Dubbo, central NSW, 23 January 2013
I condemn Julia Gillard's action of steamrolling Ms Nova Peris-Kneebone into the Northern Territory Senate seat. There are a number of major flaws in this approach.
PM Gillard is committing a number of major wrongs by saying that she is the captain of the Labor party and she can pick the team she wants. Not even in sporting circles does the captain have veto rights over who is selected to play. Sure, the captain has rights to argue for their preferred choice, but the club selectors have authority to override the captain's choice. It is very clear that Julia Gillard does not know how to play in a team. So much for her and Labor's criticism of Kevin Rudd and Gough Whitlam not being team players.
In terms of party politics, we only need to go back a couple of decades and remind ourselves of the political thuggery and perceptions that took place within the Liberal and Labor party ranks when they were transporting personally preferred choices of politicians into secure Labor and Liberal seats, thereby taking away the right of the local constituency to choose their own candidate. When we talk about the democratic process it is clear that both sides of the political spectrum pervert the process in favour of manipulation to suit their own political agendas.
What former PM Malcolm Fraser said in his most recent interview with the ABC regarding the choice of political candidates rings true in this case, that is, most politicians who sit in parliament today are unable to show any major achievements in changing the social, political and economic dynamics of our communities. The majority of the politicians currently sitting in the parliament lack credibility because they do not have proven track records for social change. They have neither worked in community-based organizations, nor participated in initiating reformation, reconstruction or other radical initiatives to improve the state of our communities. Most of the current politicians have worked their way up through the ranks by being research staff, secretarial staff, or advisers to the politicians, where they consequentially gain favour.
In the case of Ms Nova Peris-Kneebone, I do not have confidence in her ability to stand up for and fight the hard fight that is coming our way. It is sad, from my perspective, that Ms Peris-Kneebone is only being used as a public relations exercise for Labor. After all, what role has Ms Nova Peris-Kneebone played in fighting the hard political fights that we are currently involved in? Ms Nova Peris-Kneebone has not been involved in major political processes, rallies or otherwise. She has been missing in political action all the time.
The question that has to be asked of Ms Nova Peris-Kneebone is, if she is going to be involved in politics at this level, is she going to be a Julia Gillard puppet with little to no power or opinion, but instead, fall in line with Julia Gillard's personal and political ambitions? The other horror will be that Ms Nova Peris-Kneebone will be put up and used as a show pony for the Labor party at an international level.
I appeal to Ms Nova Peris-Kneebone to rethink this offer so as to ensure that she is not a puppet of Julia Gillard's Labor party, otherwise we need her to come out and simply say that just because she is Aboriginal she is not our voice. She is the voice of the Labor party and their policies. She cannot argue that she has an Aboriginal mandate to speak for what our people want. Politics is a harsh world and if you choose to step into the kitchen you must expect the heat that will come.