Switched-on Victorian state rounds sleuth Peter Rolfe from the Sunday Herald Sun has identified former golden-haired girl of former Premier John Brumby as the new â€œattack merchantâ€ of the Opposition. Victoriaâ€™s very own Julie Bishop perhaps.
Rob Hulls has formerly played the role of hard-man with distinction although many assume after decades in parliamentary service and ten years as minister that he wonâ€™t be going round again. Thereâ€™s been talk of what happens when Hullsâ€™ full superannuation entitlements kick in (later this year) but Labor insiders doubt heâ€™ll cause a by-election unless in favourable political circumstances.
Rolfe has dug up some good quotes from Jacinta showing sheâ€™s having a go in the chamber. Daniel Andrews has an imposing presence but heâ€™ll need more than just the power of one.
Other state Labor MPs are shaking off the disappointments of 2010 and are having a crack. We greatly enjoyed Fiona Richardsonâ€™s verbal carpet-bombing of befuddled Transport Minister after he announced that pets would be allowed on V-Line trains, with matching canine photo op, only to have V-Line contradict their notional boss. Richardson gave him some Cujo-love:
“Terry Mulder. What a wally. The Liberal Public Transport Minister’s most recent stuff up has given new meaning to the phrase a dog of an idea. Instead of worrying about having to install poo-catchers on V-Line trains, Terry Mulder should think about installing one in his own office to clean up this sort of mess. It begs the question, can the Liberal Public Transport Minister get anything right?”
Also muscling up is Tim Holding, the Shadow Treasurer and his hard-working chum Martin Pakula who have tag-teamed Kim Wells, whose approach to stakeholder management is somewhat curious. Some in Liberal circles think heâ€™s a weak Treasurer, allowing the Premierâ€™s Private Office advisers to actively meddle in budget formulation. Holding has claimed that heâ€™s been â€œmissing in actionâ€:
“It is a disgrace the Treasurer won’t front the media,” he said. “Kim Wells can’t tell the difference between capital and recurrent spending, and almost caused a run on a bank.Kim Wells is not up to the serious job of being the state’s Treasurer.”
Standard fare until the killer line:
Treasurer Kim Wells yesterday ducked a planned media launch of a crucial report into Victoria’s finances and has now been dubbed “MIA Wells” in Spring St. Shadow treasurer Tim Holding, who famously got lost on Mt Feathertop, offered to lend the Treasurer his emergency distress beacon.
Clever. Self-deprecating. And encouraging to observers of Victorian politics who crave a contest. Itâ€™s coming.
That said, thereâ€™s still a reasonably sleepy and peaceful attitude in Spring Street at the moment, so much so that a member of the VEXNEWS Investigations Unit was not surprised to see former protagonists ex ALP State Secretary and new PMO Director of Strategy Nick Reece, ex Liberal party director now state Cabinet office czar Tony Nutt and Baillieu COS Michael Kapel all standing around having a very friendly yak on Friday afternoon on Spring Street. None were keen to detail the â€œprivate conversationâ€ although our informant reveals Kapel was in animated story-telling mode, waving his arms about and bringing them down in chopping fashion, suggesting he was either talking about the coming state budget or the ministerial career of former Baillieu friend turned frenemy Richard Dalla Riva.