Barry O’Farrell resigns as NSW premier

So there we have it.

After 7 years as leader of the opposition waiting for his tilt at the top job, Barry O’Farrell lasted three years as premier. Forced to resign for misleading the Independent Commission Against Corruption because he obviously did receive a $3,000 bottle of wine as a ‘gift’ after all.

This is not what usually happens. In politics there are no lies, there is just being economical with the truth. Politicians usually spout so much waffle and fluff their comments can be cut down to one word without loss of meaning. Consequently a host of dodgy doings and ‘mistakes’ can be erased, buried or simply forgotten.

So why did he resign? Many a politician of every hue has survived much worse.

Clearly it is not about the wine. Or even that he claimed not to have received it. It is about a system that is the epitome of not what but who you know.

We all walk around blinkered thinking that the world is meritorious. We believe that the best athletes play professional sport for our team, the best singers are the ones we download, the best minds are employed to engineer better lifestyles for us, and that the best organisers run our commerce.

We also believe that we elect the best politicians to sit in parliament and make the laws that we live by — yes, believe it or not, politicians are elected to make the laws that we are expected to live by. Not only that, but we believe they do the right thing in selecting the help they need to run things.

Well they don’t.

Barry resigned because he stuffed up. And presumably because he is an honest sort of bloke, felt that the stuff up was irretrievable. Except that by resigning he also took the spotlight off the truth of the matter. The political system is about who and not what you know. People get the job and companies get the tender because they are known. And sometimes to get known you need to send out expensive bottles of wine. It is the way of things. It is not necessarily corrupt but it always comes close.

The premier resigned because he nearly exposed the system for what it is and always has been… dodgy.




I can’t get this image out of my head.

A road in the outback and a young aboriginal kid in western clothes bashes the long grass on the verge with a big stick. He is trying, along with his mates, to flush a goanna all under the watchful eye of an elder. The hunted creature remains hidden and may or may not have avoided the blows.

The elder has his own stick, a baseball bat in metallic blue. After a fruitless search he calls time and the hunting party climb back into a late model land cruiser station wagon.

The sound bite captured by the media crew before the elder drives away is that this country is sacred to his people and should not be exploited for shale gas.

I know it is unholy to drawn attention to the truth of this scene. An ancient culture lost but still pretending to exist whilst embracing with both arms the trappings of a new one. I am afraid that even with a few baseball batted visits to the bush those youngsters will not have a feel for country. They will know mobile phones, internet porn, Call of Duty and soggy chips.

This is sad. The generations of indigenous kids that went before had a wholesome life that was connected to the earth. The kids that climbed into the air-conditioned land cruiser will live longer than their ancestors but maybe not with the same wellbeing.

It’s just that whilst fracking probably will contaminate groundwater, clutter the landscape with drilling rigs and mess up all the local roads with traffic, resource use is a requirement for a western lifestyle. We cannot fly, drive and cavort around with technology trappings by chasing goannas. We have to exploit natural capital and subsidize our own energies from external sources. And that is a truth.

Of course it would be nice to do this with the least externalities and with care to restore any damage that is done. But let us at least acknowledge the truth that we cannot make mobile phones with a goanna.

Nor can everyone who owns a car go out and hit one with a stick.