So this is Christmas. Well, give or take.
It’s the second last campaign diary of the year and time to move our thinking to good will to all men and women (and kids and pets).
Actually, there’s been a fair bit of good will already in this campaign-that-isn’t-officially-a-campaign.
The KAP and CDP candidates Bruce Nicholson and Adrian Van Der Byl have exchanged social media pleasantries with not only each other but with Angus Taylor (LIB) and James Harker-Mortlock (IND).
There’s also been a bit of niggle. James referred to Angus as privileged a few weeks back and last week sent in a press release not-so-cryptically entitled “Angus Taylor has given up on Hume already”.
It’s probably timely to throw in a comment on what is and isn’t personal. Referring to Angus as privileged was a personal (and largely irrelevant) comment. Saying Angus Taylor has given up on Hume, not so personal.
Sure, the headline is dramatic, attention-grabbing hyperbole, sounds narky and may not even be correct, but the guts of the story wasn’t personal. It was critical and contained opinion, but was pretty much standard political fare.
If you substitute “Liberal Party has given up on Hume” for “Angus Taylor has given up on Hume” it looks a lot more like generic political comment and isn’t inconsistent with a friendly, respectful campaign. He could have made the point without saying Angus’ name but as one of three current underdogs, it was probably a strategic choice to engage the favourite by name and not just the Party.
Nonetheless, Angus has previously expressed a determination to keep out of personality politics and didn’t reply to JHM’s comments. Retiring Liberal Member for Hume Alby Schultz did respond, however, with a letter to the editor which was more a return of fire than a reply as it didn’t specifically relate to JHM’s release.
Alby is not only well within his rights to comment as the incumbent Member for Hume (or as anyone in the electorate may wish to comment for that matter), but the topic is well within his wheelhouse as someone concerned for the electorate and as someone whose opinions on Independent candidates is a matter of record.
Mr Schultz raised some very pertinent points and statistics. I think his summary of the chances of various Independent candidates in the next election was pretty close to the mark and his question that, except for the circumstance of a hung parliament, how does an Independent fund a series of programs costing in the billions was very valid and worthy of further discussion in a later diary.
Mr Schultz then closes his letter rather curiously with a reminder that “compliance with section 44 of the Constitution will be a pre-requisite to success for all new Members.”
That seemed a strange thing to throw into the mix, don’t you think?
Here’s a link to the relevant section of the constitution and the five reasons people could be excluded from holding a seat. .
I could speculate what that’s all about but you know how it is when someone’s telling a story, or a joke, and you finish it for them? Very frustrating. I’d hate to steal someone’ else’s thunder, especially when it sounds like they want to make a point.
From my reading of that section, however, and my limited general knowledge, none of the current four candidates are precluded from standing for or holding the office of Member for Hume as at this moment in time. If that changes, we’ll be all over it.
Incidentally, we are starting to receive lots of “background” info on more than one candidate that we “might like to investigate”. Interesting times.
But where was I.
Even though JHM is now a bona fide Independent (if that’s actually a thing), his former status as a National (and even MORE former status as a former Liberal who left the Libs) may play a large role in setting the terms of his relationship with the Libs going forward in this campaign.
The relationship between Nats and Libs locally has often been frosty and has long reminded me of the sketch from “The Life of Brian” where the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea are so focussed on their own differences that they overlook the real enemy… the ALP, errr, Romans.
I understand that that’s not ALL Nats or ALL Libs but certainly the key players, Alby and Katrina, never seemed like best buds or BFFs (although I’m ready to be corrected if either Alby or Katrina want to set me straight).
For outsiders it’s always seemed a bit strange because both Alby and Katrina are very popular, very successful candidates who are both on the same side of the political divide.
Katrina is one of the few people who I think would have given Angus Taylor a run for his money for the seat of Hume. The other, in my humble and irrelevant opinion, is Senator Ursula Stephens. Katrina, of course, can’t stand now because of the coalition agreement preventing Libs and Nats running against each other, and no doubt Ursula enjoys her role as a senator and is reasonably safe to be re-elected from the third spot on the Labor senate ticket in the next election.
But once again, I digress.
Heated disagreements, vocal opposition… those are to be expected in a campaign for something important. We do after all want our candidates to be passionate about Hume and the potential job ahead of them. We also want good, decent, likeable candidates. Getting the mix right we leave to them.
Anyhoo… tis the season to be jolly and eat heaps without getting the looks I usually do. So let’s shut this down for another week.
Some housekeeping…. last week when I named the websites of each candidate I left one out. Here is (I believe) the full and accurate list.
King of the week – hmmmmmm. Bruce was helpful with my quest to find out all the SunnyBoy flavours during the week but with his hectic schedule this week it’s hard to go past Angus.
You can follow what's been said online over at Hume Chronicles. I’ve received no itinerary information from this week, and that’s a good thing. Go be with your families, sing carols, enjoy. Only a week ago we got a reminder about squeezing every minute out of the time we get with our loved ones and this is a pretty good time to put that into action.
ANGUS TAYLOR (Liberal Party):
BRUCE NICHOLSON (Katter's Australia Party):
JAMES HARKER MORTLOCK (Independant):