Iemma out

ABC Radio reports Morris Iemma has told a meeting of his faction that he will resign. He will be succeeded by Nathan Rees, who entered parliament barely 18 months ago as member for Toongabbie.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

244 comments on “Iemma out”

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  1. Yep, Costa sacked, Iemma resigned, Watkins laying into the Costa and his backers at Monday’s Caucus meeting, by-elections may abound (well, Costa in the Council, so his will be an orderly transfer…). Ree’s has been a Minister almost since he was elected (for Water & Emergency Services). He’s theorteically from the left, but is a cleanskin as far as Carr/Obied/Tripodi etc identification with the public is concerned. And they’ve brought Carmel Tebbutt back onto the front bench (Anthony Albanese’s partner).

  2. Will there be a flow on effect from this? There must be quite a few mandarins whose positions were built on patronage from the ancient regime.

  3. Couldn’t they have waited until after the WA election to have such an ugly brawl? I don’t know how much notice anyone in WA is going to take of this but it can’t help much. It does contribute to the meme that state Labor is falling apart and nees to be gotten rid of.

  4. Whoever runs in the Lakemba by-election is gunna get POUNDED. +20% swing, anybody? There’s a 34% margin there so any sane person’d say it’ll always be safe Labor, but… you never know. Labor seems to have gone to hell in a bad way over there.

  5. John Watkins would have made a great Premier, a thoroughly decent bloke!
    The loss of his talents is far more devestating for the N.S.W Government than the end of Iemma!
    Good luck to Mr Watkins in his new job with Alzeimers Australia.

    As for Mr Rees: the jury is out!

  6. Can the lawyers please hunt down some obscure legal loophole that allows fixed-term governments to be booted out before their time.


    What a joke.

  7. I wouldn’t like to be Costa’s groomsman tonight (“Marriage to the mob goes sour”). But he must have known it was coming. There’s only so much bullying people can bear before they lost their patience (or fear).

    He’ll pop up at Mac Bank soon enough – dreadful, dreadful man …

  8. Whether it was good policy or not (and it seems the majority of the population thought it wasn’t) Labor needs to rid itself of the electricity privatisation policy and leave the Libs with it. Afterall all, the Libs have only said that it shouldn’t be introduced now. Labor needs to say it will not be introduced at all.

  9. 10 MDMConnell – why? Give the new lot a chance. One way or another they will be judged in 2011 anyway. If they continue to fail they’ll be turfed out, if not then a real positive has been achieved even if they lose the next election.

  10. Lets face it, impaling Iemma was needed for Rudd. Having Iemma and Costa arrund when Rudd faces election would have been very tricky indeed.

  11. And Nathan Rees could surprise us all and do a wonderful job, but if he keeps the same old deadwood in the cabinet because they voted for him, his reign as premier will be off to a bad start.

  12. Interesting article from the Australian on who’s likely to get what (well, this was pre-Iemma going, but gives an idea of likely portfolio shuffles).,25197,24298032-12377,00.html
    Actually, Sartor in health, Kenneally in environment & Daley in the cabinet couldn’t make it any worse than it already is (although Firth has been good for DECC). Though Kenneally is my local MP and I am NOT impressed…

  13. Gary Bruce@17
    I agree re eltting them have a shot at it – Rees & Tebbutt could make a reaaly active and interesting pair. Tebbutt is a good performer, Rees is a cleanskin, and even Eddie & Joe know that some of the deadwood (themselves not included of course!) have to go – Meagher is one and Sartor needs somewhere he can do less damage.

  14. Looking at both Refshauge and Watkins departing before having a go at the top job, its hard not to think that the Carr-Tripodi group has shot themselves in the foot. They are so desperate to cling to power that they eventually sideline the talent that might renew the party in NSW. Its a mindset of “either we’re in control or we’re in opposition”. I can’t help compare this (very unfavourably) to Peter Beatty’s grooming of Anna Bligh for the leadership transition in Qld. Labor has a fair chance of relection there now.

    I think it would be a mistake to say that it is just due to the electricity privatisation. That was a symptom of the problem, which still exists. Labor needs to find a leader who will confront the rotten reality of NSW public administration.

  15. I’m reluctant to think that a swing that massive is going to happen. Even if a party is on the nose, rusted on voters in safe seats will be reluctant to defect. Furthermore, from what I’ve heard (at least as a Western Australian), Lakemba’s a classic Labor seat: working class with a strong ethnic culture.

    As for what’s proving to be a massive turnover, I’m curious as to how this is going to work out. Labor’s instability concerns me, but the Coalition’s rejection of the power sell-off was utterly political in nature. Imre Saluzinsky says that O’Farrell is taking a risk with his opposition, would you find this to be the case, New South Welshmen?

  16. It’s funny that the Right is finally giving in to the Left having the Premiership, but giving it to the new guy, not Tebbutt or Watkins (I think he would’ve been treated the same as Tebbutt if it hadn’t been his resignation that had triggered the coup).

    It’s surely a bit of an insult to Tebbutt, considering her resume, to be the deputy to Nathan Rees.

  17. Nathan Rees is taking on a poisoned chalice if ever there was one – in days of old the ALP gave that job to a woman!

    According to the SMH – Iemma was forced out because the right would not agree to his dumping Reba Meagher, Kevin Greene and others. Also, Costa has dumped on the state budget – the budget that ‘hadn’t factored in’ electrcity privatisation but obviously had.

    So, if Reba and Kevin are ministers next week, there will be ‘Why do you have ministers in your cabinet that Morrie wouldn’t have?’

    And who do they blame for a state economy and budget that is stuffed?

    It won’t be pretty.

    I wondered if Canberra helped give Morrie the shove as he had the potential to bring Rudd down all by himself in 2010.

    Socrates above is right – the factional system in NSW is so perverted when the best candidate by far – John Watkins – could not get the gig. As for Refshuage, he was pretty useless. I wonder if Michael Knight ever regrets getting out?

  18. it’s a pity the imploding did’nt happen befote Watkins resigned, he was definatly safe hands, i dont know anything about Rees but Carmel Tebbutt is a good talent and after all she’s got Albanese to turn to for advice and he’s got plenty of political smarts, this is the turmoil that had to happen.

  19. The Liberals won’t be running in Lakemba. The Coalition will probably gain two seats at the multi-by-election so will probably settle for that. They’ll win Oakeshott’s seat and I can’t see the ALP holding onto Ryde. Lakemba will probably turn into an ALP v Greens contest but, like Werriwa, it’s not the sort of place where the Greens could be a serious challenger.

  20. [it’s a pity the imploding did’nt happen befote Watkins resigned, he was definatly safe hands]

    more likely he was told he wouldn’t be getting the nod when Iemma got the can and decided to pack it in early

  21. In Lakemba which is heavily Greek, Asian and Lebanese Muslim, the only way the ALP could lose would be if they endorsed Pauline Hansen pretending to be a Zionist Turk.

  22. If an election were held tomorrow, even Carmel Tebbutt – the only person who may be able to salvage something out of the whole mess – would have to spend a lot of time defending her Marrickville backyard from the Greens.

  23. Watkins supposedly had a huge blowup in caucus last Monday with Costa, that hastened his departure! He’d had a gutful of the whole mess, now he’s got a better job offer to pursue!
    It’s a tragedy he never got to be Premier!

  24. Midlandia,
    Morris Iemma is very popular in the seat of Lakemba. There was 5.2% swing towards him last election.
    He has achieved much for an area that has traditionally been forgotten. I guess that is a perk of being Premier.
    The Liberals treat the area with contempt. It is many years since they have even bothered to hand out HTVs.

  25. Even if Labor didn’t hand out HTVs in Lakemba, they would still win handsomely.

    But informal would give them a run for their money!

  26. Typical ALP Ploy. Try to bring in fresh faces to try and hide the smell of dog turd. This is what Morris Iemma was. Almost nobody had heard of him when he became Premier.

    This may work once but the NSW electorate will not fall for it twice. Nathan Rees and Carmel Tebbutt are not new, they are part of the same hopeless, clapped out bunch of no-hopers that have been running the state for the last few years.

    A new face will not change the reality. The state is broke, in recession and has appalling infrastructure. Meanwhile the ALP is just interested in their own jobs.

    The Liberals must run in Lakemba. They will not win but a double digit swing will be fun to watch.

  27. Labor’s primary vote will take a massive hit in Lakemba but they’ll still win. Liberals wouldn’t even bother running.

    Ryde will be the key contest.

  28. An interesting day. I think Tebbutt in particular could do wonders for the Government. Will have to wait and see what portfolios she picks up.

    3- And for the record I think that Keneally is a great local member and minister and you’re the first person I’ve heard say to the contrary. Why the angst?

  29. And now we can look forward to the “glowing testimonials”, the “lustrous acknowledgements” and the “triumphal valedictories” … oh, this will be fun.

    Morris Iemma, doe-eyed monument to mediocrity?, blinky-blinky puppet leader of a failed government (administered by bullies and jellybacks)? or … misunderstood trier?

    Tears and laughter followed by regret, a contract or two and finally, we pray, complete and utter obscurity.

    He’ll pop up at St Mary’s soon enough (in a dark coat with the collar high) … piteous, piteous man …

  30. Yeah, I’m including Port Macquarie. Sure, it’s not caused by this, but it will be part of the narrative of the Coalition gaining an extra seat there.

  31. re: MDMConnell
    [Labor’s primary vote will take a massive hit in Lakemba]

    You are obviously have first hand knowledge about the electorate of Lakemba.

    Please fill everyone in on what people are saying to you in the electorate.


  32. It’s been a big year for elections

    -NT urban councils
    -Queensland councils
    -NT election
    -WA election
    -NSW councils
    -NT shire councils
    -Port Macquarie
    -ACT election
    -Vic councils

  33. A very very very sad day for NSW.

    Costa was bad but was actually on to an essential truth – NSW has an unsustainable bloated public sector. He clearly wanted to sell electricity because he could not afford the cost of the public sector.

    The NSW unions are desperate to keep their head in the sand and insist on their government ignoring this reality.

    The end point is Victoria circa 1992. Costa was actually the last chance to avoid this reality.

    The double tragedy is that the NSW Liberals appear to be in real last man standing territory. Some of the better ones have left – ie Peta Seaton and Andrew Tink and it does not seem at all clear the talent bench is going to get replenished anytime soon. One good thing that may come out of this is there will such a tsunami hit the NSW ALP in 2011 that the Liberal majority will actually give them the cojones to do what needs to be done in government.

    Woe is NSW.

  34. Ben Raue,

    Port Macquarie by-election is set for 18 Ooctober 2008 (nominations close 19/9).

    IMHO Ryde by-election won’t be held until after Epping-Chatswood railway opens. The railway is due to open later this year (I assume December). I suspect the by-election will be Feb 2009. I’m sure the ALP won’t be shy in pointing out Barry O’Farrell’s role in trying to stop this line from being built.

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