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

in one day « Previous | |Next »
February 19, 2008

It's been an extraordinary day following Howard's End last night.

The poll we contemplated over breakfast this morning, conducted following the apology, was dreadful news for the Liberals and anyone still tinkering with the notion that Nelson is even remotely viable. The poor sod has the honour of being the first leader since Newspoll started to score a single digit of support. As Possum eloquently observed, it's partly indicative of the difficulties anyone leading the opposition will have to overcome.

Nelson had better hope that this Preferred Prime Minister rating has a lot of short term feedback caused from the Stolen Generation apology he made on behalf of the Opposition in Parliament, for if it is actually representative in large part of what is playing out on the ground with these twin Coalition support bases - the problem may not be Nelsons alone, but could simply be a sign of things to come for any opposition member that takes on the Leadership position.

The twin support bases being the silver spoon set and Howard's battlers.

Then shortly after lunch poor Julie Bishop was wheeled out to announce that the Coalition is backing Labor on AWAs. They'll keep niggling about extending interim agreements, but it must be killing The Rump (thanks Nan) to have to back down on the centrepiece policy of Howard's political life. One can only surmise that Bishop is being punished for something, or that Nelson doesn't understand that he had an opportunity to improve his single digit rating if he'd spun the back down properly. Someone ought to tell him that a fabulous hairdo does not a fabulous politician make.

For afternoon tea Chris Evans shared his concerns about ministerial discretion on immigration issues, observing that it's inappropriate for one human being to have the power to decide the fate of another. It inevitably results in stuff ups of the Cornelia Rau and Haneef kind, which tend to upset people previously under the impression that the rule of law trumps in this country.

For nibbles during the day we had Kevin Andrews spending $130,000 on news clippings following the Haneef debacle, and Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells alerting us to the unthinkable possibility that the new PMs pets could be fouling the lawns at the Lodge. Perhaps Kevin Andrews could be put in charge of the lawn problem. All that newspaper should be put to some good use now that he doesn't have to worry about monitoring the response to the abuse of ministerial discretion while he was in charge of immigration.

It would be an understatement to say the opposition hasn't been faring well. In a few months Labor has managed to undermine most of what fed Howardism, but Howardism still informs the worldview of The Rump, which is still the centre of gravity on that side of politics. There's an important distinction between Howard's personal support and Howardism which The Rump seem yet to understand - you won't get support for Howardism without Howard. Simple.

Meanwhile, the more they focus on Swan's knowledge of arcane economic notions, the more time Rudd has to whittle away at what remains of Howardism and their own battler support base. Perhaps their best option would be to install Andrew Bolt as leader and go for broke until Turnbull's had downward vernacular elocution lessons.

| Posted by Lyn at 3:54 PM | | Comments (8)
Comments

Comments

Sorry to intrude 'something completely different' but I've just watched the tail end of the 7.30 Report on ABC TV and saw Peter Cullen the National Water Commissioner recommend, among other things, a 40% reduction in water entitlements for irrigators in the Murray-Darling Basin as a matter of urgency.
I hope this grows legs.

It's hard to say whether the opposition's reality check on Work Choices was brought about by the 9% poll or 4 Corners revelations that the Howard Cabinet didn't understand it or why it was so unpopular.

No such thing as intruding Fred. Mills require grist after all.

I missed the 7.30 Report tonight, forgot about the water thing, dammit. Not literally dam it. It would be a wonderful thing if we had such a thing as water justice. Are we a nation or a constellation of business interests, some more waterfully powerful than others?

Lyn,
From what I can make out Bishop was rolled by the pragmatists in the Coalition. They argued that Howard's Work Choices laws were so much on the nose with the voters that Bishop's nuanced policy - Work Choices is dead but we should keep AWAs - was impossible to sustain.

Bishop, I take it, was representing the West Australian business interests in her booming mining state.

Lyn,
Malcolm Turnbull, the Coalition's Treasury spokesman, has been warning about the dangers to inflation of a Labor roll-back on the industrial relations laws. The roll back would damage the economy, increase inflationary pressure etc etc

What happens to that case now the Coalition agrees with Labor?

Gary,
Bishop getting rolled makes sense, but it must have been a hard pill for the Rump to swallow. Minchin would be fuming.

Peter,
I guess Turnbull's going to look pretty silly then. Unless they go along with the mandate argument, which they were arguing against last week. Sticky all round.

Lyn,
The ALP is pretty tricky. They constantly say one thing---attack Workchoices----and quietly do another--retain individual contracts.

The question to ask is: 'just how much of AWA's have been retained by them'? I would hazard quite a lot.

Would you be suprised by that?

Gary,
No, I wouldn't be surprised at all. In the lead up to the election Gillard kept saying we don't need AWAs because we've already got Commonwealth agreements which sound like pretty much the same thing except with basic conditions built in.

It's pretty clear that they're making the most of the bad odour sticking to the words WorkChoices and AWAs, particularly when so few people are on them. Still, it makes good media.