Alex Mitchell’s WEEKLY NOTEBOOK – Why “star” MPs can be unpredictable disaster

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley is rarely photographed without Jodi McKay at his side. She is the ex-TV host who has just won the seat of Strathfield after being parachuted into Sydney’s inner-west by Foley himself.
Ms McKay is channelling the role which Cheryl Kernot once played for federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley. He would not go anywhere without a smiling Ms Kernot, a refugee from the Democrats, at his elbow. Fat lot of good it did Labor, Beazley or Kernot.
Before the 2007 election, Ms McKay was approached by senior Liberals to be their “star” candidate in Newcastle where she was a popular TV news anchor. Labor got wind of it and made a counter-offer which included making her a minister in Premier Morris Iemma’s government. She became a successful ALP candidate and was eventually rewarded with a ministry.
But when Labor was swept out of office in 2011 Ms McKay lost her Newcastle seat in the landslide due, in part, to a sabotage campaign which involved factional head kickers, Joe Tripodi and Eric Roozendaal. Then last year she became a media “heroine” after giving evidence at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). The ALP’s head office in Sussex Street “re-adopted” Ms McKay and promised her a winnable seat if she moved to Strathfield in Sydney. If Foley won he promised to make her a senior minister. To give his offer credibility, he made her shadow planning minister even though she had demonstrated no previous prowess in that area and didn’t have a seat in parliament at the time.
A political lightweight, Ms McKay now has the task of exchanging arguments with the Coalition’s Planning Minister Rob Stokes, MP for Pittwater, who has a PhD in environmental science and is one the Liberal Party’s emerging leaders.
I believe she has to chalk up two terms to qualify for a parliamentary pension and she’s already served one.

Beer-fuelled cricket

Andrew Webster is billed as Chief Sports Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald. Because he “came out” a couple a years ago admitting he was gay, Webster has joined the ranks of protected species and you criticise him at your peril. Well, here goes…
Following Australia’s victory in the Cricket World Cup, Channel Nine commentator Shane Warne publicly supported the boys getting on the turps and then snarled at Twitter critics: “Do gooders get stuffed.”
Webster joined the knuckle-draggers writing: “Oh Warnie, you little bewdy. Don’t listen to the do-gooders. If ever a side deserved a little tipple or two (dozen), it was this Australian team. Australian cricket, it seems, has now been fully restored to its former glory, to a time when our players don’t worry about skinfolds and ice baths and transcendental meditation, and they drank beer, like men, and danced in victory with stumps above their heads.” (SMH, 31 March 2015).
The players’ all-night piss-up was celebrated all over the mainstream media. The heroes, presented as role models and the finest examples of Australian sporting excellent, were binge drinking and behaving like yobs. And damned proud of it too.
Cricket writer Peter Lalor recently described Rod Marsh downing his 44rd beer as the Aussie Test side touched down at Heathrow 20 years ago. “The keeper drained his 43rd and sipped painfully at his 44th, equalling the (Doug) Walters record. Then he gurgled a surprising announcement: ‘I can’t make it’. This was a time for mates to stand together. (Dennis) Lillee remembers them giving March a word of encouragement: ‘Bullshit’.
“The challenge had by now assumed the significance of winning an Ashes series, Lillee writes.’There would be no capitulation. We tilted Rodney’s head back and literally force fed him.’ They had to put him in team uniform and load him onto a luggage trolley get him through Customs.”
A couple of points: Marsh is now national selector for Cricket Australia and the AMA is calling on doctors not to force-feed asylum seekers who are hunger striking to protest against ASIO’s exclusion of them from joining the Australian way of life.

Nigeria’s misery

The election of Mahummadu Buhari as Nigeria’s new president has been welcomed by the Western media in gushing terms. Not surprising, perhaps, when they are acting on information supplied by the Foreign Office in London and the CIA at Langley and the State Department in Washington DC.
For make no mistake, Buhari is their man and not Nigeria’s.
As Lieutenant General Buhari he led an armed coup in 1983 and ruled until August 1985. His era was renowned for human rights abuses, a crackdown on media, music and theatre and irrational military discipline over civilians.
Buharai, now 72 and the first chairman of the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation, has made three attempts at regaining power until his recent success as leader of the foreign-financed Congress for Progressive Change founded in 2009.
A Sunni Moslem, Buhari stole a convincing win by promising to stamp out the Boko Haram terror gangs. His predecessor was seen to shirk the willpower to take on Boko Haram but it was more complicated than that. Outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan turned down Washington’s offer of drone strikes and Special Forces with “boots on the ground” because he could foresee a tribally divided nation being plunged into a new civil war.
Under the election mantra of “fighting corruption” Buhari linked the slogan “destroying Boko Haram” and now he has the mandate that Washington (and Mrs Michelle Obama) wanted.
His election emblem was a broom which was also used by Britain’s Margaret Thatcher more than 30 years ago. Perhaps a more accurate emblem would be a gun.

Bye bye Bibi

Benyamin Netanyahu’s re-election as prime minister of Israel seems like an act of national self-destruction, freely and democratically reached at the ballot box.
Israel is already a pariah state to its neighbours in the Middle East and most of the world (with the exception of the Marshall Islands and Tony Abbott’s Team Australia in Canberra).
The constitution and principles upon which Israel was founded are as dead as the Dead See Scrolls. In their place, the controlling ultra-Zionists have constructed a framework of legal and political privilege for Jews while the Arab population lives under strict military-police law and racial discrimination. In short, the Israeli Zionists have established their own apartheid state to oppress Arabs.
The next stage of Zionism’s apartheid project will be to make life so intolerable for Arabs in East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank them they move abroad and won’t be allowed back. Rather like sending asylum seekers to Nauru and Manus Island.
Did Netanyahu win the election? No, racism did.

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