Make no mistake, Brendan Nelson has been a brave man. He took over the leadership of the Liberal Party last November when it was at a low ebb. It had been decimated in the federal election, the previous leader had lost his own seat, and the man many thought to be the natural successor (Peter Costello) wanted to move on. It was Dr Nelson's task to rebuild the party's stocks and to make it a competitive policy force for the future.
Counting down the three outstanding political quotes of the past week:
"...there are 350 million people in India who are classified as middle class. That's bigger than America. Their middle class is larger than our entire population."
- George Walker Bush, assigning blame for the global food shortage, 1.5.08
It would be remiss of me if I were not to mention the fabulous events in Canberra last week. February 13, 2008, will go down as one of the most joyous days in modern Australian history - the day that Kevin Rudd, on behalf of the Australian parliament, said "Sorry" to the stolen indigenous generations. Rudd gave what was unquestionably one of the great speeches of our country's history.
Billy Hughes was the Honourable Member for Bradfield from 1949 to 1952.
Brendan Nelson has been the Honourable Member for Bradfield since 1996.
Billy Hughes was a member of the Australian Labor Party before switching to the conservatives.
Brendan Nelson was a member of the Australian Labor Party before switching to the conservatives.
Billy Hughes was leader of the Australian Party until it was wound up, and leader of the United Australia Party shortly before it was wound up.
Brendan Nelson is leader of the Liberal Party... for now.
Former president of the Australian Medical Association, former member of the ALP, the former Education Minister who tried to claim that the story of Simpson and his donkey was true, Brendan Nelson MD is well on the way to becoming Australia's worst Defence Minister ever.
But amid all the doublespeak this week in reaction to the British and Danish troop withdrawals from Iraq, Nelson, who last week rubberstamped John Howard's whim to send more troops to Iraq, Nelson has trivialised the Second World War by saying that Australia's role in Iraq is as important as the Kokoda Track campaign against the Japanese in 1942.