A bit like David Shearer, really

I was reading an article at The Age about Ted Baillieu and the more I read the more I thought…he is just like David Shearer.

The article starts with this cartoon:



Then you start reading…and it really does sound a lot like David Shearer. 

Ted Baillieu is a decent bloke. This is universally acknowledged. The worst personal insult Labor could hurl at him was that he is rich, the toff from Toorak. But no one could say he was arrogant, cruel, bad-tempered, a bully or ego-crazed.

He once told me a story. I thought it odd at the time and typically idiosyncratic. But it speaks to the kind of person Baillieu is. He’d found a stash of old house plans from his previous life as an architect. They were of no use to him, but he thought perhaps the house owners might like them for sentimental reasons. So he threw them in his boot and drove all over Melbourne delivering them to old clients.

His former chief-of-staff, Michael Kapel, wrote about driving with Baillieu to Kinglake one weekend after Black Saturday. Baillieu wanted to visit a man whose property was once marked proudly with an Australian flag, but now it was gone, like much on his burnt-out land. The opposition leader, who had met the man on a previous visit, had bought him a new flag.

”Baillieu, 6 foot 7 inches, came lumbering down the driveway, flag under his arm, found the owner working outside and gently handed him the flag,” remembers Kapel in a piece he wrote about his former boss. ”The man stopped and put down his shovel. He looked up at Baillieu, took a moment to understand what was happening, and then cried.”

So what happened to Ted Baillieu? How does a nice guy with a genuine desire to improve the state, a man with a great and deep love for Victoria in all its multicultural wonder, get spat out of a premiership mid-term? Is it, as Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger puts it, because ”he wasn’t really cut out for the nasty side of politics, the cut and thrust, the undermining, the backbiting”? To keep their jobs, do our leaders really need to be nasty, power-hungry, shameless self-promoters?

Yes they do. Nice guys don;t last in politics. They have to be prepared to show the ruthlessness. John Key did that at the beginning of the year, David Shearer didn’t. Key soars in the polls…Shearer not so much.

David Shearer did try, he really did, he even learned to thump the lectern and shout words but it just came across as feigned, rehearsed and insincere. Nice guys don;t last and I’m afraid David Shearer is one of those.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.