Tuesday 25th of June 2024

better than a miserable toad anyday .....

better than a miserable toad anyday .....

from alan ramsey …..

You probably read about Kim Beazley's valedictory speech two days ago. What you would not have read was how good it was. After 27 years Beazley, too, is quitting politics this election.

And if enough of his other 1,931 parliamentary speeches across those 27 years had been as candid, as forthright, as uncompromising, as well as engaging as was his 1932nd speech, Kim Christian Beazley, 58, the husband of Susie, father of Jessica, Hannah and Rachel, grandfather of Tom and Jacob, might well have persuaded the Australian people to make him the prime minister he always so dearly wanted to be.

Beazley spoke for a full half-hour. When he began, there were 45 of his Labor colleagues who had come into the House specifically to hear him, including Kevin Rudd, the bloke who had ousted him from the leadership eight months earlier. Up in the public gallery was a whole raft of Beazley family, supporters and former staffers, some unashamedly weeping. Even a number of reporters had drifted into the press gallery seats.

And the Government benches?

Only Melbourne's Andrew Robb was there, as the duty minister at the table. Behind Robb, in a great sweeping arc, the Government benches were empty. Not a soul, at the beginning.

A few minutes into the speech, Robb's Victorian Liberal colleague, Petro Georgiou, walked in and sat down. Another eight Government MPs dribbled in over the next 15 minutes. So did Sydney's Brendan Nelson, the only minister who thought Beazley warranted such a simple courtesy after 27 years in the place, 13 as a cabinet minister, including nine months in the Keating government as deputy prime minister.

You might have thought the Prime Minister could have made the effort to be there for his adversary of 27 years standing, but he did not. John Howard remains a miserable toad. The rest of the Howard ministry took their cue and also absented themselves - Robb and Nelson the exceptions. And know also that when Beazley finished speaking and sat down, and those in the public gallery got to their feet to join the applause of Beazley's Labor colleagues and most of us in the press gallery, Andrew Robb and three of the Liberal backbenchers applauded, too.

Brendan Nelson did not.

In Departure, The Glory That Was Missing