Queensland ALP figures recognised an old name this week. Jose Teixeira, a member of the East Timorese parliament, reared his head as a strident critic of Prime Minister Julia Gillardâ€™s plan to process asylum seekers in Timor Leste. Teixeira hit the front-page of the Australian, dozens of media references that have caused Gillard tremendous inconvenience this week, slowing her momentum considerably as she is on the verge of calling the federal election we have to have.
VEXNEWS can exclusively reveal that Jose was once known as Joe Teixeira, in the days when he lived in Brisbane during the 1990s and was a very active member of the Labor party.
Joe Teixeira was once known as a devoted ALP moderate hack, involved in all manner of recruitment schemes with chaps later adversely named in the Shepherdson inquiry into electoral rorts. A gregarious fellow, fondly remembered by patriots who used to wield clipboards with AEC and ALP membership forms in the manner of a lightsaber, he was a well-known and well-liked chap in ALP circles.
VEXNEWS understands that Teixeria was an active member of the Annerley branch of the ALP, used as a recruitment vehicle for those actively supporting the candidacy of Kevin Rudd for preselection in Griffith in the early 1990s when Rudd was running the public service with brutal and clueless efficiency for his mate Premier Wayne Goss. Crudely put, Teixeira helped stack Griffith for Rudd, insiders say, in the company of chaps like Warwick Powell, Simon Blackwood and the colourful former communist Lee Bermingham. All smart fellows with a capacity for mischief that seemed to know no rival. And Teixeira was part of the crew.
Teixeira and Rudd were very friendly as a result and have maintained a dialogue, it seems. Perhaps a case of one good turn deserves another.
Labor sources worry that Rudd might have encouraged his old branch-stacking ally to stick the boot in.
Their concerns come at a time when other strategists had told VEXNEWS that Tony Jones of Lateline seemed remarkably well-briefed on questions relating to the East Timorese negotiations and other issues. One explained that while relations between Jones and Rudd started off as quite frosty that eventually a friendship developed, with one describing them as active â€œtext buddies.â€
Certainly Gillard has had a tough couple of days as questions of detail arose about her governmentâ€™s plans for the offshore processing of asylum seekers, a policy previously derided by Rudd as inherently dismal and evil.
The issues around East Timorâ€™s acceptance of Australian-bound asylum seekers will centre around money. Itâ€™s a poor country that will need to receive a serious amount of financial assistance to build an appropriate facility. If the policy is effective it could well become a very expensive white elephant. But to be to fair to Gillard, this is now a bi-partisan issue in Australian politics. She went beyond political correctness and most probably her own preferred position and embraced a plan that will be a powerful deterrent to those who seek to come to Australia by the most dangerous possible means, on a leaky boat owned by a people smuggler.
Maintaining this deterrent in East Timor could be an employment bonanza for the poor country while solving a huge political problem for both sides of politics and addressing a concern of many millions of Australians. While there might be lots of noise around this issue, some of it generated by a very grouchy Kevin Rudd apparently, a deal is there to be done and will be able to be pursued by the incoming government, whether it be Liberal and Labor.
Meanwhile horrifying stories continue to emerge from within the government about the strange final days of Rudd before the downfall. We hope the masterful political author and Daily Tele Gallery correspondent Simon Benson is taking note, this is a horror story that needs to be told in all its gore very soon.