THE WAYS of Labor politicians really are a mystery. There is Mark Arbib, sitting pretty and looking very secure. Julia Gillard, the golem he helped install in The Lodge, has just put down Kevin Rudd's challenge and, at least for the moment, there is the prospect of relative tranquility. Even better, as Minister for Sports -- a very comfy portfolio, one would imagine -- Arbib has tickets and reservations in hand for London and the upcoming Olympics' fun and games.
Yet yesterday, at the ripe age of 40, he throws it all in and quits, offering no better explanation than a desire to spend more time with his family. What gives? Eventually, the rest of the quality press may follow Kate McClymont's lead and take a hard look at the web of connections and intrigue which has been Arbib's turf since his days in nappies, when his first words may well have been "sweetheart deals".
In the meantime, as the quality press rejoices in clear air, energetic blogger Kangaroo Court is wondering if a certain police investigation of Craig Thomson and the HSU cesspit might have prompted Arbib's decision to spend more time with nippers on knee. Kangaroo Court makes the following observations:
1. Mark Arbib has been living in Canberra with Alexandra Williamson, the daughter of the HSU President Michael Williamson, who is being investigated by the police. Ms Williamson is a staffer in the office of the Prime Minister Julia Gillard. I have to wonder why she has not resigned or why Gillard has not gotten rid of her, maybe Mr Arbib has had something to do with that?
2. Mark Arbib helped negotiate the NSW ALP paying for Craig Thomson’s legal bill.
3. Mark Arbib has some serious questions to answer in relation to the unit he bought in Maroubra. It is very strange indeed. Like what price did he pay and was he given a discount?
4. If Craig did steal from the HSU (which everyone in the country knows he did), could the legal fees paid by the NSW ALP be seen as an attempt to conceal a crime? Definitely worth a close look by the police.
5. We all know that FWA has been deliberately delaying their investigation into Craig Thomson. Given that it is ex-union officials at FWA doing the investigation, has Mark Arbib used his union contacts to help delay the investigation on behalf of his mates Craig Thomson and Michael Williamson?
Good questions. Wouldn't it be nice if McClymont's sleuthing were to be boosted by the inquiries of fellow senior reporters?