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Maxine & Bennelong

Maxine McKew is a talented journalist and television interviewer. I have always found her interviewing style scrupulously fair. She has talent at drawing out views rather than launching ‘Kerry O’Brien’-style attacks. She is also an attractive person. But in terms of public policy skills Maxine has far less to offer Australia than an experienced politician like John Howard. Why on earth has she been persuaded to take him on in Bennelong? At best she positions herself for a safe seat should Howard retire – it is unlikely she will win this time around.

Peter Ruehl in today’s AFR (subscription required) describes nominating McKew for Bennelong as an (attempted) career jump ‘like going from teaching at Yale Law School to opening for Wayne Newton at Vegas’. That is far-fetched but, like Ruehl, I am unhappy about her daft career move. She is not an airhead ‘celebrity’ but she is also no political talent.

Like Peter Garrett, Maxine is a high profile candidate but she lacks even his limited political skills. She will shift house to live in Bennelong to demonstrate her ‘commitment’ (what a phoney thing this move is) but this does not change her status as a high profile gimmick not a political talent. Her nomination insults the voters in Bennelong and damages the lovely Maxine.

Why not Aunty Jack, Kath, Kim or Mr Squiggle if the ALP wants a celebrity? Why sacrifice Maxine?

3 comments to Maxine & Bennelong

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    Like the rest of conservative pundits and Howard acolytes, Harry, you too have fallen in step with damning McKew with faint praise. I am absolutely gobsmacked at the verisimilitude of the commentary coming from your side of politics. It is as if you got a script sent to you mailed in a plain envelope.

    Consider this: it may just be that the good burghers of Bennelong, sensibly enough, may instead go for a gorgeous woman of high intelligence at the prime of her intellectual powers rather than a 68-year-old man no longer at the top of his, perhaps exhibiting early signs of senility, with prolapsed intestinal fistula, severe deafness, irascibility that comes with confusion due to age, a nervous twitch and erectile disfunction. I mean, some local member, Harry.

    Howard will be in his 70s during the term and will probably retire halfway through. Indeed, if Labor wins, Howard will toss it in right away and there will be a by-election. What a waste of time and money.

    They might as well elect Maxine, who will be on the front bench and will look after their interest, rather than a Howard replacement who will be a nobody.

    Deep down you know I am right. (Like I have been on Iraq all along).

  • hc

    Sir Henry, Most of what you say I disagree with. I don’t think Howard is ‘over the hill’ yet and think he is in pretty good shape.

    My praise for Maxine is not ‘faint’ – she’s a great person but not of JWH’s calibre when it comes to politics. In terms of being attractive and having personality I think Maxine wins but that is not what this choice is about.

    Who told you about the letters?

  • conrad

    Just because you might think hard about who to vote for and the issues involved, doesn’t mean everybody (or even the majority does) does. Gimmicks work in lots of place. Clint Eastwood and Schwarznegger come to mind. Dawn Fraser in Australia does also. I’m sure there are others. Its a good political tactic.

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