"Bill Shorten's enemies - and he made a few on his journey through the union movement... used to call him 'Showbag Bill'... Plenty of style on the outside, not much substance within." (Labor's Shorten experiment: the tale of 'Showbag Bill', Tony Wright, The Age, 14/10/13)
Two cheers for the new Labor leader, Showbag Bill. For a Labor man, Showbag's got some very interesting connections:
"Shorten might have earned his political stripes in the union movement but he is far from the stereotypical old-style Labor union man. Well educated and articulate, he has long moved in the sorts of business and social circles that raise suspicion among more ideologically driven colleagues. He was best man, for instance, to John Roskam, of the extremely conservative Institute of Public Affairs... Shorten's first wife, Debbie Beale, is the daughter of multimillionaire businessman and former Liberal MP Julian Beale. His current wife, Chloe, is the daughter of the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce. In 2006 he famously borrowed, with a single phone call, the private jet of the late billionaire Dick Pratt to fly to the Tasmanian mining town of Beaconsfield..." (Labor's Shorten experiment)
Ah yes, the very Israel-friendly Pratt connection. (Simply click on the 'Dick Pratt' label below and refresh your memory.)
Now wasn't it only recently that the Pratt family - minus Dick of course - popped up in the news?
"Former US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich is joining the Pratt family's high-powered advisory board for its $5 billion global paper, packaging and recycling empire... 'Jeff will be a great resource as we develop our tripartite strategy linking our business interests in Australia, the US and, increasingly, in Asia,' Visy Group executive chairman Anthony Pratt said." (US ambassador for Pratt advisory board, Damon Kitney, The Australian, 11/10/13)
Yes, yes, yes... but what was it that young Anthony had said to an audience of graduating students at Monash University last Thursday whilst there to receive an honorary doctorate?
"Mr Pratt told graduates that he could see a future for manufacturing where a factory would employ only a few people. 'The factory of the future will not employ 150 people, but only 3 or 4. Furthermore, it will be completely dark, because robots don't need to see'." (ibid)
How that must have cheered and comforted those about to enter a tough labour market.
Hm... maybe Showbag Bill and Pratt the Younger need to sit down together (maybe at the nearest Max Brenner outlet) and sort this jobs business out, because only a matter of days before Anthony was inspiring his student audience Bill was all fired-up with the following bright idea:
"I believe a national rehabilitation strategy must be explored to ensure that... those on the disability support pension benefit from the dignity and satisfaction of work." (From welfare to work: Bill Shorten's disability plan, Troy Bramston, The Australian, 7/10/13)
There are 824,082 disability support pensioners out there.