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electoral mandate

When Unelected Factions become Puppeteers of Government - Ch 5

Chapter 5: Factional plotting

As 2003 drew to a close and following Carr’s ‘generational change’ reforms in his Cabinet, in December some twenty-four NSW Labor MPs comprising the Right’ rival splinter factions - the Terrigals and Trogs met for dinner. They “quietly left the Macquarie Street precinct to dine together across town” at the Southern Italian restaurant, 'al Ponte', at Harbourside, Darling Harbour.

They voiced their anger about Carr’s cabinet reshuffle, his overhaul of the ministries, the blood letting of departmental heads by Carr’s new team (Della Bosca, Knowles, Costa, Egan) and over Carr’s new policies such as his new tax on poker machines , which had attracted outrage from the influential club industry. Both Terrigal chiefs Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi had been denied a ministry. The sense of injustice over Carr’s cronyism and desire for populism fueled a desire for factional vengeance brewed for two years after Carr's March 2003 election win.

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When Unelected Factions become Puppeteers of Government - Ch 4

Chapter 4: Carr’s ‘regeneration’ sowed factional vengeance

For a populist politician, NSW Premier Bob Carr felt a personal necessity to be popular with the people and to ensure this be reflected in the media. Poor performance and public embarrassments by government departments and by his ministers reflected badly on Carr’s leadership credibility in the media and therefore with the ordinary citizen.

Carr’s personal penchant for journalism and media relations evolved into a hypersensitivity about his public image as Premier and his indirect monitoring of Sydney radio broadcaster Alan Jones is well documented. Carr’s autocratic message became clear throughout his Cabinet and right through the NSW public service - that those causing him public and media embarrassment would suffer the consequences. Carr’s autocratic management of the public service had become capricious.

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Gillard's Government should be a team made credible

Irrespective of Rudd's failings, and we should not understate his leadership in saving Australians from the demise of the GFC; no leader deserves a factional coup d'etat. The process of leadership replacement where a political party can suddenly replace a Prime Minister or a State Premier without electoral involvement is undemocratic. Political parties are elected on the merit of their leader. That merit earns an electoral mandate. If that mandate is not fulfilled, it is for the electorate to judge.

This highlights our dependence on one person to lead the nation. It is an unnecessary risk. It is the Government and specifically a Cabinet team of ministers who should be running the country, not Rudd, not a gang of four, not just Julia Gillard. Running a country is immensely complex. It is a shared responsibility and requires layers of delegation and good governance.

When Unelected Factions become Puppeteers of Government - Ch 3

Chapter 3: Carr’s policy pendulum had reached its apex

Retired Premier Neville Wran described Carr as "the very model of a modern Labor premier, an articulate and powerful public performer who identified himself with the contemporary policy issues of education and the environment." A legacy of Premier Carr was the 'most successful Olympics Games ever' and his championing the protection of the natural environment including creating some 350 new national parks.

But by 2004, basking in the Olympic glow had allowed the State to lag economically and there were systemic problems with Sydney’s trains and with the health system.

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When unelected factions become puppeteers of government - Ch 2

Chapter 2: Carr's Departure out-manoeuvred the factions
The rise to effective control of NSW Labor, by its then Centre Unity faction, emanated from the days of uncertainty and a power vacuum created when Premier Bob Carr suddenly quit mid-way through a stable NSW Labor’s third consecutive term in office.

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When unelected factions become puppeteers of government - Ch 1

Chapter 1: The Rise of NSW Labor Right.

...and with those prophetic words on 3rd December 2009, the next day New South Wales’ second puppet premier Nathan Rees bowed from the public limelight.

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