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

tuesday « Previous | |Next »
May 20, 2008

Another day, another series of calamitous events for the Federal Opposition. It's like a soap opera where nothing nice ever happens.

The Newspoll which was supposed to give Nelson a bounce didn't. Despite all those semi-naked pensioners' threats and complaints, opinion was fairly evenly divided between those who liked the budget, those who didn't, and those who couldn't care less which, in reality, probably goes for a reasonable chunk of those who said they did or didn't like it, but, confronted with the question, came up with an answer.

As usual the real action is going on in the opposition sandpit, where Brendan has ruled out sacking Malcolm (which means somebody suggested he should by asking the question), Julie ruled out a career move to WA (apparently Malcolm's suggestion), Joe ruled out a career move to NSW (also apparently at Malcolm's suggestion), Alexander ruled out retiring (after Nick told everybody he was going to), and worst of all possible worsts, Brendan declared he has Malcolm's full support (which means he doesn't, he knows it, and doesn't expect anybody to believe he does).

Alexander is cross with them all, saying they need some steely, steely discipline if they want to win the next election, but Alexander seems only half convinced that they lost the last one and he's no longer in his old portfolio. He says military intervention is warranted in cases like Burma and the security council should have a long, hard think about that. Who is the Opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs anyway? And would whoever it is mind Alexander telling the world what the Australian Opposition thinks it should do?

Back when they lost, at least they had an electable prospect in Turnbull, but that's been cruelled mostly by Turnbull himself. None too bright. You have to wonder what Minchin's been thinking, or whether he's been thinking. Or whether most of this is the sacrifice the rump are prepared to make to get rid of Turnbull and keep the Queen.

Meanwhile, all of their high profile people are being damaged, being forced to say things that can be held against them should they try for leader in the future. As if being part of Howardism wasn't bad enough by itself. Crap politics but great theatre. Pass the popcorn.

| Posted by Lyn at 4:40 PM | | Comments (11)


it's much ado about nothing. Turnbull is dead right. Reducing the petrol excise tax is bad policy. As Shadow Treasurer he is obliged to say so in party counsels. His position was that he was opposed but that he would support it publicly as it was Coalition policy.

Why is it assumed that Turnbull leaked? Why not a pre-emptive strike by Peter Hendy, Nelson's chief of staff? Who looks bad from this? Turnbull not Nelson.

There is so much spin about this in the media. It's the Liberal Party turning on itself as it struggles to confront the political reality of being in opposition for many a long year.

I heard Warren Truss on ABC Radio National Breakfast this morning---the economic populism( reducing the excise on tax) is designed to lift their profile--the Nationals--- in the forthcoming Gippsland by election. Standard national pork for the ute boys and girls .Apparently the Coalition calls it called 'maximising their competitiveness'.

I've just read yesterday's Crikey daily. Bernard Keane, their Canberra correspondent who replaced Christian Kerr, writes:

While the 5c-a-litre proposal has been damned by economists and the serious commentariat, talkback response has been positive, providing Nelson with the critical “cut-through” that he has been lacking since becoming leader. The Nelson camp believes this has prompted Turnbull to deliberately undermine Nelson by leaking an email critical of the proposal, sent to Nelson Chief of Staff Peter Hendy late at night last week. Nelson’s office certainly had no interest in leaking the email, and Crikey understands there has been no third-party access to the email at Nelson’s end. That leaves Turnbull and his office as the only credible source.

And so Keane goes it. It reads as if it were written by someone in Nelson's office since it is so anti-Turnbull. Crikey's on the drip feed. Sad to see.

Turnbull doesn't seem to have many friends in high places. Maybe he joined the wrong party.

Do you reckon maximising their competitiveness this way will work Nan?

It's always amusing to see journos who rely on drip feeds whining about leaks. Essentially they're complaining that someone else got gossip they missed. I think Keane is a better writer than Kerr was and he seems to think for himself occasionally, but a political reporter is a political reporter.

the social conservative faction in the Liberal party led by Nick Minchin is painting Turnbull as an impatient wrecker,who is driven by self-interest and has no political experience. So he cannot be trusted as leader.

They are trying to stitch him up and are causing themselves all sorts of problems in the process. Minchin's hand is everywhere. Many political journo's are running the anti-Turnbull line.

Is social conservatism the problem, or the persistence of the old power guard?

Minchin's not stupid. You have to figure they have no intention of being serious about the next election. What do they realistically expect? Are they trying to drive Turnbull out of the party altogether?

I want to know when the by-election for Philip Ruddock's seat is going to be. Obviously whatever was animating the corpse pre-election got switched off on November 25.

Hey yeah. Whatever happened to Nosferatu?

Maybe somebody replaced his Amnesty badge with a wooden version and he's subsequently had a nasty accident nobody's noticed yet. Garlic sales will be falling in his absence. Is he lurking in the shadows somewhere, waiting for an immigration debate before he lurches in for the pounce?

the old power guard are the social conservatives who huddle together in the cold to prevent Turnbull from becoming leader. This comment in the Canberra Times is apt;

For those Liberals who now, reluctantly, realise that guiding the party through the political wilderness and making it competitive again may be beyond Nelson's capabilities, the dilemma is there are few other obvious candidates to replace him. The most obvious, of course, is Turnbull, but he is detested by a significant bloc within the party for his support for the republic, indigenous reconciliation and gay rights. Nor have Liberals warmed to his political style, which is more top-down than consensus- driven. Others who remember his failure to galvanise the republican cause while leader of the Australian Republican Movement in the late-1990s wonder if he is the unifying figure the Liberal party so badly needs.

This week's leaked email suggests that however long Nelson remains in charge, the Liberals could be entering a period of destabilising rivalry between the party's conservative and progressive wings.

Ruddock is a dead man walking. A living symbol of what the Liberal Party has become. His life was sucked out of him by the deal he made with Howard on a dark winters night at the cross roads.

Gary, I guess we just have to wait for them all to retire then. That's just swell.

It would be interesting to know whether Howard has a role in any of this. I notice his best friend Downer has been refering to the party as 'them' recently.