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

swimming alone « Previous | |Next »
April 26, 2008

Apparently leader Brendan Nelson's future is "in his own hands", according to the Liberal Party drip feed to Shaun Carney at The Age. I'm attracted by the Spooner image of "in his own hands" because I've been visiting so many wild rivers in New Zealand recently:


You would have to be pessimistic about Nelson's chances of surviving--despondent if you were a Liberal. Nelson's public profile-- persona--- is that he rides a motorbike, had his ear pierced and can play the electric guitar. The guy was rock'n'roll. He has the street cred, you see. But policies? What does he stand for? What does the Liberal brand mean these days under Nelson and Bishop? Are they waiting for the Budget?

Maybe Nelson could take up tax reform as his big thing--take up big business's call for a complete review of the taxation system? Or call for a total overhaul of the federalism? Nelson would then be associated with a reconstruction of the entire machinery of government, and would then stand for something policy wise. He stands for reform at a time when federalism is having a lot of bad press.

Hell. the Liberals are even talking about--touting-- Costello as Nelson's replacement. What's up with these guys? At least Turnbull is trying to do something. He is arguing that the recession in the US will impact on Australia and that the condition of the global economy is gloomier than the sunshine boys are making out here in Australia. Therefore, Swan shouldn't go too hard on the budget cuts as he might increase the downward pressure coming from the global economy and just make things worse. It's a good story.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:13 PM | | Comments (7)


Leonore Taylor in The Australian says:

Both reforms [ie., taxation and federalism] are overdue by several decades. And neither can be tackled alone: it's impossible to reallocate the roles of the federal and state governments without reconsidering their financing, or to review taxation without facing up to the drastic imbalance between the money the commonwealth raises (so much in recent years the surpluses have been stored in jam jars such as the Future Fund) and the shortfall in what the states have to spend (witness creaking infrastructure, crumbling hospitals and underfunded state schools).

That provides Nelson with a platform to launch attacks on Rudd Labor and to construct a political narrative.

Turnbull is pretty good on economics and is able to tell an intelligent story.

I saw Turnbull on TV last night --on the 7.30 Report. He was arguing against the decoupling thesis---saying that the recession in the US would impact on Australia and that meant easing up on budget cuts in the fight against inflation.He knew what he was talking about as opposed to repeating talking points prepared by an adviser.

He confirmed my view that Swan only only the politics of the economy--big inflation caused by bad Howard Government---and not the economics of the economy.

from what I've been able to gather whilst in NZ is that Nelson has little public profile. How is he criticising the Rudd Government?

Turnbull and Nelson are far better than Tony Abbott. The latter reckons that Wayne Swan has caused the inflation problem not the inflationary pressures in the economy. Abbott doesn't even recognize that the Howard Government ignored the inflationary pressures when it was in power.

Costello is yesterday's man. He's history rather than waiting in the wings. Where is Julie Bishop by the way? Shouldn't she be showing a bit of leadership?

All the federal Liberals have left in terms of respect is is their reputation for good management. That is now being trashed by Labor---successfully, it would seem.

Turnbull walks all over Swan politically, where all he has to do is give the impression of being better at economics. He's much cooler in interviews than Swan, who gets all breathless and carried away with his karate chop hand movements.

You didn't miss much of Nelson's profile being in New Zealand. It's probably about as high over there as it is here.

The way Rudd operates, at full tilt, makes it hard for the rest of the opposition to get a look in. Chances are that while they're formulating a response to one announcement he's off somewhere else announcing another one.

If they have any brains at all they'll be off somewhere quiet developing policy, like the support for more solar they announced today. Solar is popular and Rudd's energy package doesn't give it enough support, particularly for Australian technology.