Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Yesterday an Extraordinary Thing Happened

Posted by Possum Comitatus on February 14, 2008

crikeylogo.jpg This was me earlier today in Crikey.

Yesterday an extraordinary thing happened, in public, in Parliament, live on national television – but it wasn’t the apology to the Stolen Generation (although, that too was quite the moment). Nor was it the deranged escapades of Chris Pearce, the Member for Aston, who found the need to demonstrate his displeasure at the profound proceedings unfolding before him, by ignoring events and spending his time flicking through some magazine that we can only surmise wasn’t the latest edition of The Art of Healing.

No – yesterday, Kevin Rudd rescued Brendan Nelson the Person, from being suffocated under the polarising burden of being Brendan Nelson the Leader of the Coalition.

And a Coalition it truly is, a Coalition of the irreconcilable.

In highly charged, highly emotional moments of national importance like yesterday, moments that become headlines rather than footnotes in our national history – unity, political unity, or at the very least a well constructed façade of national unity is the necessary ingredient that makes the difference between an event being one of momentous celebration, or becoming one which leaves a potentially bitter aftertaste.

With the Coalition descending back into its natural state of internal ideological conflict now that the artificial glue of government power has been removed, the chances of Brendan Nelson ever producing a response to Rudds speech that not only reconciled the views of those like Sophie Mirabella with the views of people like Petro Georgio, but also didn’t sound like a “yes, an apology BUT” moment that cuddled up to a Howard legacy that half of the Liberal Party would prefer to forget, well that was remote – especially since Nelson owes his leadership to the apology naysayer’s.

Nelson was left delivering a camel of a speech in Parliament, forced by petty internal party politics to say things which he knew would spoil the moment, things he did not believe, things that would likely leave a bitter political legacy for the future. He knew well that it would be ‘these things’ for which Brendan Nelson would always be remembered when those of tomorrow look back to yesterday’s moment in history.

When the time came to deliver his camel, Brendan Nelson had the look of a man that, as one wit put it, “suddenly realised that he had chosen the wrong party”, and would now be forever burdened as the name behind a speech whose contents were not reflective of Brendan Nelson the person, but simply reflective of the cancerous political dynamics of the Coalition itself.

The public reaction to his speech was probably not that different to how Nelson himself would have reacted were he not a Member of Parliament and found himself listening to those very words on the lawns of Canberra with thousands of others.

Just when Nelson probably thought it couldn’t get any worse, when he’d accepted his inevitable fate of historical villain – Rudd delivered him a lifeline. Not only a lifeline that would forever have the effect of boosting those parts of Nelsons speech that apologised and downplayed the list of caveats that accompanied it, not only a lifeline that created a media friendly image of national political unity as the two leaders stood together on the same side of the chamber presenting a gift to the House from the representatives of the Stolen Generation, but a lifeline that saved Brendan Nelson personally from shouldering the historical burden of being the spoiler, a spoiling role that more reflected the Coalitions political dysfunction than any views that Brendan Nelson himself might have had, but could not say.

It’s hardly any wonder that of all the political players involved in yesterday’s proceedings, it was Nelson that looked the most emotional, particularly when he greeted the Stolen Generation members.

The three great images to come from yesterday were Rudd saying sorry, the standing ovation and the presentation of a coolamon to the Speaker. Rudd threw Nelson a lifeline by deliberately bringing his political opponent centre stage into the symbolism of that last moment, guaranteeing that the historical narrative over yesterdays event will be far kinder to Nelson than even he thinks he probably deserved.

We can only hope Nelson learned a lesson in political leadership yesterday – partisan politics has limits. But even if he didn’t, he certainly owes Rudd a beer.

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46 Responses to “Yesterday an Extraordinary Thing Happened”

  1. fred said

    Well instead of giving him a beer Nelson has served up an attack on Rudd for the actions of the staffers who showed their [understandable ?] displeasure at Nelson’s racism in his speech.

  2. Ambigulous said

    Does Mr Nelson realise what a generous (and yes, necessary) gesture that was on the PM’s part? Fred seems to think not.

    The PM’s speech was superb, Dr Nelson’s speech was rambling and mostly incoherent; in the parts which were clear he dishonoured the occasion. To call his speech a “camel” is very generous of you.

    You’re right, the nation needs a bipartisan approach. And when the PM offerred Dr Nelson a leading role as co-chair, he looked stung.

    Was he perhaps expecting a dull and pedestrian speech, a la Kevin Rudd during 2007? Did he realise as he sat there listening to the PM, that his speech was terribly badly written – like being next speaker after a “star”??

  3. Zafar said

    [a lifeline that saved Brendan Nelson personally from shouldering the historical burden of being the spoiler]

    That position already being taken, thanks very much.

    And does having the Leader of the Opposition as a co-chair limit the potential sniping by the Opposition on this issue?

  4. Ningaui said

    I was outside on the lawn with several thousand others. It was a self-selecting group in some ways – many Indigenous people, people who have worked with Indigenous people, a sprinkling of the curious, people who sensed history in the making, some schoolchildren.

    Rudd did not promise compensation, reparation, did not say sorry for everything, including the theft of land, and did not promise a treaty. So it was not quite the whole tamale.

    But he did do something big for all of us. He said sorry for some great wrongs and acknowledged the great sufferings that were caused and continue to be caused by those wrongs. No qualification.

    So it was just a very good saying sorry.

    The tears flowed freely, spirits soared, healing was happening.

    Then on came Mr Nelson. He started well. As the speech went on people here and there turned around and put their backs to Mr Nelson. I did not. Being towards the back of the crowd, I faced hundreds of faces of people who had their backs to Mr Nelson. I believed that the sorry required a bit of give and take and inclusiveness so that as many people as possible all round Australia could feel some ownership of it. I understand that there are many views and starting points amongst Australians. To my way of thinking, Mr Nelson would represent all sorts of people who would otherwise not support the sorry. I did not expect to support exactly everything he was going to say. So there I was, supporting inclusiveness by facing the speaker and listening politely with hundreds of faces looking my way. Not easy, actually.
    But then he did something plain awful. He talked about the drowning/rape of a four year old Indigenous girl by Indigenous men. No-one doubts that this happened. No-one supports such evil behaviour. I am even now not sure what his point was.
    Was he thinking about the little children in the crowd or watching television? Did he have a special message for them?
    Was he somehow absolving some bad behaviour by someone else by pointing to this despicable act? Was he implying that his sorry was really not so necessary because his party had done something about evil behaviour?
    I didn’t understand it then and I don’t understand it now. .
    Did he get his lines crossed? Was he really thinking somehow about all the Indigenous children abused over two centuries by non-Indigenous adults?
    It was unbelievably inappropriate, insensitive and wrongheaded, to apologise to a people for a great wrong and, in doing so, reminding them that some people of the same race have done some foul things. What did he want? What did he expect?
    So, to my disappointment, Mr Nelson forced me to turn my back. ‘What a pity!’ I muttered to myself, ‘What a great pity!’
    Through the cries of ‘Shame’ and the slow hand-clapping I heard the end of his speech. It was a good ending but by then no one was listening.

  5. onimod said

    I suspect that the last 11 years, with JWH making most of the decisions, and the public servants the rest, has left the conservative team a little lazy. I suspect Nelson looked stung, because he just been offered some more work – yep – he’s going to actually have to do something other than gaze at his navel, and he has precious little resources to do that work with.
    He’s a deer in the headlights on so many levels.
    Though not unexpected, it seems most of the remnants of the ‘team’ are thinking the same thing – they’re just not built for public service, especially at Rudd and Gillard’s pace. I thought I read somewhere that the resignations are flowing in PM&C – too much work to be done there too it seems. Personally I think it’s great. I don’t want my countries leader in there for 11 years – I want him to achieve 11 years of work in 3 or less so that one day we might be a true leading nation. Statistically we’re working harder and longer than other nations and yet whenever I return here (Australia) it feels like I’m a school boarder getting on a bus to go home to the country town for the holidays. The claims of the luck country are going to have to stop eventually, unless we turn our talents into results.
    Lets hope yesterday tuns out to be one of many extraordinary days in the next few years.

  6. Grumps said


    The delivery of an apology to the stolen children was truly one of the greatest events in our parliament. It should have come sooner; but it now has been done.

    I did feel sorry for Brendan Nelson, caught in a wedge of Rodents making. He was captured by the ideology that has transformed the liberals from what they were under Menzies, to the driest and desiccated form of unrepresentative rat droppings that only a fornicated and biased voting system could throw up.

    Rant over.

    Nelson must of realised, at the delivery of Rudd’s speech, that his time as opposition leader is shorter than even he thought and he definitely will not be there when the many conservative brands rally together long enough to return to the government benches.

    As you said “only the artificial glue of government” kept this lot together.

    I cannot believe that Rudd threw the opposition an unexpected lifeline. Rudd’s record as a career diplomat must have ensured that he understood the relevance and nature of the offer he was making.

    I am more of the view that this was an anchor deliberately chucked at “Ear Rings” Nelson. It was calculated to ensure that El Rodent’s past is irrevocably connected to this lot in the electorates mind.

    I believe this offer was an attempt to engineer a revolt of the Rodent’s faction over the more moderate arm of the Liberals. This brawling would be useful as the economy steams along into possible carnage and some of Rudd’s policies may have to be cut adrift. I hope I am wrong.

    I sincerely hope that Rudd and the suddenly discovered realm of bipartisan politics succeeds in providing all of the measures outlined in yesterdays “Sorry Speech”, The aboriginal nation’s need is far to great to be sunk by politic games and point scoring.

    Para-phrasing ex GG Sir William Patrick Deane in his interview with Kerry O’Brien last night, “We don’t want to come back here in 50 years time to apologise to the aboriginal nation again.”

  7. codger said

    Tip & Dolly’s faces said it all…so it had come to this…the legacy…a former ALP member towing the three wheeled jalopy of Howard, Hanson & Hubris into the 21C; ringmaster Rudd replete with ever so discrete cattle prod…the shame, the shame…vale rodent.

  8. onimod said

    I believe the other thing Rudd did yesterday is write the idiot monk out of the equation – the pressure was firmly placed on Nelson. Macklin is/was more than capable of handling the bi-partisan committee, however Rudd wrote himself in (or in his absence, of course, the deputy PM), making sure Tone gets no more air than he needs. Again, nice politics/diplomacy, with more pressure on Nelson to keep the monk under control.
    Serves Nelson right for giving Abbott a position he’s woefully inappropriate for.

  9. peterm said

    A thoughtful and acurate reflection on a momentus day.

    I tend to think you are being to kind to Nelson, but I know you are correct.

  10. Enemy Combatant said

    Ningaui at #4,

    “But then he(Nelson) did something plain awful. He talked about the drowning/rape of a four year old Indigenous girl by Indigenous men. No-one doubts that this happened. No-one supports such evil behaviour. I am even now not sure what his point was.
    Was he thinking about the little children in the crowd or watching television? Did he have a special message for them?
    Was he somehow absolving some bad behaviour by someone else by pointing to this despicable act? Was he implying that his sorry was really not so necessary because his party had done something about evil behaviour?
    I didn’t understand it then and I don’t understand it now. .”

    One hundred percent in accord with you on this one, Ningaui. My wife and I watched the History happening on telly. When Nelson started on about the abuses in far greater detail than was warrented by the occasion, we both erupted in WTF outrage. He could have covered “sexual abuse” in a sentence but he augmented into an unnecessary subplot to pacify his “makers”.
    Anyway, Nelson’s nuthin’ but a mean-spirited arsehole of a bench-warmer for Petit Mal.

    Possum, Rudd’s gesture to Nelson was that of a statesman and a leader. Very impressive.
    As Fred at #1 points out, when the they broke for morning tea, Studless transmogrified into Me-Me Nelson, attacking Rudd staffers while ignoring the bovine behavior of the seated Vic MP and the antics of Wilson “Tugger” Tuckey.

  11. Don said

    Can Rudd do nothing wrong? He seems to get better with every day. By being magnanimous with Nelson he only improved his own standing, not diminished it.

    Normally by this time the cracks would be showing, but the contrast between the rodent and Kev becomes more striking as time passes.

    The honeymoon must end sometime, but in the meantime Rudd is building a tremendous reservoir of good will.

    Good luck to the bastard. He’s the PM we should have had for the last 11 years.

  12. The Doctor said

    Rudd may just kill the Liberal Party with kindness!!

  13. paul said

    Tuckey! What a goose. Imagine attempting to appease a person like that.

    I also have to thank Tony Abbott for, on the day pointing out that Parliament is not magic. I think the logic went… sorry is not going to fix all of the problems instantaneously, so don’t be sorry?? WTF!
    Sorry Tony, for your lack of intellect and understanding.

    I think the libs are in for a nasty surprise at just how smart Rudd and Gillard are.

  14. Ronin8317 said

    Half of the Liberal Party would have preferred if Nelson utter the phrase “I didn’t do it” (made iconic by Bart Simpson) rather than issue the apology.

    There is more to the apology than absolution of ‘White guilt’. For the victims, denial of past wrong is a great insult, and saying sorry is an essential step in moving forward. While a certain segment of the population will maintain a state of denial, the national consciousness will start to recognize that you can’t blame for Aborigines for their predicament, and therefore lead us to a more perplexing question : what to do next?

    Force assimilation didn’t work, and leaving them all to themselves didn’t work either. The Labor government in the 90s tried throwing money at the problem, and that ended up only making a few guy very rich. Under John Howard’s rule the national policy is somewhat schizophrenic – they’re treated nice enough, but near election time they get bashed around. The choices facing Kevin Rudd are not simple. Statistics of infant mortality and literacy is merely the symptoms, not the cause.

    Saving the Aborigines may require their cultural genocide.

  15. nodalnodal said

    Rudds speech was historical because it changes things. It was one of those moments that you intuitively know that something great is happening as soon as the words start to hit home. Why? Because it was simple. He gave the plain facts and then the basic human reaction that any child can understand which, of course, is to say sorry. I’m not underestimating Rudds intellectual depth here but I’m beginning to understand why Howard couldn’t lay a glove on him. He’s not playing complicated political games (as a rule) he seems to be genuinely focused on solving problems from the basis of a robust moral framework which impressively, he articulated in detail when he became opposition leader.

    In my view, Rudds inclusion of Nelson yesterday, is not a stratagem but a basically uncomplicated attempt to really deal with the issue of aboriginal disadvantage. Possum, I think you have once again sensed a crucial point here. Rudds actions yesterday are unique and astonishing because he really isn’t playing the game that is expected of a politician. He’s not yet tested under fire, but at this stage it seems we are seeing the emergence of a very substantial political leader. In the last few years I was thinking we desperately need another leader with the kind of brilliance that Keating showed but could see nothing on the horizon. Rudd isn’t Keating but I thought “at least he isn’t Howard”. Yesterday showed that Rudd certainly isn’t a Keating, a Hawke, or a Whitlam, he is very different. Given the times that we are in and the challenges that we face, this difference could make all the difference.

    But then again I could just still be a little too emotional about the whole thing.

  16. Crikey Whitey said

    As I posted on Pollbluder. 13th Feb.

    ‘Brendan Nelson. His first and only chance for his finest day.

    Ruined, by his hope of gaining the support of his colleagues, in pursuit of his continued leadership of the Liberal Party, and those who vote Liberal. This is a dreadful mistake on his part. Rather than fully participating, he allowed himself to be demeaned, and therefore demeaned his own.

    A stand needed to be taken, once and for all. This catering to those who cherish views that have no credence does him no good. His party will know that he can be manipulated, that he is now a creature of their various wills.

    Brendan will need every moral fibre to participate in Kevin’s invitation, as he will be lead to the good and principled, against members of his party.

    He may as well have started with a bang. Opportunity lost. Missed it, he will find’.

    Possum, I agree with the lifeline, yet how can Nelson stand against those who would do for him? As I say, against.

    Brendan Nelson needed to, must have done, stand.

    He did not. Fatal.

  17. Mercurius said

    as one wit put it, “suddenly realised that he had chosen the wrong party”

    Cheers Possum. I think your unidentified wit was not alone in this thought, as I posted a very similar line elsewhere (although people more customarily put four letters in front of the word ‘wit’ to describe me).

    I actually think with Nelson’s speech we witnessed the beginning of the rehabilitation of the Liberal Party – and it was all made possible by Rudd!

    More importantly though, I think we witnessed the beginning of an initiative that will actually make some lasting improvements in Indigenous health.

  18. Howard C said

    Why do we need a bipartisan approach? Isn’t it okay for politicians from different sides of the aisle to disagree any more? In many areas, we actually need breadth of ideas and thought, not mindless parroting in the aims of bipartisan ship. We don’t want to be a one-party state, no matter how much you disagree with the other side. Of course, I do wonder if some people on the left actually believe in democracy and pluralism.

    If the Government believes in keeping the permit system, should the opposition slavishly agree with it in the name if bipartisanship? Why even have an opposition? I’m sure plenty of the 47.3% of the population who preferred the opposition to the government only three months ago would be aghast.

    We are actually allowed to disagree with each other in this country, whether it be over policy, religious belief, or what footy team we barrack for. It is a vital aspect of what makes this country a really good place to live. Life would be boring if every columnist in the Australian sounded like Phillip Adams. And we wouldn’t progress as a nation either. We need variety of ideas, not unthinking sheepishness.

  19. gusface said

    “We are actually allowed to disagree with each other in this country, whether it be over policy, religious belief, or what footy team we barrack for. It is a vital aspect of what makes this country a really good place to live. Life would be boring if every columnist in the Australian sounded like Phillip Adams. And we wouldn’t progress as a nation either. We need variety of ideas, not unthinking sheepishness”
    Thats why we voted out the Libs-its called democracy,your side will get their turn again-but only if they are good enough

  20. Howard C said

    I’m not criticising the government’s right to make decisions – in fact they should do more of it. I understand the decision Australians made on November 24. However, the opposition is allowed to disagree. And 19 of every 40 people agreed more with the opposition than the government on November 24.

    Here is what is happening a lot recently.

    Government announces something, opposition disagrees. “The opposition is spitting in the face of Australians” (direct quote from the Deputy Prime Minister) or “They’re just playing partisan politics”
    Government announces something, opposition agrees. “They don’t stand for anything”

    We should encourage pluralism. In the Parliament of 226 members, you will get 226 slightly or wildly different ideas of how we can solve any problem, let alone Indigenous issues. Why does the opposition have to agree with the government?

  21. josh lyman said

    Excellent post Poss, and great comments everyone.

    Nelson started so well, even though he was clearly terrified of the occasion. I thought it sounded like his speech was cobbled together from notes provided by Turnbull and Abbott – and ended up too human for Abbott but far too blatantly racist for Turnbull. I mean, blaming the victims on this of all days, c’mon!

    Rudd continues to exceed everyone’s expectations, including mine. The speech was dignified but also appropriately pointed and specific; the reaching out to Nelson (you could see how left-field this was from his reaction, after 11 years of Coalition hyper-partisanship); his other commitments to tackling homelessness that are turning out to be far more than sentimentalism…

    Michael Brissendon on 7:30 Report on Wed night reminded us all of how people called Rudd a “me too” opposition leader. Perhaps Garrett was right after all.

  22. Thomarse said

    Hmmmm just had a thought.

    The apology was genuine, but it would also help to halt the drift of Labor voters to the minor parties. Couple more big things like that maybe just no relevance to Libs, Democrats etc anymore? It would also have got a lot of small-l Liberal voters looking more kindly at the Labor Party, esp after Nelson’s dreadful speech in reply.

  23. Thomarse said

    errr meant to say no relevance of Greens etc anymore.

  24. bipartisan approach required said

    Didn’t the bringing them home report recommend a bi-partisan approach? Something to do with having a good program that seemed to work be implemented, only to be scrapped within 18months because the other mob took control of government? Supposedly a bi-partisan approach would reduce the likelihood of good programs being tipped out with the bath water…

  25. Bushfire Bill said

    Howard C., Rudd isn’t proposing bi-partisanship on every facet of every policy, or even on indigenous policy. It’s just the housing and schools policies that he is seeking bi-partisanship on.

    Bi-partisanship, in this context, means having your disagreements behind closed doors, not out in public, with all the posturing and grandstanding that goes with it. Under this kind of bi-partisanship when the deal is thrashed out both sides of politics take ownership of it. I would hope that, in this small area, Rudd would give credit where it’s due for any input from Nelson once the agreed strategies are laid out. If he does not then Nelson would be quite within his rights to withdraw support for further joint efforts and I, for one could not – and would not – complain.

    Pluralism is fine, but there are some things that can be agreed upon without going through the rigarmarole of Government versus Opposition first. Short circuiting the argey-bargey of politics as usual to come to a bi-partisan agreement in one small area was alluded to specifically by Rudd in his speech.

  26. Rod said

    Nice article Poss.

    By including Nelson and the libs in the whole process Rudd and labor have made it a truly bi-partisan motion and apology.

    The only ones able to cry out against it will be the unrepresented ex-hansonites now deprived of a voice in parliament.

    Nice of Rudd to show Nelson the ropes and how to behave like a human, give Nelson 9 years of learning at Rudds knee and he may well present somewhat challenge for Gillard in parliament when she takes over.

  27. John Greenfield said

    Now we have the next generation of public debate mired in tawdry debates over financial compensation, which of course must now be made.

  28. Possum Comitatus said

    So you were the culprit!

    I can remember seeing it somewhere during the week and it really hit the nail on the head, but for the life of me, when I went back to try to source it as a quote – do you think I could find it? I couldn’t even remember where I read it at!

    So a big thanks for such a fine quip.

  29. onimod said

    Possum, I don’t mind if you remove this link – the connection is tenuous to the thread, but I came across this article in the NY times. The article itself isn’t great, but the number and insightfulness of the comments prompted me to think that we might, as a nation, be pulling out of what might have become a fatal intellectual dive. Maybe I just hope we are, but it’s clear to me that the new administration has lifted the intellectual bar a little. Metaphorically, it feels a little like the transition from high school to university, where the bully lost his influence. I don’t wish for intellectualism to become ‘cool’, just the norm., and if Kev and co, can avoid the self commentary the last lot so over-indulged in, we might just grow a little.

  30. David Richards said

    In light of this recent criticism of The Super Hornet:

    maybe a new nickname is called for – Sahara? Dune Boy? The Windsock?

  31. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    Well the opposition are atleast sorry un some areas.

    this could only have happened with the Coalition in opposition.

    The former minister for workplace relations now saying

    And former employment minister Joe Hockey says most members of the Howard cabinet were unaware of how the original Work Choices legislation allowed workers to lose conditions without compensation.

    This is why i dont like the voting on party lines thingy, John/Kevin/Brendan says do this.


    The former ministers also say the Coalition should have signed the Kyoto Protocol years before last year’s election – although it was unclear whether they supported former environment minister Malcolm Turnbull’s failed cabinet recommendation of last year.

  32. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    And this article goes into a bit more depth. Information will also be covered on 4 corners to be screened tonight 18th Feb.

    and this where “Senior Libs” say they should have forced howard to quit.

  33. Howard C said

    I just don’t see how having no disagreements in public helps anyone. If Nelson disagrees with the Prime Minister, it is his duty to make it public: he is the Opposition Leader. Just like the Democratic Labor Party were (supposedly) not Democratic, not Labor, and not a party, if Nelson kept his misgivings to himself he would not be in Opposition, and would certainly not be leading.

    Regardless of the actual debate about any issue, the Australian people, through accepted Democratic process, elected the Rudd Government to govern. It is the Opposition’s job to monitor, scrutinise, and where it deems appropriate, criticise the program put forward by the government.

    If, in this particular policy area, the people in question, the Aboriginal people of this country, simply cannot be helped if there is any hint of dissent within parliament, then I would venture that they are beyond helping. You are allowed to disagree with someone in this country, and it is the job of the opposition to voice this disagreement publicly.

    I would venture what Rudd is doing is mere politics, which is fine, but not being called what it is. Drainers make drains, politicians make politics.

  34. fred said

    “MOST cabinet ministers in the former Howard government did not realise that workers could be worse off under Work Choices, former workplace relations minister Joe Hockey says.”
    [From AA’s first link at #32 above]
    What arrant self-serving nonsense [there is a less polite but more accurate word which I shall avoid].
    Obviously in their post election efforts to scapegoat Howard and excuse themselves and continue to avoid the real reasons for their failure, the Libs are preferring to go down the “We are stupid, ignorant and incompetent’ line rather than admit they deliberately set out to screw the workers.
    I don’t expect much honesty in the 4 Corners programme to be shown tonight, at least not from the Libs..
    Still I’ll be watching it in the hopes it will be good theatre.
    It should be amusing to see the ‘team’ in action.

  35. Mmm … Good item, Possum. Kevin Rudd might be the one keeping Dr Nelson afloat at the moment. Maybe Rudd feels he will always have Nelson’s measure, so is happy to see him stay on? Whatever, I am of the view that Nelson may not end up being the caretaker leader most of the press and commentators believe him to be. Fuller explanation here: http://tasmanianpolitics.blogspot.com/2008/02/is-brendan-nelson-really-stinker.html

  36. JP said

    While I agree with Ningaui that Nelson relating details of a case of abuse perpetrated by an Aboriginal man was shamefully inappropriate, he lost me a few minutes earlier with this gem:

    “There is no compensation fund, nor should there be. How can any sum of money replace a life deprived of knowing your family? Separation was then, and remains today, a painful but necessary part of public policy in the protection of children. Our restitution for this lies in our determination to address today’s injustices, learning from what was done and healing those who suffered.”

    Apart from the ingenuous refusal to understand the principle of compensation (which never replaces what was lost), saying that we need to learn from what was done only one sentence after saying separations were necessary just floored me. Of course separations based on child protection principles are justified, then and now. But what a dog whistle to suggest that that’s what last Wednesday was in any way about. Shame. Shame. Shame.

    What a tiny man Nelson revealed himself to be: cowardly in every dimension.

  37. Marktwain said

    I still think you were too hard on the camels, Poss.

  38. Cat said

    Decimal Nelson’s 9% in today’s poll reminded me of Billy Crystal’s Miracle Man character in the Princess Bride.
    “Will he survive?”
    “It’d take a miracle.”

    Personally though I think the poll was good news for Decimal. If 70% preferred Mr O’Seven and 21% were undecided Decimal has the chance to build to 30%. Or of course to fall off the chart entirely.

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