Friday, July 01, 2005

Jeff Kennet - Angel and Devil


In fascinating piece of political drama, former Labour leader Mark Latham has been engaged in what seems to this un-educated eye to be some ... edgy ... behaviour. His actions have not failed to stir controversy in many areas.

This article in today's Age sums things up nicely, including a fascinating tirade by former Liberal shadow treasurer Dr Robert Dean on ABC Radio. MP had also heard the radio segment in question at the time.

Jeff Kennet is responsible for many things, but his career might be best described by the series of monuments he left behind. Jeff's Shed (The Exhibition Building), Jeff's Goalpoasts (The two concrete pillars straddling the Bolte Bridge tollway), Jeff's Car Race (the Australian Grand Prix) are perhaps the most visible. A pioneer of privatisation, legislative change and economic leadership simultaneously saw Victoria escape the fiscal doldrums, never mind who got hurt. His domineering style, strong leadership and frank success polarised the debate between those who could not accept his methods, and those who applauded his results.

For some, the first Kennet Era was a time in which the little guy was trod on, schools were closed, services rationalised. For others it signalled a rejuvenation of economic stability. Ultimately, it was probably both, and it could not last.

Eventually, the silent majority found their voice. Kennet was ejected from power in a manner not dissimilar to Latham's departure - a massive electoral loss. He, too, left disgracefully.

Kennet the Second is now a figurehead for the anti-depression movement. MP does not find it hard to imagine that Kennet was possessed of what might best be called an uncommon mental constitution. Nor does MP find it hard to imagine the Latham too walked to the beat of a different drummer.

All in all, the facts are best summarised in the referenced article. It serves as a central example of whether it is only the pot that really has the right to call the kettle black.



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