=Mighell. Everyone know what a corrupt gruubb you are. sending complimentry comments about yourself under another name wont change that. Its almost as beleavable that mystery UK unionists had a fruity porno party in your hotel room and rang Suzzana as a prank.
    Sure

  18. Edmund Egg

    That’s what happens when people with no real idealogy seek power for the sake of power.

    At least the Tories believe in the strong (and rich) inheriting the Earth. Modern Labor believes in staying in power and doing and saying anything to achieve that. Thats the law according to Arbib and Bitar and thats the credo that has been taught to Young Labor kids for the past 25 years.

    In NSW Labor is facing obliteration and it will be good for democracy.

  19. Deano!

    Peter Marshall is my friend so I am not a completely friendless wanker.

  20. Phil Cleary

    Peter Marshall hates you Deano and you know that you are a Freindless Wanker with unique sexual tendancies(not thst thers anything wrong with that)

  21. anon

    Unfortunately, the chickens have come home to roost for the NSW ALP. And, yes, Bernie was one of the biggest c-cks! Dean is a far smarter union official than Bernie, and he actually focuses on his members. Which is why the Victorian Branch has grown significantly since the Kennett years. In contrast, the NSW Branch currently stagnates and I predict will struggle big time when O’Farrell gets into power. Regrettably, under Bernie the NSW ETU will not be able to regroup once electricity is privitised and their power members become private sector contractors and sub-contractors.

  22. The Facts

    Let’s talk about a few facts regarding that Dog Mighell. He lies, he cheats behind his wifes back, he invites Brian Boyd out for lunch and sooks to him that he has no friends, he steals money from his own union and he sets up companies and fleeces more money from the ETU. The ACCC is investigating him and they are not far away from turning him into the most disgraceful union official this country has ever seen.

  23. Deano!

    So if this is true (and it’s a big if) then he is like a lot of union officials who have built little kingdoms for themselves. The difference is if they are aligned to one or the other useless factions of the ALP and generally doing the job of keeping the masses in check they are ok. If they are nasty, obnoxious, bullying arseholes and not in the ALP or prepared to take on the ALP they will be investigated and have mud thrown in the hope that some sticks. In the meantime the stuff so described in the previous post (if true) is typical fare for the big end of town.

    Wake up folks-the lying, cheating, womanising, gambling/drug/booze addict, rorting, mental health issues slurs are getting a little old.

  24. AM I STILL ENJOYING THIS

    Deano corrupto

    Wake up folks-the lying, cheating, womanising, gambling/drug/booze addict, rorting, mental health issues slurs are getting a little old-
    but these are the exact acusations you throw at anyone who disagrees with you deano.
    how do you justify setting up a company ( green electricians ) in your name and then getting the ETU to promote it? how much did the etu pay to set up the website deano? wait till the accc search into this and all the other matters
    SAFS !!!

  25. Are you effing kidding me!

    Presumably these decisions were voted on by the state council. How does this differ (if it’s true) to any other little emperor in a union directing funds to various businesses to benefit themself and not the union. How does it differ to someone going for preselection and diverting the unions funds in ways that directly benefit that individual without any disclosure that they will reap a reward from that? I could go an and on and on about unions and members money and the way it is misused. Why is Mighell being singled out as a special case? Oh of course, the money is not being siphoned to the ALP, if it was that would be ok wouldn’t it. If we are going to examine alleged rorts and dirty dealings let’s examine them all!

  26. The right to judge

    Figures in the ALP from both factions have been peddling the Mighell rumours around for close to two years. The story varies at each telling. All I can say is the ACCC must be pretty slow and incompetent if an investigation has taken this long, seems pretty straight forward to me. No, this is typical ALP fare, if Plan A fails resort to Plan B which is the gossip and slur tactic. This always involves questioning someones mental health, suggesting they have some sort of addiction, questioning sexuality, veiled references about financial crimes, but never anything concrete and mysteriously never any convictions. Really it says more about the accusers than the accused. The only people with the right to judge Mighell are the ETU members and I don’t see a storm of vitriol there.

  27. vic alp not so smug

    NSW has been a sad basket case for so long it is not funny…..however only 12 months ago vic labor gloated that things would never get so bad….and while vic labor has had less lapses in personal judgement a serious of arrogant policy bungles have cement the idea that a 10 years any government is stale…..

    we can only wonder waht would have happened if brumby had used the federal intervention to renew his team….instead of using federal exec intervention to prop up the same old faces….

    the vic cabinet is too close to department heads and was not going to embrace change from within the party…..the irony is that we will get a far worse liberal government and the public will force change where the factional bosses opted for the same old bums on the same old seats.

    it does restore your faith in democracy at one level but many in the community will pay a heavy price for the return of Kennett’s dregs – but as long as the ALP relies of the same old corrupt numbers men and a range of mp puppets who could not argue their way out of a wet paper bag, then it is doomed atleast two terms in opposition – the cancer needed to be cut out.

    There was also little point in kicking out the likes of Sietz and Theophanuous and then letting them still run the ALP numbers in the suburbs.

    The ALP will need another John Cain to cut through the thick layers of political corruption.

    It will need more than a Bracks style leadership change – Bracks only had to shake off seven years of opposition – the NEXT LEADERS OF THE LABOR OPPOSITION will need to shack free of image of a tired government that spent ten years in power that made it look like a liberal government clone in the end.

  28. Edmund Egg

    Luke Foley now has Ian McDonald’s NSW Upper House spot. His was the only nomination.

  29. Edmund Egg

    BTW
    Federal Election will be in late August.

    Ad spots were booked by ALP Nat Sec last week from end of July.

  30. Ahmed Has Not Bin Farting

    Foley is locked in place of Mcdonald’s Upper House Spot. That was the deal. Only time will tell until the next election 290 something or around those days left till Labor os gone

  31. I dont think I'm enjoying this at all now

    Come on “Am I still enjoying this” its a bit rich to write about SAFS in the context that Deano’s dodgy.
    Just because the unions company was sold under Deano’s nose to his mate and Deano proceeded for three years to sign off the books that the ETU still owned it doesn’t necessarily mean Deano;s dodgy its just as likely the case that He is just really, really really dumb and lazy. You would have to say extrordenarily really, really,really dumb and lazy but anyone who knows him could accept its a real possibility. Or the other option is his default defence its all the ALP,s fault but that option doen’t make any sense at all in this case so no one with half a brain would accept that

  32. Suzzana

    Next person to post a naughty post about Deano is in for a big bitch slap

  33. The right to judge

    And at some stage the unions books would have come before the state council to be signed off. Are you telling me that not one of those people picked up a problem and if they did, they sat there and did nothing? Are they all dumb? or completely taken in by Mighell? or just not interested? or they all support Mighell regardless of what he has done? Like I said none of these things are new in the union or business world, whether you get away with it or not (if it’s true) is all down to politics. What has not been answered is if all these allegations are true why has it taken the ACCC so long to investigate, make a finding and refer charges? I have heard so many variations of the Mighell story in the last two years it’s like a game of Chinese Whispers. I can understand why people do not like him and I accept that he has many personal flaws but that is between him and his family, no one else. Most of his critics could probably do with some long term therapy as well.

  34. u r kidding

    The right to judge must be living in another world. The reason why Mighell has no friends is because he does not know what the word friend means. He only likes people who agree with him and if you don’t well he will try and ruin your life because he will see you as a threat to his crumbling empire. Ask anyone who has anything to do with him and all will say I thought he was a great guy when I first met him but after I got to know him he is a lying self absorbed lying prick. He has no friends in the union movement and this thing with the Labor party is all about him. He makes decisions all the time that are good for him and not the members. As for state council they are nearly all the officials who would not dare to disagree with him cause they would find themselves unemployed.As for the ACCC I have heard that they have dragged their feet for a long time but they are starting to interview people of interest such as ex-accountants, ex-officials and current national officials of the broader CEPU.The train is slow but it is coming.

  35. The right to judge

    The right to judge must be living in another world.

    No, firmly planted in the real world unfortunately.

    The reason why Mighell has no friends is because he does not know what the word friend means.

    Yeah, sure that is probably true but not all that unusual.

    He only likes people who agree with him and if you don’t well he will try and ruin your life because he will see you as a threat to his crumbling empire.

    And he is alone with this character trait in the ALP/Union movement is he?

    Ask anyone who has anything to do with him and all will say I thought he was a great guy when I first met him but after I got to know him he is a lying self absorbed lying prick.

    Ok so some bitter personal experiences. I have come across plenty of lying, self serving pricks in the ALP/Unions. It is the nature of politics these days. A movement populated with people who have no politics.

    He has no friends in the union movement and this thing with the Labor party is all about him.

    It may well be all about him but it is a good move.

    He makes decisions all the time that are good for him and not the members.

    Really, like what?

    As for state council they are nearly all the officials who would not dare to disagree with him cause they would find themselves unemployed.

    If they are elected how can he sack them? What no one with any courage in the ETU? All spineless jellybacks are they?

    As for the ACCC I have heard that they have dragged their feet for a long time but they are starting to interview people of interest such as ex-accountants, ex-officials and current national officials of the broader CEPU.

    Ok so they get interested when it suits someones political agenda. It cannot have been too much of a priority and this is just history repeating itself. The state is always going to deal with anyone who rock the boat.

    The train is slow but it is coming.

    I will believe it when I see it. Here is my prediction. In two years time people will be still plotting and planning how they can get Mighell.

  36. Claire Pitts

    The right to judge.
    You clearly are judging from a very distant perspective. As an ETU member, ex state councillor and ex ETU rep I have ascertained knowledge in all these areas. Dean Mighell is a Machiavellian, self absorbed pathetic excuse for a human being who has surrounded himself with sycophants. Those who have disagreed have had their heads chopped off. Are you really so naive to not understand that Dean Mighell probably puts more energy making sure that those who do not sing his song are made and kept unemployed and slandered than anything else these days.
    Get your head out of sand you gullible fool.

  37. Dean Mighell

    Howard please return my red lace panties and the she-male DVDs.

  38. The right to judge

    Ok Claire now you at least sound a little more rational and believable. Yes you are right I am judging from a distant perspective but that does not make me gullible, I just see things like many others see things. All I can say is Mighell must run a pretty tight ship because anything that threatens the Mighell myth rarely gets an airing. In regards to Machiavelli clearly Dean has never read it, at its central theme: “a wise prince should establish himself on that which is his own control and not in that of others; he must endeavor to avoid hatred.”

    Ooops.

    On reform and sycophants I hope Dean has taken heed of this: “Reforming an existing order is one of the most dangerous and difficult things a prince can do. Part of the reason this is so is that people are naturally resistant to change and reform. Those who benefited under the old regime will resist him fervently, whilst those who stand to benefit from his new order will help him only half-heartedly, always one eye on where the power lies.”

    However he has clearly learned this: “it is far safer to be feared than loved if you cannot be both.” As Machiavelli asserts, commitments made in peace are not always kept in adversity; however, commitments made in fear are kept out of fear.”

  39. Edmund Egg

    This page started off talking about NSW and ends up with frigging Dean Mighell!!!

    There a whole f*cking world beyond Victoria politics you know….it’s getting a little dull in here

  40. The right to judge

    Edmund you need a Bex and a good lie down mate! There is a whole world beyond the NSW Right you know…………………..err perhaps not. You are right bring on the NSW politics it is far more interesting, they have managed to destroy the whole ALP, pretty amazing achievment, even Dean could not have pulled that off.

  41. WE want Keating we want Keating

    KEATING FAN CLUB KFC KFC KFC
    Bring back the best PM ever Paul Keating
    our right hand man PK is a charmer he knows the work of Mahler
    ah those were the days
    Keating forvever only he can save the bunch of amateurs that are there now
    boot the gang of four Keating is always worth far more to Australia than that phoney lot !

  42. Age of Reason

    Excellent piece, Andrew.

  43. Claire

    Dean, oops- Right to judge,
    Machiavellian- acting in accordance with Machiavelli’s political doctorine, which place political expediance above political morality, and counternanced the use of craft and deceit in order to maintain the authority and effect the purposes of the ruler.
    A perfect recipe to engender hatred, though Machiavelli’s prince endevoured to not be hated by the masses this was not the case in closer cirlces, a Prince must also be wise to not be despised. A prince is rendered dispicable by being thought changeable, frivolous, effeminate, timid and irresolute.
    Sounds alot like Dean to me.

  44. The right to judge

    Touche Claire Touche but Mighell is not alone in these Machiavellian times. He may be one of the worst, but it is not a space he occupies on his own. This is what happens when any political movement has no anchors of its own and bows to an even bigger Machiavelli, that being the ALP. Your post has a brilliant line ‘rendered dispicable by being thought changeable’ that is how I feel about unions and the ALP and the overall relationship between the two. Will the labor movement go the way of the Medici Family? Only time will tell.

  45. politicalrealist

    I agree very much with the statement aboyht Keating and Kennett being big thinkers. While both men could be somewhat “prickly” they both did have a wider, long term vision for this country. In contrast, people like Howard, Rudd etc are political opportunists, only looking to what is needed to win the next poll. In the case of the NSW Government, probably a good example why fixed terms aren’t so good. At least if the Premier of the day had a choice, we’d be out of our misery by now.

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