Spotted Dick

HIS taxi-owning dad might say that his boy has the résumé to be the next cab off the rank and he’d be right. But Cameron Dick is an oddly under-touted man in Queensland politics. Yes, his embrace of Rex Connor hackery as Treasurer has been deplorable and his status as number three behind the wide-eyed void that is Deputy Premier Steven Miles is demeaning. These, however, are downsides to being a member of the smallish right faction in caucus. Mr Dick’s Shorten-Chalmers response to the Premier’s vacation in Naples may or may not have advanced his cause. The reason he revealed that he didn’t even know she was leaving the country is because he wants us to realise that cabinet is out to lunch and sede vacante prevails. That was a tactical sledge. So was his 579-word report on how Labor can defy polls and still win the next election – despite a Californian crime wave, optics trumping metrics, crises in health and education, left-wing ‘treaty’ extremism and his foolish war on the mining sector. By selling himself as a thinking man – over against the dimness of Mr Miles’s bulb – he was taking a leaf out of his federal equivalent’s book. Only a single leaf; the latter’s essay on a nicer capitalism in The Monthly early this year ran to 6000 words. The important thing is Mr Dick picked up an abandoned standard and was noticed doing so.

She has my full support.”
– He doesn’t know where she is but he supports wherever it is she is

Son of a butcher-cum-entrepreneur, the Treasurer was educated at the Anglican Church Grammar School – regarded as Brisbane’s poshest academy for boys and one of the wealthiest in Australia. After taking law, commerce and arts degrees at St Lucia, he was articled at a legal firm founded by former Labor Premier Wayne Goss and later read for a master’s degree at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Privilege in the modern ALP is no longer a rarity but the contrast between the Dick biography and that of his most famous predecessor, Ted Theodore, is instructively stark. Now the party of south-eastern elites – an electoral advantage whose effect on political antennae is nevertheless ruinous – Labor gives favours and funding to its constituency (mostly public servants) and jingoistic Bjelke-Petersenism to everyone living north of Bald Hills.

This was the model that Annastacia Palaszczuk saw as fail-safe. The more cruel she was during the pandemic, the more popular she became. No wonder she developed red carpet airs and no wonder they aged so badly post-covid. She did win three elections in a row but not even hagiographer Paul Williams writing at The Conversation today can name any real achievements – apart from being a “Labor legend.” As for the Treasurer, when he was in his 20s Mr Dick joined Australian Volunteers Abroad, eventually serving as the acting Attorney-General of Tuvalu. Maybe he was inspired by the Peace Corp ethos of a US President he admires. The arc of idealism is rarely consistent but nothing destroys nobility quite like triteness in pursuit of power. If you start at the service of the needy and end up defending their exclusion from hospitals, it’s time to move on.

This entry was posted in History, State politics. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Spotted Dick

  1. Lee says:

    She did win three elections in a row but not even hagiographer Paul Williams writing at The Conversation today can name any real achievements – apart from being a “Labor legend.”

    A legend in her dreams.

  2. Cassie of Sydney says:

    Superb C.L.

    In the twilight decades of the Romanov dynasty, many senior Romanovs would flee Russia to roam through France and Italy, they were particularly partial to the sundrenched Amalfi Coast and the French Riviera, anything to escape the political, social and economic misery and turmoil of mother Russia. Meanwhile, back in St Petersburg everything was crumbling away.

    Last night I saw footage of Palaszczuk and her paramour in Italy, roaming about on the sundrenched Amalfi Coast, and I was reminded of those twilight days of the Romanovs. Meanwhile, back in Brisbane everything is crumbling away.

  3. Alfonso says:

    Amusing themes here: analogies of dull, mean and narrow Queensland Catholicism with ancient empires and classical outcomes. Brisbane is the HQ of banality. Where rugby is the peak of subtlety. A place of grubby politics and money grubbing.

  4. Lee says:

    Apparently the unions in Queensland are refusing to endorse Pluckachook for 2024.

    Hopefully the old hag gets her comeuppance next election.

  5. John Brumble says:

    Look. If you don’t understand QLD, don’t try to pretend you do. ACGS “poshest”? Ffs. Not even in the top 3. Four, maybe; on a good day.

  6. C.L. says:

    I understand it very well. But do you, John?

    The five richest schools in Queensland are:

    • Brisbane Grammar School, Brisbane
    Anglican Church Grammar School, East Brisbane
    • St Peters Lutheran College, Indooroopilly
    • King’s Christian College, Reedy Creek
    • Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Brisbane

    Churchie has one of the highest incomes via endowments and donations from alumni in the entire country. The notion that it isn’t posh – and isn’t regarded as posh – is ridiculous.

  7. C.L. says:

    Last night I saw footage of Palaszczuk and her paramour in Italy, roaming about on the sundrenched Amalfi Coast, and I was reminded of those twilight days of the Romanovs. Meanwhile, back in Brisbane everything is crumbling away.

    She’s smart enough to have known that this trip would trigger repercussions. In my opinion, she wants to leave undefeated and this is how she’s doing it. Additionally, she mentioned health problems. She has had ‘women’s issue’ difficulties throughout her life – which may have been involved in two broken marriages and one failed de facto relationship. I think she’s ready for a different life with the good doctor. I see a mix of political calculation, pride and relational factors coming to a head here.

  8. Entropy says:

    Churchie is the top brisbane boy’s school.

    I will say this for Cameron, over the years he has been willing for a chat when you run into him in the street. Landing the second safest Labor seat after Palaszczuk’s, a gift of his then QALP president brother Milton no doubt, who is now in his pre-retirement job in the Australian senate. A fun fact is Cameron used to be the chief of staff for Ag Minister Henry Palaszczuk.

    Another fun fact: Cameron’s electorate of Woodridge was held for the first 23 years of its existence by one Bill d’Arcy, who had to resign after being caught and convicted of being a rock spider. The ALP machine installed Mike Kaiser but he only lasted a year before he was caught egregiously branch stacking ( Don’t feel bad, after a few years on gardening leave while that ruckus went through the courts Krudd gave him a cushy exec job at the NBN and a few jobs later he is chief of staff for one Premier Palaszczuk). Despite it being an extraordinarily safe seat, after those episodes no one stood for preselection, so d’Arcy’s long suffering front desk lady Desley Scott stood in and was duly elected. Desley, a lovely lady was one of the surviving ALP Tarago dwellers when Newman was elected, which meant she then had to be opposition spokesmen for a few portfolios. She gave the game away rather than run again, and that allowed Mr Dick to step in.
    It’s a small world in Qld politics.

    Given the right is a minority in Cabinet, I was surprised at Cameron’s little opus aimed at little else but undercutting his factional colleague Palaszczuk. As a member of the right, he has no chance of being Premier I would have thought, as the left reckon it is its turn at the prize. Unless it is to keep his portfolio after the coup of course.

  9. NFA says:

    Labor without “U”.

    Out with the old ‘ancien regime’ and in with the new.

    Good communists one and all!

  10. John Brumble says:

    Poshest. “Brisbane’s Poshest”.

    Even your own list above has it at #2, and that’s largely based on endowments from up to 50 and more years ago.

  11. Entropy says:

    I reckon CL is right, John. Not that it really matters.

    Anyway, I am re reading the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin stories. The favourite desserts of the RN crews are Plum Duff, Boiled Baby and Jack’s favourite, Spotted Dick.

  12. C.L. says:

    John, you started by claiming it didn’t rank in the top three.
    Now you acknowledge it’s number 2.
    In the early 2000s, the AFR reported it was the second-richest school in Australia.

    I said it was “regarded” as the poshest boys’ school.

    “Poshest” being an obviously subjective term.

    Do you have any thoughts on the subject of the post?

  13. Morsie says:

    Labor in a nutshell.Her position is said to be dependant on one union official.

  14. Christine says:

    A great column.

    Grammar may have an edge, but not in the “posh” stakes; Churchie is considered number one.
    When the travelling Premier quits, she’ll be hoping the ‘partner’ stays around, as this is an entirely different kettle of ‘girlfriend’ for the good doctor/businessman.

    “the wide-eyed void that is the Deputy Premier” – still smiling at that.
    I’ve shown it around. Yes, everyone laughs; but Queensland voted for ‘Stacia/Miles.

  15. Shy Ted says:

    There are no Qld Labour politicians of any merit whatsoever. They are just sophisticated thieves beholden to the people who really run the state, the unions.

  16. Alfonso says:

    I run into a lot of interesting Queenslanders. Many smart people came from there and found great success somewhere else. Sadly it’s not a place any sensible person would want to be for their adult life.

  17. Petros says:

    Ted Theodore teamed up with a young Frank Packer.

  18. Rockdoctor says:

    Some of us long term Queensland residents are here due to weather, lifestyle and work Alfonso.

    I have spent most of my adult life above the Tropic of Capricorn and currently live as crow flies about 500km north of it at almost 19 deg S. Winters here are very mild compared to Victoria and the summer humidity you get used to. Lifestyle is very laid back and I live in a very much blue collar city so there is little pretentiousness. The only irritants are being at the end of the line for everything especially infrastructure and the aboriginal crime that is out of control. The former we expect but the latter could be fixed overnight by a sustained and withering crackdown.

    As for C.L.’s article, given the choice of alternative premiers shudder, that cupboard is definitely bare. I can’t believe she won 3 elections, the COVID yes but show’s how bereft of talent the opposition is up this way.

  19. Lee says:

    I can’t believe she won 3 elections …

    I can’t believe she won one; like Dan Andrews, a loathsome person utterly lacking in empathy.

  20. Old Lefty says:

    I’ll say one good thing for Cameron’s brother Milton, now speaker of the House of Representatives. When that leftist nonentity Sue Lines opened her term as Senate president by proposing to get rid of prayers, Milton (a churchgoing Anglican) told her he wasn’t having any of it.

  21. A reader says:

    Not often Paul Murray gets it right but he nailed him when he named Cameron “Dick by name and nature.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *