Tony Windsor’s riposte to John Howard’s allegation that he betrayed his voters by supporting a Labor government relates some of the rich political history of the country seat. There’s more, so today we republish two fascinating pieces by Webdiarist Craig Rowley, part one after the 2004 election and part two prior to 2007 election. At that time the Howard Government was fingered for regional grants rorts, and Tony Windsor told Parliament that National Party leader John Anderson and a NP Senator had offered him a bribe to leave politics.
One irony in Tony Abbott’s ‘trust‘ mantra is that Gillard’s government has been clean and Howard’s government was sometimes dirty.
I would like to follow the battle for New England , and hope NE tweeps will keep us informed in @NoFibs.
By Craig Rowley
First published: 2004
Desperate slaves: The Nationals, the Coalition and the pork-barrel system
Pork-barrel: n. Slang. A government project or appropriation that yields jobs or other benefits to a specific region and patronage opportunities to its political representative.
‘Pork-barrel’ has always been a derogatory term. First used in print by E.K. Hale for his story called“Pork Barrel” published in 1865 by Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. It comes from the plantation practice of distributing rations of salt pork to slaves from wooden barrels:
When plantation owners rolled out a barrel of salt pork into the slave quarters the desperate slaves engaged in a feeding frenzy to get the best pieces. It was a form of entertainment for heartless slavelords and their guests.
It became a common saying in 19th century politics. By 1890, the New York Times was comfortable in using “pork” in a headline knowing its readers would understand that it describes government spending intended to enrich the constituents of a particular politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes.
Regular Webdiarists are certainly familiar with the term. We’ve had a far bit of conversation on pork-barrels since last Spring.