Treasurer is more goose or a turkey than a Swan
The Sunday Telegraph
August 05, 2012 1
WAYNE Swan has sunk the ideals of the Labor Party and shown enormous disrespect, if not ignorance, of the legacy of one of Labor's more recent heroes, John Button, with his bizarre channelling of US rocker Bruce Springsteen.
Given the opportunity to make a substantial contribution to a party which its own leaders openly acknowledge lost its way under former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and has failed dismally to find it since, Swan has left it mired in the marshlands of New Jersey.
Unfortunately, he demonstrated he was as ignorant of New Jersey as he was of many other areas when he attempted to link multi-millionaire Springsteen's banal lyrics with social dysfunction in Australia. That he did so while delivering the annual John Button lecture made the comparison between the current Treasurer and acting Prime Minister's contribution to Australian politics and Button's legacy inevitable. To put it extremely mildly, Swan is no Button.
Button was a senior minister in the truly reforming Labor governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. Swan has been Treasurer under Rudd and Julia Gillard - neither of whom could be regarded as reformers - and has been at the helm as the nation's economy has gone from a healthy surplus to a record level of debt.
Button was a thinker and a doer, whose passions were (tragically) the Geelong football team, cricket and literature. He made a significant reputation as a barrister and solicitor in Victoria before he entered politics. Swan has been an academic but his life has been one of Labor Party jobs, nothing in the real world.
Swan and the Labor Party are running on empty. The only political strategy they have is a desire to wedge the Opposition and focus their attack on its leader Tony Abbott as Swan did with his Button lecture.
Curiously, he didn't mention the fact that Button was a great fan of the very same budgie smugglers that Labor now finds so repellent. He would often find time to sunbake on the roof of the Old Parliament House before the ALP decided that wearing the brief swimmers symbolised something dark and oppressive.
Swan's and Labor's cheer squad have now seized on the NDIS and the Gonski review into education as examples of the ALP's reforming agenda. In fact they are prime examples of the ALP's enormous propaganda campaign.
Putting it bluntly, Gillard's Labor-Green-independent minority government unveiled both policy programs with enormous fanfare but has singularly failed to explain how either will be permanently funded. All spin, no substance. A lot like Swan's Button address.
What was Swan on about? Every person under 30 was lost. Springsteen is not on their radar. Swan has kicked an own goal. He identified himself as being out of touch - that's the view of the thirty-somethings I know. Just like his cabinet colleague Craig Emerson did two weeks ago.
What we are seeing is a Labor karaoke club of Swan and Emerson, and what we are left wondering is which Labor luminary will next break into song or dance and entertain the masses with a muse?
Disregarding reality and distracting the Canberra cognoscenti with pseudo-intellectual nonsense designed for a morning television show audience is no way to win back a nation tired of Labor nonsense. Nonsense that has resulted in a devastating litany of failed policies from border protection to the NBN to the education revolution and pink batts, to list just a few from the depressing list of waste and national decay.
When Swan plunged back into an era which even Springsteen has eschewed in favour of huge personal wealth vast homes, expensive cars, private jets and international tax havens, he ignored the fact that New Jersey residents are statistically better off than Australians. Their per capita GDP is $53,000 while ours is $41,000, but perhaps those numbers are beyond the Treasurer's intellectual grasp.
New Jersey is regarded as a go-ahead state that has shaken off the dead hand of politicians who would not be out of place in the ALP. Button was a giant compared to the pygmies like Rudd and Swan who now infest the leadership ranks of the ALP.
Masterly chefs prepare a delicacy by stuffing a boned duck into a boned turkey. It is known as a turducken. In politics, a swan which is really more goose and turkey is called a Wayne.
Offended New Jersey says Treasurer Wayne Swan's a working-class zero
The Daily Telegraph
August 03, 2012
SPRINGSTEEN super fan Wayne Swan has been ridiculed by US politicians over remarks he made about the US state of New Jersey.
Mr Swan lit the spark that has drawn reaction from the office of the New Jersey governor and Republican senate leader when he said this week: "Don't let Australia become a Down Under version of New Jersey, where the people and the communities whose skills are no longer in demand get thrown on the scrap heap of life."
A spokesman for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said: "Give me a break. I'd like to know if he has any knowledge of New Jersey beyond what he's heard in a Bruce Springsteen song."
The state's senate Republican leader also mocked Mr Swan, saying: "Apparently the electoral 'silly season' is not a uniquely American phenomenon."
A New Jersey newspaper columnist asked: "Was this a blunder from Down Under, or maybe just someone fleeing a lifetime of Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport?"
Locals in Freehold, where Springsteen spent most of his childhood, said it had changed dramatically since the 1960s, when "The Boss" wrote songs about racial tension, guns on the street, closing manufacturing businesses and "whitewashed windows and vacant stores".
Hotel worker Carolyn McGackin, 39, said Springsteen's childhood hometown had been transformed since the 1960s with racial tolerance, a shopping mall, competitive businesses, good schools and employment.
"Freehold is a lot kinder, a lot more accepting," she said.
Mr Swan, who compared himself to Springsteen when speaking of his defence of the working class in a speech in Melbourne, has visited New Jersey, a spokesman said.
"The Treasurer will go in to bat for Daily Telegraph readers ... while [Tony] Abbott and others are going into bat for billionaires who they have promised huge tax cuts at the expense of working people," he said.