Thursday, June 15, 2006

POLITICS: Pru Goward & The Religious Right

Pru Goward has put her hat into the ring for the NSW State seat of Epping. Pru is regarded as one of the most talented women on the (relatively) conservative side of politics. She is currently Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, and has used her role to generate debate on key economic and social issues.

You may not agree with a lot of what Pru says. I certainly don’t. But there is no doubt that she has a brain. And a very good one.

There are plenty of other Coalition MP’s with no shortage of brains and lots of life-experience outside of Parliament. Peter Debnam has impressive academic qualifications and credentials. He was a university medallist at Macquarie University. There are plenty of other MP’s with impressive credentials.

Then there are the mediocre Liberals. On the conservative side, we see the dominant faction ruled by an MLC who is regarded by his former factional allies to have entered Parliament after the Carr government legislated his personal injury and workers compensation law career out of existence.

The conservative youth wing of the party is filled to the brim with mediocrity. The staffers especially are people with little going for them. If John Howard got run over by a bus and the Coalition lost power federally, these guys (women are rarely welcome) would become … shall we say … consultants to Centrelink.

The political talent pool within the neo-conservative Liberals forces is very small. Which explains why they find intelligent and sensible people like Pru Goward such a threat.

Can you imagine Pru going head-to-head with Alex Hawke on paid maternity leave? Can you imagine her demolishing David Clarke on abortion? Pru could do it with one hand tied behind her back.

Rarely do we see the NSW Religious Right (“RR”) neo-Cons putting up sensible mainstream candidates. Instead, they put up ideological candidates with allegedly the correct views on all the right issues but not much idea about anything else.

Who on the RR neo-Con side has any credentials on tax? Or on economic management? Or on media policy? And we know that the RR is dominated by people whose idea of sound policy is digging up old editions of News Weekly and extracting choice paragraphs from Bob Santamaria’s editorials.

It will be a huge tragedy for the people of Epping, the NSW Libs and Peter Debnam if Pru doesn’t get up. Even John Howard is backing her, notwithstanding disagreeing with her on just about every social policy issue under the sun.

Still, if the NSW Liberals are too busy handing out anti-Di Vinci Code pamphlets at the cinema, Pru can always go federal. I like Bill, but I know for a fact that Pru Goward would make a much better senator than Mr Heffernan!