Friday, July 30, 2010

Get Thee to Israel!

An interesting portrait of Mark (whatever it takes) Arbib by Deborah Snow in today's Fairfax press:

First, the context: "Fast forward to the events of nearly 5 weeks ago in Canberra, when Rudd fell to Julia Gillard. Arbib, a senator and a junior minister in Rudd's government, was again at the centre of the action, rustling up numbers for the coup. His was not the only hand holding a knife, of course. Other chieftains from Labor's right - particularly Bill Shorten, David Feeney, and Don Farrell - were prime movers. And Rudd's autocratic style had left him ripe for the toppling. Nevertheless, Arbib's role in Rudd's downfall was 'pre-eminent', according to one of Arbib's mates, Senator Glenn Sterle*, from Western Australia. 'Let's make no mistake: Mark put Kevin here [as leader] in the first place, which is why to take him out was a bloody big call', the plain-spoken former truckie says. 'It's like taking your granddad out'... Asked some years ago whether he agreed with the philosophy of 'whatever it takes', the title of Graham Richardson's autobiography, Arbib replied: 'We'll do whatever it takes to win an election. Definitely'." (In Richo's footsteps, Labor's new Mr Fix-it)

Then this fascinating little anecdote: "He kept a tight rein on the state's MPs. Julia Irwin, then the member for Fowler, says he responded to a speech she gave on the rights of Palestinians by ordering her to take a trip to Israel and asking her to submit further speeches on the Middle East to him for clearance. She refused and the demands were not followed up. Arbib has denied asking her to travel to Israel."

[*Chair of the Australia-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group]


Syd Walker said...

Any idea where Arbib gets his Zionism? Is it just pure opportunism?

MERC said...

I'd love to know. I can only assume so. It looks like you can only make it in mainstream Australian politics if you're a member of the only bipartisan faction around - the Zionist faction. What aspirant would want the venom that's been directed at Julia Irwin?

Syd Walker said...

Well, at least she can look herself in the mirror without wincing. :-)

BTW, I'd be interested in views about an article I wrote recently Time for the Camel to Kick