John Robertson got recently elected Leader of the NSW Labor Party. He is a former union boss who many hold responsible for the civil war which tore NSW Labor apart. Here’s what Paul Keating said to him, in a letter in 2008. Some extracts:
“Your manipulation of the union base in New South Wales, with the connivance and support of the Party President, Bernie Riordan, succeeded in destroying the political life of both men, and with them, probably the Labor Government of New South Wales itself.
“When I came to see you about the Iemma Government’s electricity privatisation proposals in April 2008, you will remember me telling you that reckless indifference by you and Bernie Riordan to the Government’s fortunes, may see the Government destroyed and for which, you and Riordan would be held accountable.
“This letter is about that accountability.” …
When I met you and went through the history of the establishment of the east coast electricity market by the Government I led in the 1990s, and why the privatisation of the NSW power stations was consistent with the benefits of that market, you never offered one serious point in rebuttal.Not one cogent economic argument to thwart the logic. You batted the argument to one side, implying it would somehow be sorted before any rupture arose.
But instead like a banshee on a rampage, you tore at the Government’s entrails until its viability was effectively compromised. …
Let me tell you, if the Labor Party’s stocks ever get so low as to require your services in its Parliamentary leadership, it will itself have no future … the people of New South Wales have their problems, but they would be way better rattling through than turning to someone like you in some hope of redemption.
It may be a novel concept for you, let me say that the conscientious business of governance can never be founded in a soul so blackened by opportunism. …
I am ashamed to share membership of the same party as you.
So that is from the former national leader to the current NSW state leader. I think it will be sometime until NSW is governed by Labor again.