I was just watching some vintage Paul Keating in full rhetorical flight the other day as I was recuperating and contemplating the ramifications of Wayne Swan's Banking Package, released in early December. Which seems eons ago when you've been to Hell and back, as I have been since then. And it occurred to me, the electorate expected a Paul Keating-like 'Bang!', but instead it came with Wayne Swan's customary polite political whimper. Very Oz-like, as in Wizard of Oz-like.
Especially the bit where the Wizard tries to convince Dorothy from the (Kansas) Suburbs that he really means it when he lets out all manner of exhortations from behind his facade, painstakingly constructed so that people couldn't easily see the meek and mild-mannered guy behind it.
Same thing with Wayne Swan and his Banking Package. There he was for weeks before it was released, thumping the tub and making as much loud noise as his tiny body could muster. He would scare the pants off those porculent Bankers (I'm mainly thinking Mike Smith from ANZ, here). Then, by the time he's finished, they'll all sit down obediently and behave like he wants them to. The Banking Package won't even need to be so cataclysmic with the sorts of changes to be imposed as to rock any boats therefore, and Wayne could then retire to Brisbane for Xmas and New Year, job well done.
Except for one small matter! The Australian electorate has been spoilt of late when it came to Treasurers. Sublimely at the peak of his powers as Treasurer was the Master of Vaudeville Switch-Flicking, Paul 'Ramrod' Keating. What a hard act to follow. What a class act.
So, the electorate expected this:
but instead they got this:
Not to mention the fact, and as I say so often, when it is appropriate I will do it, that the Coalition threw onto the stage a pretty handy performer as Treasurer, when they were elected in 1996. One, Peter Costello. We may have loathed his H.R.Nicholls-esque ideological tendencies, but he was as interesting to watch in Question Time, in his own uniquely gormless way, as was Keating.
And then there was Wayne. See what I mean? He could re-write Basel III for the global financial system single-handedly, and the Australian electorate would go 'Meh.' Which is sort of what happened, actually, with the Rudd government's response to the GFC. 'World's Best Practice', and 'Best In Show', by popular acclaim, globally and locally. Yet still I get the feeling that that equates to a collective shrug of the shoulders from the electorate. I'm sure, thusly, Wayne Swan spends his downtime wondering, “Why don't they love me too? What more could I do?”
Well, put simply, Wayne, get a Funny Bone transplant. Sadly, it appears that that's what the punters are crying out for. Some more 'Wicked Wit' to go with their KFC Wicked Wings, as they chow down in front of the 6 PM News each night.
It's not going to happen, though. 'Fiscal rectitude' is Wayne Swan's motto, as opposed to 'Flamboyant Rhetoric'. Such that that is the only reason I can think of for the electorate preferring the $11 Billion Black Holey Roller Joe Hockey,