|Issue No 81||08 December 2000|
Pyne-ing for the Limelight
Perpetual Young Liberal Christopher Pyne is a high achiever. And after his performance as chief of John Howard's witch-hunt on political rorts his wracked up another milestone. He's become our Tool of the Week!
"In a town of ambitious people there is no-one more ambitious than Pyne. In his mind, he has a hot date with destiny," one of our Canberra sources told us this week.
Pyne is the righteous dweeb with the very neat, short cropped curly brown hair and a voice that bears more than a passing resemblance to Mr Humphries from 'Are You Being Served'. He's been popping up on the news all week looking very concerned about alleged Labor rorts.
(As an aside, we're told the whole committee bears a spooky similarity to the old Grace Bros sit-com, with another member - Senator Jeannie Ferris, getting particularly excited about the voting rights of a pussy.).
But I digress, back to the Tool of the Week. Pyne's the new Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters - currently conducting public hearings over the 'Integrity of the Electoral Rolls'. The inquiry was established by the PM in a bid to link the allegations coming out of Queensland to Canberra.
But the question of integrity is now shining on the pedantic Croweater who this week refused to consider allegations against fellow Lib Jackie Kelly who's accused of turning her home into the Hotel California of itinerant conservatives.
When these allegations, along with those against his South Australian mentor Robert Hill were raised in Federal Parliament, Pyne decided public scrutiny of electoral rolls might not be such a good idea after all.
When members of his committee suggested Kelly and Hill should receive the same treatment meted out to Labor figures, who Pyne has been pursuing so vigorously, Pyne used his casting vote to ensure there would be no inquiry into their behaviour.
Pyne's behaviour exposes the inquiry he is chairing as the farce it is. This is politics pure and simple; an attempt by the PM to extract maximum political capital through his tax-payer funded kangaroo court.
It's hardly surprising that one as ambitious as Pyne would be happy to smear a bit of the 'doo-doo' around his chops. A quick look at his web-site 'Pyne-Online' confirms that there are a no depths to which he'd refuse to stoop.
Start with an Australian flag sailing through his name, move to the links to JFK speeches, wallow through Christopher's maiden speech and you'll walk away convinced, as we are, that in Pyne's mind he is already a great statesman.
Which makes his current grubby behaviour all the more Tool-ish. If there's a lesson for the kiddies at home it's this: blind ambition can lead one down some dangerous paths. It's the same lesson some of the younger members of the Queensland ALP are learning at the moment. Let's hope our Tool of the Week, the young, righteous Christopher does not suffer the same hubris. He's on a narrow path.
Interview: Back to Work
After a stretch of unemployment following the 1996 election, former Keating Minister Robert Tickner is now helping others find work.
Media: Reality Check
Aiden White, head of the international journalists' union, argues that online journalism presents a new set of challenges for organising.
Economics: In the Same Boat
In an unprecedented move, a coalition of industry, community and trade union groups have joined forces to address long-trerm unemployment.
International: Nepalese Hotel Workers Ask for Support
Hotel workers in the small Himalayan nation of Nepal have finally decided to vent their anger and call a general strike for Monday - over a 21 year old dispute.
Unions: Speaking in Tongues
Labor Council's Mark Morey outlines the successful campaign by local government workers for a community language allowance.
History: Fighting Words
The anti-conscription campaign of 1914-18 tore the ALP apart; but this was not the first time the labour movement took a militantly anti-war stance.
Politics: A New Socialism
In an extract from his new book, political economist Frank Stilwell argues the need for a new radicalism to counter the Third Way
Satire: Roy Slaven on the Rampage
John Doyle's history of the ABC stretches back to a 1958 evening in Lithgow on which he was "scared shitless" by Blackboard on Mr Squiggle.
Review: Mauled in the Bear Pit
Vengeance may be sweet but it is always made better when you are able to write a book about yourself that also provides the opportunity to dump a bucket load on those who undertook your removal.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005