April 23, 2012
I'd always thought that it couldn't get any worse for the Gillard Government. They remained deeply unpopular in the electorate---it is wipeout on current polls-- but they were pushing on with aged care reform, returning the budget to surplus and laying the ground work for a national disability insurance scheme.
But things do get worse. Federal Labor's determined desire to stay in power has just been undercut by the Slipper affair. The government is again forced to survive on the narrowest possible margin. The government's world of perpetual crisis.
The judgement is in: the Gillard Government is a lame duck administration. Whether this is a reasonable judgement is beside the point. People have switched off. They are no longer listening. They want a return to majority government. Or so it appears.
Troy Branston in Mud sticks to Labor after its slippery misjudgment in The Australian that supporting both Graig Thompson and Peter Slipper reinforced:
the perception that the Gillard Government would do anything it took to stay in power. Break promises, engage in dirty deals, backstab and cut loose anyone -- all in the naked pursuit of power.... trying to hold on to power at all costs, no matter how damaging it is to government and the party...the government is seen as almost too political: power-hungry, accustomed to game playing and obsessed with short-term tactics rather than long-term strategy.
He says that the Gillard government has only itself to blame if the scandals involving Peter Slipper lead it to lose its parliamentary majority and it finds itself out of power.
Will this public mood shift? Will it darken? What would it take to shift this mood? Or is the die now cast?