Faulkner’s Complaint

It has been pointed out to me that Faulkner, who has yet to have his first alcoholic drink, and for years taught profoundly disabled children, is both depressive and lazy. And I think there is truth in both these assertions.

He could have been Minister for Education or Foreign Affairs and has chosen instead for the last twenty months to bewail the coming death of the Labor Party. In twenty similar months after the debacle of 1996 Kim Beazley won back a million votes and nineteen seats, and ended 1998 with more votes than John Howard.

It is wrong to give up the fight. It is wrong to resign the Ministry. Faulkner could have swapped with Plibersek and become Prime Minister, or this anyway is my view, and he has such low self-esteem (a commonplace among teetotallers, and I used to be one) that he never even considered it. Bob Carr has lately shown how much a talented minister can contribute. How he can turn perceptions around. Faulkner should be back in the Cabinet, doing the good work he, six years younger than Carr, still has the time and the brains and ardour to do.

But he has chosen instead the politics of whinge.

And it’s a pity.

Leave a comment ?


  1. The fight is within the party.

    His are the politics of despair.

    (Bob Carr, the Minister for ‘levitation’)

    • Agree Chris Despair in the most horrible state of mind anyone can have; if it persists then surely the man must resign, or be ‘encouraged’ to resign, any positions of authority.

  2. By the way, our Foreign Minister whom you rate so highly said yesterday “I want to levitate the Australia-Indonesia relationship above these regular transactional issues of people smuggling, live cattle exports and Australians who are charged with drug offences,” he said.

    “Our relationship with this most populous and important of our neighbours - it’s about far more, far more than those occasional irritant issues.”

    People smuggling an irritant issue?
    Like the smell of potato peelings in the bin at the Parliamentary dining room?

    Might have impressed the good people of Umbulhargo; doesn’t do much for me.

    • It is an irritant issue. Seventeen thousand Australians die of tobacco ingestion a year, fifteen thousand are dangerously injured by cars, one hundred and eighty thousand Japanese waiters arrive, and perhaps nine thousand boat people. This is four percent, at most, of the life-changing alterations to our population.

      Or O.OO5 percent of the population as a whole.

      What is the problem?

      • The problem for me is that I consider the importance of the boat people problem as far more than merely an ‘occasional irritant’.
        I believe my position is remarkably similar to your own.
        Very basic; they should be safely transported, preferably to here and processed according to the UNHCR.

        Never mind lets gift them the Navy or something.

    • Look at it this way : what are the major issues?

      Defence both of Australia and of the region;

      Trade between two of the most powerful and wealthy nations in the region;

      Resources and the orderly and sustainable use of those resources;

      Economic and cultural cooperation and the friendly relations which would assist in this exchange.

      In this context, “the activities of irregular movements of people and their facilitators for profit” - people smugglers in short - is merely an irritant in the relationship.

      • The trade is interesting dependent on what you consider the region.

        Indonesia imports and exports far, far more to Japan, China and Singapore than Australia.

    • Yes it is an irritant issue. In fact it isn’t even an issue.

      Take away our obsession with wanting to control the arrival of boats driven onward by refugee crises way beyond our shores.

      Take away our obsession with being a white enclave in an Asian region.

      Take way our antipathy towards little brown people.

      Take away the sheer mathematical ignorance required to believe 10,000 into 22,000,000 will not go.

      And what you’re left with is not Indonesia’s problem.

      It’s all just a putrefying Hansonite myth of our own creation. I for one am thoroughly sickened by it being used alternatively as political football and poisoned chalice. No wonder decent guys like Faulkner with a lot to contribute call it quits!

      • Our Girl Pearl

        Yes, but here’s the rub - we are a nation “obsessed” and while most of us can put the asylum seeker into context, the reality is that as a domestic issue it is of great political significance because it hits a nerve that’s really central to Australia’s history as a litle island nation of Anglos in an Asian region. Self-titled progressives might not see it as an issue relative to other things but that doesn’t mean it isn’t.

        Trying to tone down the issue by “quantifying” it objectively diesn’t work in quelling the myth, and myths are powerful.

        As long as the Left keeps thinking it can just explain this away as an “issue” we will not see progress in resolving this.

        • hudsongodfrey

          Hello Pearl,

          Thanks for the comment. You possibly don’t realise how much nicer it is to be accosted by your good self than bathed in negativity by others I’ve struck on this subject.

          I think some of us on the left are persuaded by facts and that indeed it may help others to know that we do indeed set limits albeit numerically higher ones than they might.

          I also agree that there is another side to the argument that I think has to be made. It is the fact that refugees are unaccountably in my view invisible in the media as human beings. We’re not looking into the eyes of our fellow man and denying him in person but instead we are imagining our fears about numbers that don’t exist and recoiling from a dehumanised group of people.

          • Our Girl Pearl

            I know we on the left are persuaded by the facts (I tend to locate myself to the left on many issues but actually don’t find it a helpful spectrum in practice), I just don’t believe that the facts are persuasive for those who quite frankly don’t want to be persuaded.

  3. Is left a word or was it never?
    Votes don’t grow on trees you know.
    The Grass is always greener.

    Zombie fucking barnacles.

    The snake that curls around the old dead tree, “Eat the apple, eat the apple”, but alas, there are many trees and the forest is a fractal for Lady Milne’s is the science that bears the fruit, not these still born disasters that spawn your scorn of despair.

    It is the height of treason.

    The koala, half drunk, stoned and staunch lashing out in the middle of the road at dusk, cursing the other koalas for stealing his leaves.

    I despair.
    All is skewed and sideways,
    The shadows cast hang,
    in time, for where will be next week but right here, RIGHT FUCKING HERE, right back at our tail where we started.

    Oh despair. The instruments!
    Impudent strumpets!
    I despair. You make it so!

    The Labor Party is DEAD!
    Long Live the Labor Party!

    These are the hollow men, The stuffed men, inverted estranged scarecrows, flapping in the winds of despair.

    Is it pity thou yearns to receive? or deliverance?
    Hallucinogenicically, primitively, plastic, palindromesque.

    The snake is running the farm, The pigs are in a new world of shit.

    All the hail the new youtube sensation of the big fat cat that speaks rather audibly, “Oh John Faulkner, oh Don Quixooooooo tey, Oh Hudson-God-Frey, nyam nyam nyam”.

    Then we will have the Faulknerism. Political debate deployed in the form of cat videos. Then you will all be happy.

    By what logic does one employ an argument that labels someone as a depressive while simultaneously producing 200 words of pure depression?

    The Proust reading bushwalking saint of a FM does not get depressed? A high court judge? What is this madness?

    My sensibilities have been insulted to the point of departure, I will not support, I will not be a part of this evolved elevated vision of astro turf. Working men and women will suffer from this incompetence, from this gross miscalculation.

    It is too much.

    Off with her head.

    Greens to bare teeth, Gnashing truth.

    • I have known depression and despair; it is truly horrible.

      If a political leader has it, and recognises that he has it, he or she should step aside and STFU until he or she re-emerges from it. I did, I know it can be done.

      • This what is is wrong with Paul Howes? He has never known depression or despair?

        He surely will, one day very soon, and I contest that it is HE who should STFU and step aside before he drags us all asunder.

  4. Bob

    it’s not clear what you’re implying by noting that JF taught profoundly disabled children. Could you clear it up please?


    • Our Girl Pearl

      I’m hoping that it’s Bob’s way of just helping is get to know John Faulkner a little bit better by sharing things about him. As a disability advocate and Labor member, I’m quite interested to know this and will follow up on it.

      I’d like to understand Bob’s attitudes to disability better. I’m not sure it is a topic which Bob finds at all comfortable, just from the few references I’ve seen here. That’s just a personal observation.

    • He did it. It was his job. For four years in his twenties.

      All clear now?

  5. Our Girl Pearl

    Despair is a very disempowerment emotion. But can you blame him? When he keeps making the case for change in order to safeguard the Party’s future and what happens? Nothing. Because he gets, in a way that few other play-makers do - that the ALP is too focussed on its parliamentary arms and has neglected itself as an organisation. Without a strong organisation behind it, Labor has no credibility. Labor claims to speak for our vulnerable, but in what basis? Just saying you represent working people and relying on the support of unions, is not enough i don’t believe. Labor claims to be the party with the best interest of our most vulnerable people - but you can’t just stake that claim. You have to go to the effort of actually engaging with those people and demonstrating that in their policies.

    People like Dastiyari and a lot of the other young up and comings want everyone to believe that they are part of the solution, but they are just part of the problem. Worse still, they surround themselves with people who think just like them and either avoid or dismiss any kind of critical reflection. They are driven by their own personal ambitions.

    I know so many people in the Labor party who will watch something happen in the orga

    • Dastiyari is the next one in the conga line that included Arbib, Obeid, Tripodi et al. Beneficiaries of what Ellis in these pages described as “ethnic numerology”. No idea of the heart, sole or history of the party. While ever these shallow men are trotted out as leaders behind the scene the party is screwed.

      I agreed with Faulkners speech in response to Howes. The party was doing better in the 1890s. The right faction of the labor party Is a contradiction in terms. They should piss off & join the moderates in the Liberal party where they belong. Or seek asylum in the American embassy next time they rush in to kiss some American arse.

      As for the Greens, I will preference them out I choose! Do the likes of SD honestly think their constituents are too dumb to fill in a ballot? Do they honestly think the true believers are going to put the Liberal party in front of the Greens? Can they be any more out of touch? Doug Cameron should take a lower house seat and challenge, its the only hope of keeping the Greens at bay. The alternative is more economic rationalism and what’s the point of voting Labor for that?

      • Our Girl Pearl

        I can think of at least a couple of young turks who if they thought they could get away with it and would be guaranteed preselection they probably would. For a lot of these folks, once you take IR off the table, well, there really isn’t much else that prevents them from joining the Libs. And I think that’s the rub. I don’t think workplace relations and the claim to represent “working people” are enough anymore to distinguish between the two, but Labor can’t make that break.

        Too many wannabe PJKs who just can’t seem to understand that there could only be one. We all know the types - full of their own self-importance, intelligent, charismatic, many of them encouraged in their own inflated egos by old patrons telling them they’re a future Labor premier or PM but pretty sparse on true leadership qualities and often very little actual expertise or experience and runs on the board of actually achieving any actual objectives. They really are a dime a dozen. They can talk polls and tactics and they can work a room of union delegates, but there’s very little substance.

        People see throughthose thpes. They aren’t really leaders. They certainly aren’t the type of people that are going to grow Labor’s membership and its integrity and it’s relevance over time.

  6. JF has servrd and continues to serve his party well. Whether he is a tee totaler or a Sussex Street drunk is not the issue.Lets hope a new reformed party of the people who can represent us is established in the not too distant future.Cheers Bob

    • Our Girl Pearl

      Hear Hear shad.

      So, being a teetotaller is now an indicator of low self-esteem? I do wonder why Bob opens with some of the things he does. Why mention Faulkner’s teetotaler status unless you’re inferring it has some relevance. ‘Teetotaller’ is rarely a label used to describe someone in Australia in positive terms, given our cultural relationship with alcohol. It’s often used to infer someone “isn’t really one of us”, or “thinks they’re better than us”.

      Keep it up JF. He’s the only senior parliamentary voice who reflects anymore on the organisation. I totally understand why he doesn’t want to be a Minister. He’s clearly frustrated with how the organisation of the Party is working and the implications this has for Government. Good for him for staying true to himself and not being a Minister if he feels he can’t do it in good faith.

  7. None of any such will change or improve until we remove the antiquated gag on state employees, so that any professional staff can inform the public of the state of affairs as they see it, devoid of spin.
    It might stop such as nurses here knowing that a certain gyno did not change his glove from public patient to public patient, therefore spreading infection and occasional death across a few hundred ks. while they were gagged from comment.
    Our schools would improve if teachers were allowed to comment. That they are not is surely bizarre? and unsatisfactory?
    Any public service department has similar stories.
    Until this changes, and experienced,concerned, professional staff are allowed to speak, nothing will change, and we are reliant on spin.

    • There is no duty more dangerous – and hated by governments – than that of a whistleblower. For all the protection claims and hand-over-the-heart claims by governments of all persuasions to want them to come forward, the exact opposite is true. We see it particularly when a major political controversy is exposed, but far worse than that is the run of the mill whistleblower. As was accurately said in a great Air Crash Investigation documentary, a whistleblower should realise that whilst vital, their exposure of wrong means that you will not only have no support, but that you will never work in the industry again.

      • Very true and impossible I fear to avoid.

        The other aspect of course is that those who see the writing on the wall and jump before being pushed may have an easier time of it having avoided persecution, but they’re stories are regarded as sour grapes and given less credit.

        There are a few exceptions but it would seem fewer than cases where the public interest is subverted.

        High hopes that Wikileaks might be a new paradigm for this seems to be mouldering in a cell with the hapless Bradley Manning.

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