21st December 2002


Simon Crean is the leader of the Federal Opposition in the Australian house of Representatives.  Like John Howard, the leader of the government, his stature is diminutive.  That is where the similarity ends.  John's public persona is that of an "Aussie Battler", that of Simon is "An arrogant smartarse".

This is becoming increasingly obvious to colleagues in the party, (if the tone of Saturday's press is in fact a truthful indication of what actually happens behind party doors.)

So what you need, Simon, is

  1. a new image doctor,
  2. learn to avoid those telling little wisecracks, and
  3. to come up with an issue that Johnny can't easily steal or avoid.
1. As an image doctor, John Singleton is not the man.  Don't get me wrong.  He is a genuine genius at what he does, which is not image doctoring.  You need creative talent for a total makeover.  You might try Kylie.  Failing that, try Clinton. (He is a long shot.  He is not busy at the moment, and he is probably the best in the world.) Otherwise try to hire someone from Buckingham palace.

2. You have a cutesy ability to turn a phrase.  Trouble is, you are so smug about the ability, that the impact gets lost.

3. As for an issue that John Howard can't steal, well there are two that would be goers.  The first is a directly elected president, the second is direct government (legislation).

Of course, I don't think you will be able to get either issue up & running.  Because the truth is, we Australians don't really have two party government, do we?  There are power brokers who have long ago purchased both major parties, and who are comfortable with what exists.  They do not want an unpredictable, untouchable individual to hold presidential power.  Nor do they want the uncertainty of public opinion creating legislation that might interfere with their rule.

Still, I suspect that if you could get it before the public, either of those issues would be a winner.

(Oh, that little problem of how to get rid of the president, how to prorogue parliament?  Try the US method of impeachment, & fixed term elections.)