10 April 2015
His way, now on his way
He's a country bloke but he seems a good honest, well intentioned country bloke. I went to the launch of Tony Windsor's book, Windsor's way. He wrote with assistance. He admitted he'd only written one speech and that was in 1981. Yet he was farewelled with someone imploring "we need more people like you" and "I beg you to stand [again]". He's respected for his independent stance. He respected Julia Gillard: "I have nothing but respect for her" noting he never saw her angry, just crying once the day before she lost office. He obviously has little respect for Rudd and feels for Gillard who suffered Rudd as "the second opposition leader [with] a third in Murdoch". "Abbott is a child of the Howard years ... but doesn't have the capacity". He criticises Gillard Labor for a failure to market its policy successes, but it was also saddled with leaks, a hostile press and Abbott as a "brilliant" opposition. He has much time for Greg Combet: "one of the smartest people in the building" who "did some extraordinary work on climate change packages". He worries that citizens are losing involvement: "the last thing we want is people more disillusioned" because "the world is run by those who turn up". The NFF is "absolutely useless", the "Nationals will fade" and the "major parties are making the Greens look good". He's obviously concerned about the big issues, not least climate change and the scare campaign that destroyed the Gillard response. The truth of the carbon tax is "the absolute opposite of the scare campaign". An example was a meat processing company that's become far more efficient with concern for effluent ponds and methane: so efficient that it now has a competitive advantage (Australia will rue Abbott's ignorance when we realise we've taken a dumb and inefficient path: think renewables with negligible input costs vs coal with stuff to be dug up and transported). "The world will just murder us, still trying to sell coal" (So, so, so true). But Labor created its own problems. "Kevin Rudd created Abbott" by attacking Turnbull relentlessly. He talked of the need for Gonski and the value of the NBN, the "17 days of the decision-making process" (Gillard or Abbott or election in 2010). Apparently Rob Oakeshott designed the decision process and recorded it in detail. As we've heard, Abbott "begged for the [PM] position a number of times" saying he'd do "virtually anything" but Bronwyn Bishop said later that commitments would likely not be kept before a return to election in 5 months. Finally, TW offered support for a Parliament where the Executive didn't have control, ie, a hung parliament empowering backbenchers (both government and opposition) as well as the Senate. I can only say all strength to a more consultative, consensus, negotiated government. It was interesting to hear TW in the flesh. He's a farmer, seemingly honest and committed; not an intellectual but a parliamentarian we can respect and value. More strength to him and his like.
Tony Windsor launched his book, Windsor's way, at Paperchain.