Home' Ausmarine : January 2011 Contents The election of the Federal Government is now well and truly
over, but the ramifications will haunt us for years to come.
Everyone is treading gingerly, apprehensive about "not rocking
the boat" in case it triggers a re-election. There is no doubt in my
mind, the 2010 election will go into the annals of history as being
disastrous for Labor. Former heavyweight Graham Richardson
described the recent election campaign as the worst in living
memory. The dark side is the emergence of the Greens -- terrifying
indeed. Those fringe-dwellers of our society, with their outrageous
"ideals" and so-called reforms, gaining more traction from the
unthinking punters in Struggle Street, will force Australia to its
knees and put us back into the Dark Ages. God willing, the Greens'
spot in power will be short-lived and Bob Brown and his ilk will
fall by the wayside, like yesterday's discarded newspapers.
Premier John Brumby of Victoria said, and I quote, "The Greens
won't last long and it is wrong to presume they will increase their
political influence". The problem is, in the meantime they will
create a lot of problems and mischief.
I pray to God that Premier John Brumby is right. Even the
Catholics in Victoria are becoming more active, preaching to their
congregations not to vote for the Greens. Even I, being a Catholic,
would go back to church on such advice. However, I don't agree
that it was all Rudd's fault. Yes, he stuffed up. Yes, he lost touch
with the real world; yes, he did not consult with anybody; and,
yes, he did have to be replaced, but he was not the only one who
made mistakes. Since the election I have spoken to quite a number
of Labor party members to find out what went wrong and let me
tell you quite a few different scenarios seem to come to the fore.
I am not here to break confidentiality and have never
professed to being a political analyst, but I know, with certainty,
some of the answers as to why the Labor Government lost so
many votes, not only on the east coast of Australia, but
Australia-wide. The village idiot could see it and hindsight is a
wonderful thing, but facts are facts.
The execution of Kevin Rudd had to happen and was the
correct thing to do because he had lost touch, was acting like an
emperor and made important decisions without consulting.
Certainly, it was not a good way to achieve support and
cooperation. I know some of the people involved in the "coupe de
grâce" and they did the right thing, except they didn't do the job
properly and forgot to demote some ministers to the back bench.
At the time of the election I was travelling on the east coast of
Australia on a number of speaking engagements and I had the
opportunity to consult with fishermen, processors, other members
of the seafood industry, recreational fishermen and the general
public and the accusations never stopped. The then Environment
Minister, Peter Garrett, has a lot to answer for and many believe
should not hold a ministerial portfolio at all. He cost Labor the
absolute majority and chance to govern in its own right without
interference from the Greens.
Garrett and his mate Bob Brown from Tasmania should be
tagged the seafood industry's public enemies numbers one and
two, and we should in the future, never forget that. For the life of
me, I can't understand why Garrett is still a minister, while so
many other members are wasted on the back benches. It shows
that Labor is still looking after its failed ministers. In Garrett's
case, he should have been thrown out. One simply can't justify
all the mistakes he made.
The biggest problem with Garrett is that he can't acknowledge
his mistakes and that makes him dangerous. Two of his many
mistakes, the "Pink Batts" debacle and his underhanded
non-consultative approach to the tuna quota cuts, with the loss of
hundreds of jobs up and down the coast of Australia, should not
be forgotten. Garrett cost the Australian tuna industry many
millions of dollars in exports by not consulting, treating our
industry with contempt and disrespect. He has caused nothing
but hardship, financial stress and uncertainty to many families
around the coast of Australia, not to mention the additional stress
caused by marine parks. This is how he treats a sector which is
moving from strength to strength, becoming more robust by the
minute, with one of the toughest management systems in the
world and with an absolutely sustainable future. At the time of
writing -- November 22, 2010 -- our tuna spotters reported an
abundance of fish in the Great Australian Bight, the earliest
sightings of tuna patches ever.
Yes, it is one thing being a good singer, entertainer or minister,
however Garrett failed miserably in all three, in my opinion. He is
an accident waiting to happen; his lunatic past should have been a
warning signal for us not to trust him. [Remember who got him into
Parliament! -- Ed]
Garrett was the driving force behind Australia's tuna quota cut
by 24 percent without consulting anybody and we became the
laughing stock of the rest of the world, just to satisfy his
egotistical, vacant, verdant mind. He did not care what it cost
industry financially or how much hardship he created.
Thank God that Garrett is no longer in charge of any meaningful
department. The sooner he disappears into the dust bin of history,
the better off the Labor Government will be. As I said previously,
"an accident prone loser."
However, we still have the Greens to contend with. They will
not hesitate (like Garrett) to crucify you and your family with their
false and wayward dogmatic environmental opinions.
But with all this doom and gloom, a small ray of sunshine.
The Hon. Dr Mike Kelly MP, Parliamentary Secretary for
Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry and Federal member for
Eden-Monaro. I fished from Eden for many years and know the
area well. Dr Kelly, coming from that electorate, no doubt knows
what fishing is all about.
My first encounter with Dr Kelly took place in the Australian
Fisheries Academy in Adelaide, and, I must say, I could not have
been more impressed. I had heard previously some good reports
from other sectors about Dr Kelly but meeting him personally and
taking time to find out his thinking gave me a glimpse of
optimism. If I can describe him with one word it is "Top-Notch".
He knows our business and seems to care. But even more, he
seems to listen (that in itself is a rare trait for some politicians) to
the difficulties our industry is facing, created by none other than
the likes of Garrett.
One thing I am sure of, when the time draws near, we should
show our support and throw our resources behind the likes of the
Hon. Mike Kelly, regardless where we live in Australia, as he
understands the seafood business.
Another power man behind the scenes is Senator Don Farrell
from South Australia. Coming from the Union movement, he is
the "godfather" of the South Australian Labour Party. I was more
than a little wary of him but many of my friends in the party told
me what a wonderful guy he was. The Hon. Don Farrell is another
person with the potential to make a huge difference for us. Don
Farrell is a leader for the future, meeting him and evaluating what
he says tells me to save faith. With such potential in the offering,
why is it that Federal Labor still tolerates losers like Peter Garrett.
The Garrett fiasco
A column of personal opinion by one of Australia's leading
fishing industry entrepreneurs. Hagen Stehr AO of Port Lincoln.
January 2011 AUSMARINE
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