Fitzgibbon Resigns… Now what?

Not Happy Jan... er, Joel

Not Happy Jan... er, Joel

Well, looks like he pushed his luck one too many times. Joel Fitzgibbon has resigned from his position as Defense Minister over the fact he failed to declare yet another gift in the register. True to form (and really – what else could we expect), the Liberal Party is trying to capitalise on this by bringing allegations against Rudd in regards to favours he may or may not have done for a Queensland car dealer in return for a free car. Rudd is waxing indignant and has decided to rhyme his counter-accusations on the Liberals “Fear Campaign” turning into a “Smear Campaign”. As much as I might agree with him, I am curious to see what other rhymes they come up with. I’m hoping we can get enough to set next year’s federal election ads to the soundtrack of Grease.

Funnily enough, now that he is quitting, the Australia Defence Association has stated they think he is one of the best ministers they have had in decades (and given Brendan Nelson’s woeful performance in just about everything, I don’t think too many people are going to argue with them!).

Now that Joel has quit though, who is Rudd going to get to replace him? The Defense portfolio is not an easy one to master and relies on having the respect (grudging or otherwise) of the bureaucrats & military personnel making up the department. I personally cannot think of anyone, not already in a cabinet position, that can take over this role. Although we are pulling out of Iraq by the end of July, we are still committed in Afghanistan and there are many expecting Obama to request a stronger commitment there. We also only have enough trained personnel to man one of our Collins class submarines , a fact representative of our military’s unmet requirements for skilled personnel across the board (including medical personnel, engineers, & linguist shortages).

That’s about all I have to say on the matter. I’ll now turn this over to the rest of you guys for the crowing on the Right, teeth gnashing on the Left, and salsa dancing for us in the middle 🙂

Update:

Well, well – looks like the Liberals aren’t satisfied with Fitzgibbon’s resignation. Having watched Julie “Crazy Eyes” Bishop on Lateline last night it is obvious that two things have occurred:

  • Someone in Fitzgibbon’s office or department leaked the details of the issue to the Liberal party &/or the press. Julie Bishop avoided ruling that out she had been tipped off by a so-called “Judas” despite being asked directly several times. Doesn’t get Fitzgibbon off the hook at all, but it lends credence to his “someone is out to get me” tale
  • The Liberal Party wanted to make alot more out of this issue before Fitzgibbon resigned. I assume they were hoping to hound him out of office (making the story last at least a week) and instead he got the drop on them and pulled out before they could get started.

Minor Correction:

We only have the one Collins class submarine active due to personnel shortages and the fact the others are out for full dock maintenance. Given the afore mentioned shortage of engineers and maintenance personnel in the military – this leaves me wondering how well that $10 billion of taxpayer funds is being used. Could be worse, of course, we could be buying out-of-date jet fighters from a foriegn country for $6.5 billion in tax-payer funds… what do you mean we’re already doing that?

Final Update:

Well as a final update to the story – John Faulkner has been named new Defence Minister (thanks shaneinqld for the tip). A good choice I think, he has both the experience and the attention to detail needed to reform the monolith that is Australia’s Defence portfolio. Also, some more details emerge supporting my contention that the Liberals were hoping to hound him out of office (rather than him resigning immediately) – they claim to have more dirt on Fitzgibbon and plan(ned?) on revealing it little by little into the Senate.

While they’ll get some traction out of this (Joel has obviously done stuff he shouldn’t), the narrative they were trying for (Labour are all crooks) is going to be a hard sell. Fitzgibbon has quit, there is the impression (if not the reality) that Rudd pushed him, and the whole free utility truck “scandal” relied on Rudd keeping Fitzgibbon around to smear one story with the other.

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Remembering Tiananmen

Tin Tin Square

Tin Tin Square


Today is of course marks the 20 year memorial of the Tiananmen Square peoples uprising and subsequent Government clamp down.

I think what they need is some new leadership. And I’d be quite happy to take up the challenge..

UPDATE: It appears that I have a challenger….

CHINA-TIANANMEN-MAO-PORTRAIT-FIRE