So, you wanna be a NSW premier?

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for enrolling the the premier training course for NSW premiers to be. Past alumni have included Bob Carr, John Fahey, Nick Greiner, and Neville Wran. Morris Iemma is a current graduate whereas Barry O’Farrell is scheduled to do the course once David Clarke approves.

To further proceed with your application, please answer the following multiple choice question regarding cabinet appointments:

You have just won an election and are prepared to be humble. It is time to name the new and there is one position to fill. A particular faction has put forward a perennial backbencher for promotion on the basis of deal done elsewhere. Do you:

(a) Bravely ignore the factional jousting and appoint the best person to the job?

(b) Investigate the factional appointee to be sure there are no skeletons before even considering their merit?


(c) Ignore the scuttlebutt regarding allegations of domestic violence that has been around Macquarie Street for years concerning this particular MP and appoint him blindly in a case of factional appeasement even knowing that he had an affair with the wife of another new minister and once consorted with a known criminal(though cleared of any wrongdoing) thus causing a scandal that will involve the police?

Answers over the fold.

If you answered:

(a) Theoretically the correct choice but a nightmare in reality.

(b) Good political manoeuvring and could head off any controversies apart from claims of factional appeasement.

(c) You must be Morris Iemma.

Tagged with:
Posted in State/Territory Elections
11 comments on “So, you wanna be a NSW premier?
  1. Lang Mack says:

    Can I come back to you, this is a trick question and my ethics aren’t around at the moment..

  2. Morris says:


    “Hang on……….I need a lifeline.”

    ((rummages around))

    “Aaaah, found it!”

    Ring! Ring!

    “Hello, Mark Arbib’s office”

    “Can I speak to Mark, it’s Morris.”

    “Hiya Mo, wassup?”

    “Can you answer the question above?”

    “Sure Mo, it’s easy.”

    “The answer is D.”

    “Mark there is no D.”

    “Sure there is.”


    “Far off into the misty future.”

    “Ok, look, I give it up, I’m running out of time Shaun wants an answer quick.”

    “Settle down. You ready?”


    “D – Look! Barry O’Farrell in Speedos!”

  3. Fiasco da Gama says:

    Be fair, Shaun.
    Labor Caucuses for a hundred and ten years or more have kept to the pattern that Caucus determines the makeup of the Ministry, while the Premier/Opposition Leader allocates individual portfolios. The tradition’s especially important in New South Wales, where there’s still (just) living memory of the disastrous personality cult of Jack Lang.
    If you’re shitty with the idea of Paul Gibson being pushed forward as frontbench material, first, join the queue, and second, don’t blame the Premier’s office, blame the Centre Unity (aka NSW Right) faction who put him forward above other worthier right-wing candidates.
    Besides, if Iemma really were in a position to pull off either (a) or (b) I’m sure you’d be sticking it up him for being Presidentialist and concentrating power in the Governor Mussolini Towers.

  4. Bernice says:

    Well I think Morris has pulled a swifty actually – Gibson’s been a boil on a backbenchers bum for years & Carr could keep ignoring him as his debt to the spread of factions was less than Morris’s. But me thinks Morris happily offered Gibson up, knowing the bloke is a turd, knowing there’d be a kerfuffle, knowing he’d be off the frontbench before his boil like qualities had time to get used to the softer cushions, knowing that the faction supporting Gibson could not argue or fight for his retention in the face of his less than pleasant personal habits being so exposed. i would have thought a more important question is why the hell the party pre-selects these bastards, & keeps letting them stand when it’s obvious they’re not fine upstanding law-abiding citizens? You know like that nice Santoro bloke from Queensland….

  5. Kieran says:

    why the hell the party pre-selects these bastards, & keeps letting them stand when it’s obvious they’re not fine upstanding law-abiding citizens?

    Because they stacked the pre-selection in extremely dubious circumstances, running a campaign against a member based on their gender. Because their dubious relationship with the Hotel’s Association continues to bring in record levels of money?

    Bec at the Dead Roo has written an absolutely fantastic profile of Gibson that detail these and other claims.

  6. Shaun says:

    Bernice, you may have the best explanation for this. Has Iemma shown the best way to get rid of factional dills? It is four years to the next election so what does he have to lose?

  7. Amanda says:

    Good riddance indeed, Keiran. Good profile (the one in the SMH this weekend was pretty chilling too) A wee point: he played first grade rugby league, not rugby.

  8. If you’re shitty with the idea of Paul Gibson being pushed forward as frontbench material … don’t blame the Premier’s office, blame the Centre Unity (aka NSW Right) faction who put him forward above other worthier right-wing candidates.

    Centre Unity had the good sense not to nominate Gibson at any point over the past fifteen years. After Richo threatened to go him at the time, Gibson should have been quietly eased out at some point over 1991-95. You’ll recall that NSW Labor was making merry with corruption scandals in the State Liberal Government at this time: if one of them had decided to go after Gibson (mote in thy brother’s eye, and all that), Labor’s fortunes in the 1995 election may have been different. Gibson was chair of the Staysafe Committee: if one journo had compared the risks of not wearing a seatbelt with being Gibson’s girlfriend, this whole ministry business need not have arisen.

    All that stuff about increasing the proportion of women MPs is a sad joke in the face of the persistence of Gibson, especially when you consider that Cherie Burton, Barbara Perry and Carmel Tebbutt have had to make way for this clown. Think about how many women in Gibson’s electorate have suffered domestic violence over the past fifteen years. Anyone working in ALP and State Government circles on domestic violence initiatives has just been made to look like a prat, their whole aims, aspirations and careers a waste of time.

    Phil Koperberg should have refused to serve in a ministry with Gibson, rather than looking like some love-triangle loser. We see now how Labor treats talented recruits they’ve been working on for decades: Maxine McKew and Greg Combet and anyone else being duchessed for a role in politics under Labor’s broad banner, take careful note.

    Don’t blame the Premier’s office, my arse! Sorry Morry doesn’t want to get rid of factional dills – he is one.

  9. Amanda: it is pathetic for a man in his fifties to be trumpeting the fact that while he has nothing much to commend him over two decades in public life, and quite a bit can be said against him, the fact that he may have played a bit of sport in his twenties is neither here nor there.

  10. Hmmm – I think you might like to consider Chou En Chan as a possible alternative to that one, Number One Son.

  11. Fiasco da Gama says:

    Harpo, let me first say that if you think the Premier is in a political position to dictate terms to Caucus about who should and who should not be a Minister, you have no idea about the history of Labor representation in Australian Parliaments. The supremacy of Caucus over individual leaders, and the principle that Parliamentary Leaders should be as far as possible firsts amongst equals, was one of the critical issues fought over in Labor conferences early on in the century, and it’s historically one of the most important organisational differences between Parliamentary Labor and anti-Labor Parties.
    I mean, it’s still a sore point that members of the Cabinet pull out the ‘Cabinet solidarity’ principle when they vote against previously Caucused positions, and it was only relatively recently that NSW Upper House members were conceded votes in Caucus against the furious objections of representationists.
    Apart from that matter of history, I think we’re all pretty much broadly in agreement about Gibson.

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