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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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August 10, 2004

What the cartoon does do is capture the way the ALP has been forced back onto the ropes despite its clever tactical moves. The ALP must be hoping that the desire for change within the electorate keeps them off the ropes and does not allow the Coalition's support to consolidate. The Coalition's weakest areas remain Queensland and South Australia. And the ALP is saying it believes the election will be won or lost in the formal five-week campaign, once Howard names the date.


The cartoon does get the situation wrong. Not just because it ignores the role of the media in the election campaign--eg., the strong anti-ALP bias of The Australian. What it ignores is that the contest is too close for Latham to be trussed up and roasted. What the cartoon does capture is the way the honeymoon of Latham has gone and Lathma's aura has been relentlessly worn way.

The image is how the Howard Government would like to frame the situation a the moment. But we need not accept the framing.

Do the differences matter? Is it not Tweeddledom and Tweedledee doing their dance?

John Howard will accept Labor's minor amendments to the US free trade agreement, grateful that he ALP has not bothered to dig deep into the details of the FTA agreement. Mark Latham will support a government bill designed to outlaw gay and lesbian marriage, that is due to be debated by the end of this week. They are both singing harmony from the same hymn sheet. Is that a better image?

afternoon update

At the moment federal Parliament is dead. Nothing much is happening. It is suspended time with people going through the motions. There is no energy or fireworks in the forum. Free trade dominates but we have no serious debate on the issues that have been identified. The issues that are being raised by the Greens and minor parties in the Senate are simply ignored. The Coalition and ALP are indifferent. It's a national disgrace.

For another example of a lack of a serious public debate taking place we need to look no further than the responses to the letter from 43 former top military and diplomatic figures, which criticized the Howard Government over the Iraq war. That letter called for for truth in politics from whoever wins the election. And the response from the government side? The parliamentary secretary De-Anne Kelly called them "doddering daiquiri diplomats" whilst Warren Entsch, another parliamentary secretary (the one who wears an ear-ring) labelled them "disgruntled old men"). These two attack the person and ignore the issue.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:42 AM | | Comments (0)