More mucky Oz politics muddies wine tax and murks the water in our biggest irrigated grapeyards
by PHILIP WHITE 15 Sep 15
While the Australian wine industry is never particularly polished in its politics, we saw one sad encapsulation of its beggarly state in the midst of yesterday's treachery in the national capital.
The Abbott feathers were still wafting about the party room as the gubmnt members filed out. It was worth enduring that wild and bloody day just to watch the faces of those with big wine connections or past lives in the liquor lobby: Senators Ruston, Birmingham and Edwards, as they slunk back into the public view. All sheepish: having just watched a summary execution at very close quarters, they looked bleached. Alone. The Heath-Robinson set-up they'd engineered to exert influence over the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, was in the bucket with their king's head.
And Barnaby's, too, for all they knew.
The conservative alliance of Liberal and National Parties was in tatters. The Liberal Party itself was ripped apart. Like the temple curtain. Rent asunder.
Somehow, the wine industry had got itself mentioned in Question Time, back when Tony Abbott was still Prime Minister, just after lunch. Keith Todd or Helen Burge or somebody'd obviously got into his ear about selling wine to China and he remembered to mention Burge Wines while he pushed the China trade agreement, and within a few minutes Malcolm Turnbull was following him down to his office with that look on his face. The march of the blue ties.
By the time you read this, who knows? There may be a different tie on a new Minister of Agriculture, with a new alliance of pulleys and levers already evolving to manipulate whoever that'll be. Tie aside, don't hold your breath waiting for a change of anything other than face in the short-to-medium term at least.
The wine industry has never been a bigger mess: regardless of their ornate sophistry on the outside, all its clumsy internal manoeuvrings for influence suddenly went out with Abbott.