MAD MAX: McKew reveals a celebrity career in crisis

madmaxine Maxine McKew is yet another celebrity candidate who is proving a dud, according to Labor caucus insiders.

While quickly promoted under Kevin Rudd to become a Parliamentary Secretary, McKew was said to be impatient for promotion and was particularly troubled by the elevation of Greg Combet, who she regards as an over-rated Lothario. She explained to those in caucus still listening that Combet and Mark Arbib’s promotion over her was all because of the “factions”.

McKew’s political strategy to cope with these disappointments, such as it was, in Canberra was to embrace the Fuhrer principle more enthusiastically than any of Rudd’s other willing executioners in caucus. Indeed, caucus insiders speak of a secret award made after each caucus meeting by MPs discussing the proceedings over a latte. The award is known as “The Maxine”, awarded to “the biggest suckhole” effort directed by an individual caucus member to the leadership during the meeting. Insiders explain that McKew very often wins the award herself although was previously offered stiff competition by a number of willing executioners, ministerial aspirants and Daryl Melham. It is not known whether the previously secret “The Maxine” award will continue into the Gillard era.

She sipped the Rudd Kool-Aid even if Rudd’s view of her was privately scathing, insiders say. He is believed to have referred to her on occasion as “Mad Max”. The name has stuck.

She sipped the Rudd Kool-Aid even if Rudd’s view of her was privately scathing, insiders say. He is believed to have referred to her on occasion as “Mad Max”. The name has stuck.

Despite this designation, McKew is believed to have been the only member of caucus who attended Rudd’s farewell at the Lodge where staffers drowned their sorrows and even chucked the boss in the pool. McKew is still writhing around in pain about the whole thing, if the weekend’s press is any guide. Some cynics interpret the move as a very unsubtle bid for promotion after the next election.

She attacked factional leaders from the NSW Right, made it clear she wasn’t going to be joining their faction or any other and accused them of playing “brutish” politics.

This is not greatly different from current Liberal party talking points about why Gillard was removed when the truth is that he was removed for the reasons the Libs had been keenly pointing out about his personal failings for the past year or so.

“I have always said I will not be part of any faction, I will be part of the Australian Labor Party…”

She even accused “factional heavies” (code for Mark Arbib, Bill Shorten et al) of neglecting their work by spending time on “politics”:

“As soon as I got elected one member of the NSW Right rang me and said ‘come on’ and I said ‘no’. I won’t be joining any faction. And I have to say when I look at some of the factional heavies, they spend a lot more time doing politics than they do on their work, and if they spent a bit more time on their jobs, we’d all be better off.”

NSW Right members have laughed this off saying no-one encouraged her to join the NSW Right, not least of which is because of her family connections with the Socialist Left faction.

That’s an extraordinary observation at many levels.

Arbib and Shorten have their share of critics but few could question their work ethic. Shorten in particular is thought to have done a stellar job in the area of disabilities, giving the neglected area of public policy a champion like never before and putting on the national agenda the grave injustices that face many people with disabilities. If he can pull off a no-fault national disabilities insurance scheme, he’ll have achieved far more than most even attempt in public life. Because of his efforts so far, there’s an inquiry into it to establish how much it will cost and how it could work.

The other issue of course is McKew’s apparent belief that her job doesn’t involve politics. She is a politician. She seems afflicted by the condition that normally affects long-term governments, they become concerned with crafting the perfect policy, shaped by bureaucrats who can do no wrong, rather than actually fulfilling the democratic imperative of doing what the voters want.

With friends like this advising him, Rudd hardly needed enemies.

And though she fails to comprehend the nature of her job, it’s her criticism of factions that is the most disingenuous part of her dummy spit.

While a high-profile person because of her work on the ABC over many years, it is well-known in Labor circles that Mad Max’s husband, Bob Hogg, a senior figure, numbers-man and apparatchik in the Socialist Left in Victoria with very high-level contacts still, brokered the glamour role of taking on John Howard.

Labor people had been having a good hard look at Bennelong for many years and regarded it as a highly prospective opportunity.

Hogg claimed the prize for McKew and Sussex Street were pleased to give it to her. It was a good fit. But the mythology that she was given a really tough seat to win is just that, a complete myth. It was in fact a Labor mate’s hand-out. Labor strategists say Labor was always going to win it, according to their polling.

Giving credit where it’s due, McKew was a perfectly fine and energetic candidate. She drove the Libs mad with her apparent niceness and diligent campaigning.

But the inconvenient truth is that a drover’s dog could have won Bennelong for Labor in 2007.

There was a big swing on for Labor in Sydney generally. Every Howard-hating loon group descended on the seat too. The local candidate John Howard had to campaign everywhere else. And demographic changes over the years – state seats there are Labor for now– were masked by John Howard punching well above his weight for some time.

For all that, Howard’s vote was undoubtedly higher than the natural Liberal vote there, even in the 2007 election. Her vote will probably increase at the next election and it will have very little to do with her own self-recognised greatness and everything to do with Howard’s absence. Those familiar with the local situation point to a recent event honouring Betty Cuthbert where McKew and Liberal opponent John Alexander spoke. They say Alexander was received well but that McKew was not, with reports of hissing from locals, reflecting their disappointment with her performance as an MP.

Labor’s passion for celebrity candidates endures, with very few of them actually ever doing well. Some like Peter Garrett have got the most public odium but in Canberra he enjoys a very high internal reputation for being hard-working, disciplined, intelligent and a team player. He’s not in a faction either but you’d never him disparage his colleagues for not working hard enough, insiders say. With the reign of Rudd over, caucus insiders think he might be bold enough to speak up at Cabinet and in caucus and could make a great contribution. The considered view is that Garrett wore the blame for the loss of life caused by dodgy insulation operators and even covered-up for Kevin Rudd’s failings. It is considered unlikely McKew would take the same approach. It’s all about her, caucus critics say.

McKew is at the opposite end of the spectrum, seen by fellow caucus members as a boastful, obsequious hypocrite by her many foes who regard her as a powerful advertisement against celebrity outsider candidates who are very rarely as good as they think they are, frequently make the most basic of political mistakes and usually cause their colleagues and cause considerable damage along the way.

Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby told the Australian Jewish News after the leadership change that one of the messages of Rudd’s loss of leadership was that it “reminds even the most confident of political operators that none of us is as good as all of us”. A message we suspect completely lost on Mad Max.



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42 responses to “MAD MAX: McKew reveals a celebrity career in crisis

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention VEXNEWS 2010© | MAD MAX: McKew reveals a celebrity career in crisis --

  2. chris

    It is throw, not through, you dumb fuck. [deleted – stupidity]

  3. Steve Sensible

    And no one holds an electorate on one issue like Michael Danby…

  4. Edmund Egg

    Maxine is in the mold of Peter Garrett – big on self-importance, small on talent.

    Bugger off you Left Wing leech.

  5. Ben

    All celebrity and little substance.

  6. After Mary Delahunty and now Maxine, will the ALP learn its lesson about candidates who look good on TV?

  7. hmmm

    is she wearing underwear in that picture?

  8. anon

    When all else fails go for the ‘[deleted] shot’ Maxine even though it looks well used.

  9. Adrian Jackson

    You are right on Andrew and the dud celebs are not just confined to the ALP. But “Moscow” Mary De La Hunty would have to be one of the worst and lets not forget the male actor (a Pommy) in the Cain government. The worst seem to come from TV news and Current Affairs. Who was that female NT Chief Minister who was on ABC TV before – that it Clare Martin.

  10. hmmm

    Chris, just out of interest, why is it that [deleted – stupidity]

  11. Mad Maxine

    I just farted *woops*

  12. The Boss

    How come no one mentions Conroy when throwing names of the ‘factional heavies’ around?

  13. Boofa Leigh

    Maxine I can teach you things you would never have learned at the ABC. It wont take long and I am sure Wenchy will not mind me helping you out. I think there is an opportunity for you in my special class for ‘gifted beginners’. It starts at 11.59 pm and finishes at 12 midnight. You then have the opportunity to turn into whatever you want then, as long as I get to hold the candle my dear….

  14. anon

    Has anyone got a cobweb brush?

  15. Nathaniel Smith

    It’s all Hork’s fault. The Smith dynasty is still alive I tell you

  16. Eastwood Chinese Restaurant

    Aaah so, Maxine, you not as good as you said. No free wontons or dim sims for you.

  17. Eugene of Epping

    Give us back the seat for my son….

    Give us back our state preselection….it’s such a tragedy

    Give us back our seat in Ryde

    Give us back our seat in Ryde

  18. anon

    “He did the gash
    He did the monster gash
    The maxine gash
    It was a graveyard smash
    He did the gash
    It caught on in a flash
    He did the gash
    He did the maxine gash”

  19. anony

    “state seats there are Labor for now”

    That’s not right – remember the Ryde bi-election when Watkins resigned = 20% plus wings to libs.

    They’re all nasty north shore libs- Anthony Roberts, Victor Dominello. Greg Smith.

  20. Sam Newman

    This is a perfect reason as to why celebrity political candidates should keep there mouths shut so the shit doesnt flow out.

    Maxine when you read this or one of your staffers – you should realise that you are over rated, you lost em teh moment you put that shit diary out ” how I won bennelong” it was a self ranting load of shit.

    Maxine, like he rest of us – get a real job love. Why dont you work at your local takeaway shop ratehr than tell us why you should be a minister you self service hippocrit

  21. Fan

    Rudd Kool Aid – it is perfect because those that walked with him did not even know he would pull out of the vote

  22. Arther conan doyle

    There is definately a touch of Sharon Stone in this picture.

  23. cynic

    Max was always good at asking questions, with a real left bent, but most journos make hopeless pollies as they do not actually do anything when working.

    She lost me when quitting aunty & saying she was not going into politics. That’s was a blatant lie. Good bye max!

  24. Say no to celebrity MPs

    How very true you could swap Kirstie Marshall’s name with Maxine McKew’s the same applies to her

  25. Anonymous

    I think you can see Max’s undies lol

  26. RDR

    But I’d love to have a munch on Kirstie’s, as for Maxine’s I’ll give it a BIG miss.

  27. Anonymous

    You cant be series RDR have you seen her close up? She looks like a piece of leather luggage too much sun in the snow.

  28. Anonymous

    You cant be serious RDR have you seen her close up? She looks like a piece of leather luggage too much time in the sun

  29. Rage Against The Machine

    yeah the last thing the ALP needs are people successful in their chosen field coming in with their diversity, relevance, ideas and energy over the talentless one-dimensional party hacks and ex-unionists for whom pre-selection is their god-given right.

  30. Boofa Leigh

    RDR – McKew is all mine. The ‘deal’ has already been done….

  31. FFS Boofa, your standards slip a little lower every day.

  32. RB

    So Maxine McKew is unimpressed with John Alexander because he stood for Bradfield before becoming the candidate for Bennelong. Ms McKew incorrectly claims, “Bennelong was John’s second choice”. Unlike Ms McKew and her colleague Peter Garrett who were both parachuted into their electorates by Kevin Rudd, at least John was democratically elected by the Liberal Party to be the candidate for Bennelong after going through the pre-selection process for both Bradfield and Bennelong

  33. Boofa Leigh

    I am not an animal…I am a human being….and tonight is the night!!!!!

  34. Wenchy

    I’m up for it Geoff hope you can oblige.

  35. Air Vacuum


    I hope Maxine gets to squeeze your head between her thighs and make your eyes pop.

    You should be sitting in the ALP’s Dunce Corner.

  36. in Bennelong

    Wow, I stumbled against this. Could it be nastier? If this is “how journalism is supposed to be” God help us all.

    I don’t think she’s been a bad local member at all. At least she is seen in the electorate regularly (the one before her needed an election and a driver with GPS to find it).

    As for Labor people having a good hard look at Bennelong for many years – rubbish. If that was half true, they’d’ve been putting up real candidates and putting some energy into winning instead of throwing in a token cardboard cutout candidate (sorry Nicole). There was no sign at all that the ALP took Bennelong at ALL seriously. They only twigged something might be possible when Andrew Wilkie stood for the Greens the previous federal election and did very nicely, thank you – and then poor old Nicole got shoved aside from her role of ALP cardboard cutout candidate in favour of someone who might actually win.

    McKew worked damn hard to win Bennelong. I had to take my hat off to her when she actually moved in to the electorate BEFORE she won, instead of the standard line (eg Andrew Wilkie, Paul Nicolaou) of “I’ll move here if I win”, who left locals feeling like their interest in the electorate began and ended with whether it could further their career. (note to self: find out whether John Alexander is waiting to win to commit to living here).

    She also had to work against one of the two local papers – The Weekly Times is outright sycophantic towards the Liberals.

    BEST thing about McKew though is that she really messed up the ambitions of Anthony Roberts, who, with very little (read: less than zero) encouragement would tell folks (me) that he was going to be the next member for Bennelong and then Prime Minister. (He gets worse after a drink or two). Now THAT would be a sad day.

    At the time of the 2007 fed election, the state members were not ALP – one was Lib, one ALP (journalism as it is meant to be?). The ALP one was John Watkins, who was also “punching above his weight”, because a lot of people liked and respected *him*, not necessarily the government he worked for. The local state members are now both Liberal – Anthony Roberts (revolting, arrogant man) and Victor Dominello (may be okay, a completely different league to Anthony Roberts). Nicole yet-again did not win.

    And everyone loves a good typo…. Gillard was removed – ?

  37. Drunk Guy

    Listening to Maxine on Q&A , and lets face it you actually had no choice because she barely shut up the whole show and rudely interupted everyone and at the same time only insulted and insinuated rather than actually having answers for questions.

    It was a poor performance from someone who should be the most comfortable in front of a camera, the adhominem and spurious attacks flowed from her mouth along with gutter talk over the top of anyone actually trying to answer the audiences questions, she was appalling.

    She has definately proved to be a dud, and I expect she has delusions of grandeur and probably expected that in exchange for her support of Rudd she’d get a speaking part after the next election.

  38. Col Kurtz

    It was interesting to see a Liberal staffer – Caroline Bienke from Ryde Liberal MP, Victor Dominello’s office – talking about how Maxine hasn’t delivered in Bennelong, while pretending to Channel 9 News that she was an independent, non-aligned resident.

    Are there no genuine residents who are prepared to criticise Maxine or do the Liberals need to roll out their stooges?

  39. John Smith

    You should learn how to spell, and include correct grammar before you use such big words. You clown, you bring down the level of journalism!!

  40. eddybourne

    What have we done to deserve this wave of overly-ambitious female wannabees in the ALP – like Maxine McKew, Suzie Templeman and Krissy Kenneally? They will be the downfall of the party – all show, no substance and all very very annoying. Here’s a tip: no one likes a woman who only likes the sound of their own voice.

  41. Hilary

    Maxine McWho ??? Get a job you arrogant jackass

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