Lying Shorten Betrayed The Public As Well As His PM

AMID THE FALLOUT from the ABC’s airing of Labor’s filthy laundry — The Killing Season — has emerged a tawdry piece of duplicity by (now) Labor “leader” Bill Shorten that might damage him more than a first glance suggests; outed by a radio host in Melbourne as having lied publicly about his involvement in the overthrow of Julia Gillard, Shorten now presents as the most untrustworthy and dishonest candidate for the Prime Ministership in decades.

It’s an article of faith among the general public — often wrongly and mostly unfairly — that politicians are nothing more than rank liars; that the group of people elected to go off to Canberra (or to Spring Street, Macquarie Street, North Terrace and so forth) morph into the most unethical, dishonest, self-obsessed bunch of corrupt gutter dwellers the country boasts the dubious ability to spawn, and that elected representatives will literally say and/or do anything to anyone in the interests of self-advancement with a total and cavalier disregard for whom they might walk over in the process.

It’s an assessment I fundamentally disagree with: having spent a lot of time over the past 25 years or so in and around politics I know there are many, many good people on all sides of the political divide who find their way into public office, and whilst there are always a few bad apples in any barrel (and yes, politics has its fair share of them) the obfuscation of most MPs is limited to and dictated by quaint concepts such ministerial solidarity and other forms of official confidentiality that are actually contrived in the interests of the public benefit.

Whether people agree with those strictures is a valid matter for debate, for those so inclined.

But public esteem for politics and politicians is not helped by the kind of brazen lying opposition “leader” Bill Shorten was caught engaging in yesterday by 3AW morning anchor Neil Mitchell; the fact Shorten’s transgression related to precisely the kind of behaviour voters seem to find the most distasteful about politics — subterranean machinations and doing hatchet jobs on people, in this case former Prime Minister Julia Gillard — only compounds such perceptions, and reinforces the utter self-obsession of a specimen like Shorten, whose reputation for disloyalty and wielding the knife against his colleagues is already well entrenched and apparently well deserved.

For those who don’t know, Mitchell — who interviewed Shorten two days after the 2013 parliamentary Mid-Winter Ball, during which Shorten told Rudd in a secret side-meeting that he would knife Gillard and bring the support of those MPs’ votes he controlled to the Rudd camp — realised whilst watching the final instalment of The Killing Season on Tuesday night that Shorten had lied to him on air two days later; and yesterday, having “asked questions” of Shorten, Australians were gifted a grubby little insight into the man masquerading as a candidate for the Prime Ministership.

For background, readers may peruse articles from the Murdoch and Fairfax press, along with a separate opinion piece from Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt.

And people should watch the interview Mitchell taped with Shorten on 21 June 2013, during which — despite attempting to squirm his way out of giving iron-clad commitments around his support for Gillard — Shorten nonetheless gave explicit denials of any involvement of leadership machinations when we now know he was in it up to his neck, and in the course of which he had the nerve to berate Mitchell for persisting with trying to get to the bottom of Shorten’s agitation on Rudd’s behalf and his private commitment to stick his knife between Gillard’s shoulder blades.

Is it any wonder Liberal frontbencher Bruce Billson, seated alongside Shorten, could barely keep a knowing smirk off his face.

Shorten, at the time that interview was taped, was already battling unfavourable publicity over the fact he was instrumental in knifing Rudd three years earlier; now, of course, he was reprising his role by doing the same thing to Gillard.

Accusations of loyalty are never going to be something Shorten is burdened by.

But what this episode shows is that Shorten is apparently an individual prepared to literally say and do anything in his pursuit of his own political ambitions: he benefited from promotion after the elevation of Gillard as Prime Minister and, as history shows, he would benefit from promotion under the restored leadership of Kevin Rudd. In the absence of those undeserved promotions it is unlikely Shorten would have had any coherent case to make in seeking the Labor leadership after its thumping election defeat later that year.

When caught out by Mitchell, Shorten’s response was deeply unsatisfactory for a man purporting to present as a Prime Ministerial candidate; his apology was to Mitchell only, not to the audience of several hundred thousand Melburnians who were listening the day he lied on air — to say nothing of the wider Australian public, who were made aware of his denials through other media during the day — and came in the form of a phone call during a news bulletin when Mitchell was on a break. Shorten refused to be interviewed on air or for his apology to be broadcast.

His excuse for lying — that he didn’t want to make “a diabolical situation (ALP leadership speculation) worse” is disingenuous, fatuous, and an utter hypocrisy, for away from the 3AW microphone he had been doing precisely that, undermining his leader behind her back and garnering support for the termination of her tenure.

The idea he had been caught “on the hop” and by implication, unprepared to answer questions on Labor leadership rumblings and his role in them, means he is either an idiot, or totally oblivious to any concept of honesty in his public discourse, or (more realistically) both.

As recently as yesterday morning Shorten was holding the line that his hands were clean when they were not, remarking that it was not his job “to be the curator of the museum of Labor (sic)” in relation to questions around his involvement in matters oxygenated by The Killing Season when in fact, he was a central — even pivotal — player in them.

This column has been scathing of Shorten and utterly dismissive of any alleged merit he offers as a political leader, public figure or (God forbid) as a theoretical Prime Minister: episodes like this one, whilst perhaps innocuous viewed in isolation and from a purely clinical perspective, are becoming more frequent, and as I am fond of observing from time to time, where there is one there are usually others. This seems a truism and a self-fulfilling prophecy where summary analysis of Shorten is concerned.

Evidence that the Labor “leader” is a disloyal, treacherous, scheming, opportunistic and self-promoting charlatan — and now, unequivocally, a liar — is mounting. It is no wonder Shorten’s public approval numbers are collapsing, not that they were anything startling to begin with. As a “leader,” I think it’s fair to say Shorten is a red herring, and a fraud.

Nothing about this sordid little incident paints politics and politicians in a particularly rosy light but, happily, it makes Shorten look worst of all: and the point I most want to make this morning is that aside from betraying Gillard — like Rudd before her — Shorten has actually betrayed the men and women of Australia he expects to vote for him, demonstrating that they, like everyone else he encounters, are entirely instrumental to him.

Very soon, Shorten will front the Royal Commission into the trade union movement to answer and explain allegations that the Australian Workers’ Union — during his tenure as its Victorian and/or national chief — received substantial sums of money on numerous occasions from a raft of companies whilst striking industrial agreements with those businesses that stripped away the same workplace entitlements Labor and the unions (and Shorten) have been so viciously outspoken about the need to protect, most notably wherever any mentions of workplace reform and the Liberal Party are made in the same sentence.

To date, the explanations that have been offered from all interested quarters on these matters have been vague, inconsistent and unconvincing; the only conclusion to draw is that the companies involved were buying industrial peace and freedom from the threat of union-led industrial anarchy, and I can only remark that the monies involved might as well have been handed over in brown paper bags.

Shorten’s appearance at the Royal Commission probably represents his last opportunity to salvage his reputation and convince people he is able to be trusted as a prominent senior figure in affairs of state in Australia.

If the tawdry little episode revealed by Mitchell — which Shorten wilfully attempted to conceal — serves as any kind of indicative reference of what to expect, then good luck with that.

 

Killing Season Nothing New, But Could Bury Labor Anyway

WITH THE END of the ABC’s excellent three-part window into the machinations that shaped (and destroyed) the ALP during six years in office cones analysis, fallout, and reprisals; whilst there was nothing really new — except fresh venom — in journalist Sarah Ferguson’s brutal expose on Labor, it shows a politically and ethically bankrupt party that is unfit to govern, and whose ongoing key figures bear the blood of their own brethren on their hands.

First things first: there are a lot of people across the country who are talking about The Killing Season this morning, and — depending on their preference — some of this conversation can be tapped into from the Murdoch and Fairfax press by readers.

I suppose it’s ironic that just 24 hours after tearing into the ABC over its reprehensible Monday night episode of #QandA we’re now talking about another of its productions in fairly glowing terms; credit for this in my view can be ascribed to the journalist who drove The Killing Season as a project — Sarah Ferguson, who also deputised for Leigh Sales whilst she was on maternity leave from the 7.30 programme — and in a further delicious irony that should be lost on nobody, Ferguson is actually married to the ABC journalist who fronts the biased and puerile student-politics calibre #QandA each week, Tony Jones.

In terms of the material covered, The Killing Season presents relatively little by way of new substance; perhaps my opinion on this is formed from the perspective of someone whose consumption of news and current affairs media is voracious, incessant and largely “in the moment,” but there was very little in terms of what went on during the six tumultuous years of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government that wasn’t well-oxygenated at the time those events occurred.

In truth, this in itself speaks to an awful culture within the ALP of leaks and counter leaks, and an amateurish bent on Machiavellian machination that does not and did not play at all well in front of an incredulous and repulsed voting public.

But that said, Ferguson and her team deserve credit for welding this material together in a punchy, gripping format that simultaneously kept viewers glued to their screens, whilst adding just enough perspective after the event from key players involved to ensure that whatever else you think of the Labor governments of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, the fallout will continue to haunt and damage the ALP for as long as a significant contingent of the key people from that time remains in Parliament.

As I said at the outset, the one fresh ingredient The Killing Season had in spades was venom; to this end, the sparring between Rudd and Gillard via the interviews for the programme was predictable, as was its subtext that each in effect called the other a liar, with Rudd presenting as the tragic Shakespearean victim, and Gillard portraying herself as the hard-nosed purveyor of sorely needed common sense, and the salve for the injuries Rudd was purported to have inflicted on his party and the government it formed.

Anyone who has paid even cursory attention to Australian politics over the past decade knows well what Rudd is like: in no particular order, an imbecile, a cretin, a control-obsessed megalomaniac, and a vindictive, revenge-obsessed wrecker whenever any slight or rebuke — real, perceived and/or imagined — is inflicted upon him.

Yet incredibly, my sense is that he emerges from The Killing Season in far more robust shape than does Gillard, who — irrespective of the validity of any of her criticisms of Rudd as a leader, Prime Minister, or Parliamentary colleague — managed to come across as tricky, economical with the truth, and (it has to be said) less than entirely honest.

And for me to say so goes against the grain of what I have always thought, and opined in this column: with little time for either of them, I have always found Gillard more credible on objective assessment than the moronic Rudd. It’s hardly a choice between inspired (or inspiring) options.

Perversely, the fact Rudd manages to emerge from The Killing Season looking less bad than Gillard can probably be racked up as a victory of sorts but — like much to do with the whole tawdry period of Labor in office — it doesn’t really matter a can of beans.

These are simply the perceptions conveyed, mind; I suspect nobody except the combatants directly involved will ever know precisely who did what to whom, or whose account of those activities are more or less authentic than anyone else’s.

But in my view, the most damaging impact of this programme will be felt by those who remain in Parliament on the Labor side who were central to the events that drove The Killing Season, and it deserves to be.

In addition to driving the departure from Parliament of a generation of ALP MPs (and I am not going to pass opinion on most of them) — Crean, Ferguson, Emerson, Combet, Roxon, Smith, and Rudd and Gillard themselves, among others — Labor’s behaviour between 2007 and 2013 implicated and tarnished many of those who remain in its ranks, including some who could (or should) be regarded as its up-and-comers.

The likes of Chris Bowen and (dare I say it) Bill Shorten and others like them wear, to differing degrees, the blood of their colleagues on their hands, and bear varying levels of culpability over the childish, internecine and undignified brawls over the spoils of government in which Labor indulged itself.

To some degree, it doesn’t matter who was in the right and who wasn’t: in the eyes of the voting public, Labor was an unedifying rabble in office. Some of the key players from that period now aspire to form and run a fresh ALP government of their own.

What Labor thinks it stands to gain in this regard from the continued presence of former Treasurer Wayne Swan in Parliament — not least on account of his intention to contest his marginal Brisbane seat yet again at the next election — is anyone’s guess. But like the rest of the key coup conspirators and counter-conspirators, Swan’s already shaky political reputation has copped further significant damage from his portrayal in The Killing Season.

And as far as the Liberal Party is concerned, the one observation I would make — aside from the real prospect that this whole trip down memory lane will help disabuse wavering voters of the temptation to return to Labor — is that the heavy emphasis The Killing Season placed on Tony Abbott addressing crowds wielding placards bearing slogans such as “Ditch the Witch” and “Ju-liar — Bob Brown’s Bitch” is unlikely to adversely affect the Abbott government’s re-election prospects: these events failed to deter voters from electing it two years ago, and will fail to deter them from re-electing it.

In any case, there has never been any suggestion Abbott or the Liberals were at all responsible for producing those signs or devising the slogans they bore — even from the Labor Party — and confronted by Craig Emerson’s almost blubbering protestations over how offensive they were last night, the inevitable response of “toughen up Buttercup” is impossible not to utter.

Emerson — like so many of the Rudd-Gillard insurgents who have left Parliament — is no loss at all to either the ALP’s ranks or to the country generally. But enough of them remain, and the serving of reheated leftovers on the ABC of the government they formed, and indulgently trashed, will renew the electorate’s reservations about Labor’s suitability to govern for the foreseeable future.

In short, the Labor Party as it now stands is a mess; there is good reason to believe, having watched it for almost 12 years in opposition, that it had already sunk to the levels of narcissism The Killing Season highlighted well before it reclaimed government.

Equally, and taking into account its portrayal of the continuing ALP personnel from the Rudd-Gillard years, there is no evidence to support a judgement that the party has learnt a bloody thing. In fact, its present antics under current “leader” Shorten suggest the party is in the worst shape it has ever been in, the presence of illusory minor polling leads notwithstanding.

Ferguson and her team are to be congratulated on a tight, powerful presentation that takes neither sides nor prisoners: and Sarah Ferguson’s growing reputation as one of the best political journalists in Australia — especially at the ABC — deserves to rise that little bit further on the back of this effort.

In fact, with #QandA plagued by entirely justified accusations of bias and simpering sycophancy toward the Left, hers might just be the impartial hand, devoid of fear nor favour, the ABC should consider as a replacement for her husband if he proves intransigent to the idea of his left wing propaganda sessions being overhauled and/or abolished.

Yet the biggest takeout from all of this concerns Shorten: and as I warned after last week’s episode, voters would be rightly advised to heed the notice The Killing Season has provided them in relation to the Labor “leader’s” honesty, authenticity, and trustworthiness (or the distinct lack of all three).

If Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard are and were fatally flawed, fundamentally unsuited to the Prime Ministership, then Bill Shorten is even more so; this series will have done nothing to advance his spurious claims upon that office, showing him up as the treacherous grub and nihilistic opportunist he really is.

And that — with a potential federal election looming — can only be regarded as a very good thing.

 

Killing Season: Voters Should Heed Warning On Treacherous Shorten

WITH TELL-ALL ABC expose The Killing Season rolling e’er onward last night, viewers were treated to character assessments of Bill Shorten, from his own colleagues, that suggest a deeply ingrained sense of treachery and self-obsession; The Killing Season reheats a tale of grimy backroom machinations and ruthlessness that reflects poorly on its participants in the unions and the ALP. But if his colleagues couldn’t trust Shorten, neither should voters.

I am on the run again this morning, so this post will be fairly succinct; we still haven’t discussed the issue of paying people smugglers to return boatloads of asylum seekers to Indonesia, although with the emergence of revelations yesterday that Labor did it in office as well, the mindless attack on the issue by “leader” Bill Shorten irrevocably loses most of its political potency. I still think some kind of rationale for the practice must be offered, although I readily accept the government’s reticence to detail operational matters relating to “stopping the boats.” We’ll keep an eye on all of this and come back to it.

But I wanted to quickly posit on the second (and penultimate) of the ABC’s dirt-dishing account of the Labor leadership wars between 2007 and 2013, The Killing Season, which screened last night; it does remain my intention to more fully comment on this extraordinary production in sum once it has concluded, but what it has served up to viewers to date is astonishing.

That Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard quickly became adversaries after Labor’s return to office in 2007 ought to surprise nobody; in the run-up to the defeat of the Howard government, neither of them could be accused of lacking ambition, and those of us who had had anything at all to do with Rudd in Queensland (which, once removed, I certainly had prior to my move south in 1998) were well aware the guy was an obsessive megalomaniac who refused to brook any dissent.

About the kindest thing I have heard uttered publicly to describe him — by those who also knew what he was like — was former Labor leader’s abrupt put-down in an email to Rudd during the former’s tenure in Parliament which opened with “Hey, knucklehead:” it isn’t the worst thing Rudd has ever been called, of course, but it was succinct. And accurate.

I was sick the day Labor won the 2007 election, but a few days later an old confidant from Queensland called me to discuss the lay of the land. “How long do you think it will take for the (leadership) fun and games to start?” he asked me. My associate gave it six months; I said I’d give it twelve. Both of us shortchanged the ALP in hindsight as it turned out, but for a fight to break out over the prize assets of electoral victory as soon as it did over the ALP was unprecedented and, as was the case with Rudd and his faults, it didn’t really surprise anyone who knew what the beast was truly like.

Politics is no game for those who think everything should proceed on deep principles of honesty and loyalty and fidelity to one’s word; of course, in an ideal world this would be so, but in practice things — for better or for worse — simply don’t work that way.

Even so, the indecent boasting on all sides that The Killing Season has thus far elicited in relation to plotting and scheming and treachery touches new levels of brutality for even Australian politics or by the Labor Party’s notoriously robust standards.

I don’t think anyone would be particularly wise to bet the house on the authenticity of the accounts presented by either side; when it comes to the fracas between Rudd and Gillard, it is impossible for both to be as lily-white as they claim but to listen to them both last night — again — I found it impossible to doubt the validity of either of their stories.

What did come as no real surprise, however, was a warning (repeated in both the Fairfax and Murdoch titles this morning) to Julia Gillard from her ally, Sussex Street backroom boy and NSW Labor powerbroker Mark Arbib, not to promote Bill Shorten.

(Update, 12 noon: reports are circulating on Twitter this afternoon that Arbib is denying ever warning Gillard, directly or indirectly, that Shorten couldn’t be trusted, or making the claim as bout him directly. We’ll keep an eye on this).

Shorten, whose name most had never heard before he milked the rescue of two gold miners at Beaconsfield in Tasmania in 2006 for all it was worth in personal publicity, was spoken of as a future Labor leader (and Prime Minister) virtually from the day he entered Parliament in the Rudd landslide in 2007, although how widespread that particular sentiment was is — being kind to Shorten — at best debatable.

Yet if Rudd was a creature of vaulting, tasteless, off-putting ambition, Shorten was even more so, and as recent events and the proceedings of the Royal Commission into the unions tend to support, the sense that Shorten would say and do literally anything in the interests of his own advancement is impossible to dispense with.

Readers and political observers will recall his “leadership” ticket, featuring current deputy (and perhaps knife-wielding replacement) Tanya Plibersek, for no better reason than the trumpeted tokenism that he could “boast” a female deputy and his opponent, Anthony Albanese, couldn’t.

Or his tasteless posturing and brown-nosing to minority communities at the expense of the majority in a brazen stunt designed to help him secure the Labor leadership: little, of course, has been heard from Shorten about any of these communities since he triumphed over Albanese 18 months ago.

Or, to use a more recent illustration, Shorten’s willingness to mount economic “arguments” that advance his own ambitions and interests, but which if ever realised would inflict shattering damage on Australia, is not a marker of an individual whose politics could be described as remotely principled, responsible, or even decent.

In this vein it is little wonder that people who knew him were able to comprehensively warn Gillard off either trusting Shorten and/or rewarding him with promotion.

Yet Gillard ignored this advice to her peril, with the inevitable consequence that just as Rudd ended up sporting Shorten’s blade between his shoulders, so too did Gillard once the offending implement had been retrieved and the blood polished off.

Bill Shorten now holds the dubious distinction of being the only major party “leader” to have knifed two incumbent Prime Ministers from his own side of the fence and emerge at the top of the greasy pole; that he has done so is no cause for admiration or acclaim, but for alarm and extreme wariness.

After all, if Shorten’s own colleagues can ‘t trust him as far as they can throw him — and ample evidence already exists that the man himself will say and do literally anything in the furtherance of his own petty delusions — then how can the voting public ever trust him with the welfare, prosperity and astute management of the country?

Like Gillard, voters have been warned about Shorten, and they don’t need to wonder whether the warning is fair dinkum: both Rudd and Gillard were knifed by the Labor “leader” at the very earliest opportunity he could engineer. The thought of what he might be capable of if — God forbid — ever elected Prime Minister is truly horrifying.

 

 

A Note On ABC TV’s “The Killing Season”

WHILST LAST NIGHT’S episode of the ABC’s docudrama The Killing Season was entertaining, this column will hold its fire for now in terms of analysis; there is plenty happening in the political world at present, and The Red And The Blue feels comment would best be made after more of the three-part series has gone to air. In any case, an equipment malfunction has limited the scope for publishing content this morning.

It really is a quick note from me this morning: thanks to a spill involving strong black coffee and my computer keyboard, fully 90 minutes of the two hours I set aside today to publish an article has been wasted whilst finding — and installing — a solution; clearly, the ancient leftover keyboard from “two computers ago” is now working admirably, but the point is that I have to get on with other things in my day.

However, I did (as I flagged) watch the first instalment of the ABC’s The Killing Season last night; I found it highly entertaining, both as a record of recent history and in terms of its scope to detonate nuclear-level trouble within the ALP (and obviously, from my perspective, the Labor Party ripping into itself is only ever a good thing).

But I sense — given the series will, in its entirety, apparently chronicle the six years the ALP spent in office — that the really “meaty bits” in terms of the internecine Labor leadership wars is at least next week away; to be sure, there was some very bad language from former MP and union identity Greg “Fuck This” Combet that elicited a bit of a giggle, and quite some quantity of the “he said, she said” flinging of accusations between the Rudd and Gillard camps that can only intensify as the series progresses.

And already, Labor’s much-trumpeted handling of its response to the Global Financial Crisis has been portrayed in a fairly dim light.

But I think it would be best to wait, at least until next week, before making definitive calls on the material The Killing Season covers, and had my keyboard incident not occurred this morning, I would still have been attaching a note to this effect to the commencement of a different article I had resolved upon to write instead.

There is a lot happening that I want to talk about, and of course how much of it we get to before the passage of events sweeps the discussion in other directions remains to be seen; the state of two new-ish Labor state governments in Queensland and Victoria raises an eyebrow, to say the least, as does the increasingly fraught standoff in the South China Sea between the USA and China, making warnings voiced in this column some time ago (that were dismissed as sensationalist alarmism by some) seem not so silly now.

And of course, there is plenty going on in Canberra, and I want to get to some of that too.

But for now, other work in the course of a “normal” day beckons: and whilst it will now be mid-evening at least before I publish again, I will be back to the column this evening at some point.

 

Bill Shorten, Killing Seasons, And A Dead Man Walking

BILL SHORTEN’S “LEADERSHIP” of the ALP is under harsh and deserved scrutiny just 18 months after it started, and seems unlikely to last the year; already buffeted by revelations from the Royal Commission into the union movement Shorten once cut such a swagger through, the ABC is set to tip a bucket of Labor’s filthy laundry — and his own handiwork — over “Contortin’ Shorten” as it rips the scab off the Rudd-Gillard feud in a tell-all tonight.

A relatively brief post from me this morning, and for once not just on account of my seemingly permanent time-challenged status; I know there has been a lot of interest over the weekend in the so-called tell-all the ABC is set to air tonight about the dysfunctional government Labor formed between 2007 and 2013, when it progressively abandoned any pretence on the competent governance of Australia and focused instead on tearing at itself over a rivalry that made the Howard-Peacock ructions in the Liberal Party three decades ago look like a pantomime by comparison.

I used the phrase “dead man walking” in an article in this column 18 months ago to describe Shorten — we’ll come back to that — but having realised some readers had looked for it over the weekend and reread it myself this morning, some of its content seems remarkably prescient with the benefit of hindsight.

What they were looking for, of course, was the excellent column by Rowan Dean carried in the Murdoch press yesterday, that essentially argued the same point from a different approach, and whatever one’s normal predilection is in terms of the Left-Right divide, it is getting hard even for those on the Left to defend Shorten: so variable is his grounding in “principle” and so vacuous is his pretension to in fact “lead” in the real sense of the word, “Contortin’ Shorten’s” one-man march to the Prime Ministership looks in serious danger of being derailed.

I intend to post again later tonight, once the ABC has aired the first of three episodes of its dirt doco on the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government, The Killing Season, for in Labor’s struggle with itself during six years of tepid and incompetent government Shorten’s fingerprints were all over every treacherous contortion and every excruciating outburst of infighting.

Indeed, Shorten carries the dubious honour of having “knifed” consecutive Prime Ministers within his own party in less than three years on a template that included fulsome and solemn guarantees of loyalty to the replacement in each case; it’s a record that makes even the treacherous Billy McMahon, in the Liberal Party of the late 1960s and 1970s, appear positively pristine.

But for now, I share again the article I published on 4 February last year — Skewered: Why Bill Shorten Is A Dead Man Walking — which zeroed in on the Royal Commission into the union movement that was then getting underway, and which opined that by the time it was all finished, so too would be Shorten’s career as a Labor MP and “leadership” figure.

Significantly, it pointed to the penchant at the time for key Labor and union figures — including Shorten and another detested target of this column in ACTU chief Ged Kearney — to yell as loudly and as widely as they could that there was no need for a Royal Commission: everything should have been “left to the Police,” and I said at the time this was apparently a formula to look as if they were committed to cleaning up the union movement by arguing any investigation into it be left to under-resourced, undermanned, time-starved state-based Police services which by their nature were incapable of mounting the sort of integrated national operation such an investigation required.

Certainly, without the powers of a Royal Commission, such an investigation would have been hobbled in its ability to dig below the surface or to compel the testimony of people like Shorten at all.

With the kind of revelations beginning to come out of the Heydon commission (which just today seem set to claim the scalp of an AWU hack in the Victorian government) it’s clear that no Police investigation could have gotten as far – which was precisely the reason Shorten, Kearney, and the rest of their self-obsessed mates wanted one in the first place.

The Heydon Commission, of course, is set to ripen a bit further before the extent of its damage to the ALP and to Shorten is fully evident.

But tonight, we (presumably) get to see the ALP in all its ugly glory: tearing at itself, putting personal enmities and vindictiveness ahead of its responsibilities to the country, and with the knife-wielding Shorten well and truly in the thick of it, it’s hard to see how the ABC’s programme can do anything other than compound the death roll trajectory his “leadership” now appears fixed on.

Enjoy the day. I will post again late this evening.