Jun 212008

Reading through John Lyons’ articles in today’s Oz give’s me a feeling that all is not quite right.

That all in the halls of power may not be quite right, or maybe that the worst nits on the governmental head have been identified in a bid to paint the government, and some of it’s closest advisers, in a poor light. Let’s be realistic for a moment and recognise that these pieces appear in the nation’s leading pro-conservative media outlet, and view them in an appropriate light.

Rudd’s closest advisors are young, at least in terms of John Lyons, perhaps, at 28 years of age. At 46 years of age, Lyons himself isn’t exactly the elder statesman, or longest serving press gallery observer. Consider that Rudd, in 1989 as Wayne Goss’s right-hand man, was 31 years of age to Goss’s 37 years, is hardly any different to the ages of Rudd’s advisors today. Is age a barrier to efficiency? Is youth encouraging of hubris? Some might say so in the figure of Lachlan Harris, if what Lyons writes is to be taken at face value. That said, I think we’ve all known some arrogant arseholes in positions of power. Eventually they all come undone. I don’t really believe that one individual’s apparent chauvinistic, abrasive personality is likely to bring a government down. Neither do I believe that a Prime Minister’s press secretary ought to be the type of obsequious media puppy cringing at every demand or complaint from the media circus. 

If Rudd’s personal and managerial style differs from that of his Labor predecessors, then isn’t that a good thing? We’ve all read and heard the critics of Whitlam, Hawke, Keating, Crean and Beasley on one or more aspects of each persons style. Shouldn’t it be considered refreshing that Rudd is different? It’s clear from reports surfacing that he’s a workaholic, which is nothing new given he’s not operating a whole lot differently to when he was in opposition, nor when he was Chief of Staff to Goss in 1989. Situations, like that involving Michael L`Estrange inhabiting the corridor outside the PM’s office for hour after hour awaiting a meeting, were apparently relatively common during Rudd’s tenure in the Queensland bureaucracy. Clearly, the somewhat erratic time management style persists, but as the one person who has the ability to manipulate his time as he sees fit, surely that’s not to be unexpected given what we knew of the man before he came to power.

I see Lyon’s pieces as revealing, but hardly damning or indicative of a government in need of damage control. So a few female press corp journos feel miffed. Big deal! Perhaps a change of tactic in handling of Lachlan Harris is called for, ladies? I’m sure even a half-way astute woman in an active political or business environment is quite capable of handling a prick like Harris. If not, perhaps such individuals ought not be in those environments.

Today is the twenty-first of June, 2008. The Rudd government came to power 24 November 2007. Not quite seven months ago. Perhaps the Canberra Press Gallery needs to become a little more cognisant of the fact that a different ideology is in place now. Different personalities with different modes of operation. Twelve years of one set of rules and expectations seems to have created a rut which some journalists are having problems climbing out of. Perhaps John Lyons is one.

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