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

playing the cards badly « Previous | |Next »
May 28, 2011

I watched Question Time in the House of Representatives last week and discerned a bit of shift in the flow of the conflict. The Gillard Government was less on the defensive fending off the assaults from the Coalition and more on attack.

The shift was partly due to the Coalition's attacks lacking punch. However, the shift was largely due to Nicola Roxon, the Health Minister, successfully taunting and tarnishing the Coalition as supporting Big Tobacco (British American Tobacco or Phillip Morris). The perception she was able to create is that the Coalition is in the pocket of Big Tobacco. Perception is everything in politics.

LeakRoxonSmoking .jpg

Roxon was able to harm the Coalition. The plain cigarette packaging legislation will pass the House of Representatives with the support of the crossbenchers and will it go to the Senate after July 1 when the Greens will have the balance of power. So the bill, which has widespread public support, will be enacted this year.

Yet the Coalition continues to oppose plain packaging -- which means that its opposition for oppositions sake results in the Coalition opposing good public health policy aimed at harm minimization, stopping people from starting to smoke, and reducing the health costs due to the harm caused by smoking. The nanny-statism around this rhetoric around the National Preventive Health Strategy looks empty on this issue--this is a toxic product; it is lethal.

This issue highlights the problem with Abbott's saying no to everything and slogans--stop the boats, cut the taxes, pay back the debt---strategy. The sky won't a fall in when the carbon tax is passed and Abbott will begin to look more naked.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:57 AM |