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

taking control « Previous | |Next »
July 7, 2006

If unemployment has fallen since the 2004 election, then interest rates have risen twice and inflation is nudging the 3 per cent mark. Another interest rate rise looks likely, as fuel prices keep driving up inflation, before next year's election.And Labor looks as if it has Howard on the back foot, thanks to the industrial relations laws which are irrevocably tied to Howard.

Geoff Pryor

The political landscape is shifting, is it not? Just a bit? You can see the cracks in the earth from the "triple whammy" assaulting the electorate: rising interest rates, high petrol prices and an aggressive new industrial relations policy. Some commentary at about political receipes.

I prefer Pryor's pirate imagery to that of the horse race favoured by mainstream commentators. The former captures the friends/enemies conception of politics and the seizing of power.

Update: 10 July
Ross Fitzgerald, in an op. ed. The Australian, also say that the ground is finally moving under the decade-long federal Government:

For 10 years Howard has occupied the middle ground. He has skilfully managed an alliance of voters spanning the ultra-wealthy through to the socially conservative, economically vulnerable battlers of the suburban fringes. The Prime Minister's IR changes strike right at the heart of this coalition, giving Howard's battlers permission to look elsewhere for a middle-of-the-road leader who understands and will support them. It's an opportunity to reconsider what has become an almost habitual vote for Howard. And it's an opportunity federal Labor won't miss.

Beazley has the experience and resilience that conservative voters require for reassurrance.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:44 PM | | Comments (2)


There is just a faint whiff of smoke in the air, there just needs to be a bit of wind to light the flames.

Funny how things can change, remember Hewson's devastating defeat, Keating looked unassailable, yet 3 years later the perennial loser crushes him, and becomes our second longest serving PM.

Now the sands may just be shifting again, in favour of another man seen as a loser.


Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald says that the triple whammy is potentially lethal for Howard because they strike directly at his core claim to power - that he is the leader who delivers better living standards.

Hartcher then says:

Australian voters need a powerful reason to remove a government, to vote for change. And when we do, we are most unlikely to choose an exciting alternative.This is something that the Labor Party needs to think about in the coming months as it weighs the future of its leader, Kim Beazley, and considers the alternatives.

He adds that some in the ALP say that the party needs to dump the conservative windbag Beazley and replace him with an inspirational leader who will energise the party and lead a triumphal uprising against the foul Howard. This group has a strong voice and considerable influence.They want a charismatic leader with verve and passion. They pine for Keating, but they will settle for Julia Gillard.

Hartcher adds:

These people are generally inner-city Labor-activist types who follow politics from a ringside seat.They do not, however, represent the broader Labor support base. And they certainly do not represent the middle Australia that is crucial to any successful electoral strategy, the voters, for instance, of the western Sydney seats that have migrated steadily from the Labor Party to Howard's Liberals over the past decade.

He says that it is impossible in Australia for any opposition leader to stride forth and seize power. An opposition leader needs to be well qualified and well positioned and well trusted, but he - or she - can only win power when the electorate is of a mind to remove the government.

He concludes with the adage that oppositions don't win elections, governments lose them. Remember the slogan on which Howard campaigned successfully against Keating in 1996: "Enough is enough."