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

ALP: Monday blues « Previous | |Next »
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.

RowDGillardblues.jpg David Rowe

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?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:20 AM | | Comments (15)


The AFR's editorial concludes:

This government is failing Australia badly. The best solution would be a fresh election which resulted in one party winning a sufficient majority that allowed it to govern properly.

They are not even prepared to allow the Gillard Government its normal term in office.

The Gillard government’s two-vote majority returns to the shaky one-vote margin it had before it did the deal with Slipper. However, the breakdown of the relationship between Gillard and independent MP Andrew Wilkie over gambling reform means Wilkie is more likely to vote against the government.

This puts the Gillard government in a much more precarious position. The fallout of the investigation into allegations against Thomson will increase the pressure.

The support of independent Andrew Wilkie is once again crucial for the government’s survival. Wilkie feels that he has been betrayed by Gillard over the poker machine reforms.

I've always thought that Labor was too cavalier in dumping them. They should have pushed it---even if that meant going down fighting in the House of Representatives. Then Wilkie would not have felt so betrayed.

A political insurance policy if you like.

The conservatives talk in terms of Gillard's increasingly erratic judgment. What do they point to as an example?

The insider deals with the Greens ie., Gillard's decision to bring in the carbon tax - and her dogged refusal to change it.

It's so sad. The Gillard Govt. hasn't been nearly as bad as the media portray them. Extra help for old people living at home joins parental leave, the mining tax (could have been better, but it's better than nothing), carbon tax (we can thank the Greens, really, but it is a Gillard initiative) and others which I've forgotten (other commenters can help) in a list of good things which they get no credit for.

"The Gillard Govt. hasn't been nearly as bad as the media portray them"

True. In the above linked article Troy Branston provides a list of some of what he calls the other extraordinarily poor judgment calls that is too long to mention. They include:

forming an alliance with the Greens, the broken pledge on a carbon tax, the promised pokies reforms, multiple refugee policy backflips, the mining tax consultation and implementation, the gay marriage debate at the ALP national conference, substantially ignoring a report on internal party reform, the promise of "the real Julia", the Australia Day kerfuffle and the December ministerial reshuffle.

Some of what Branston calls "extraordinarily poor judgment calls " would be seen by others as steps in the reform process.

And this kind of list is from a Labor person--Branston served as principal speechwriter to Kevin Rudd when he was leader of the Opposition.

Branston's Looking for the Light on the Hill: Modern Labor’s Challenges (Scribe) charts the deep disappointment of Labor supporters at the dismal primary level of support that has been consistently below 30%.

The irony is that Slipper has been a good and effective Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The mood is very dark getting darker. Soon the only light will be coming from the flaming torches.
Gillard's only option now is to make Abbott and co look worse than them by any means available. The chance to win people by good government has passed. And I am not saying that what we have has been bad government. Its really just mostly been bad P.R and bad choices.

What's that old saying about the intelligence of people who keep doing the same thing but expect a different result? Both parties have a solid track record of incompetence and unanticipated (bad) consequences in trying to play cute parliamentary games. Think Vince Gair, Cheryl Kernot, Mal Colston and now Peter Slipper.

One of Slipper's ex-staffers (presumably a dedicated conservative) has made allegations against him. Gosh, who could have seen something like that coming? Who would have expected Abbott's mob to be hell-bent on destroying a Liberal rat (remember what Tony did to Pauline Hanson)? Not the geniuses running the ALP, apparently (or Peter Slipper). Was the speakership deal done by Steve Conroy, the man whose political brilliance gave us Senator Fielding instead of one of those appalling Greens? I concur with Branston that Labor has been guilty of 'extraordinarily poor judgment calls', but my list of examples would be different.

The scireboard currently reads:
Mass media: 74
Democracy : nil

All of the usual right-wing windbags at the Oz seem to forget that not so long ago Slipper was a a member of the Liberal party.

Who thus erred in judgement?

According to the ABC, unusual behaviour on Slipper's part had been reported to Howard as early as 2003. How can it have been kept a secret, in Canberra of all places, until now? It beggars belief that Labor did not see this coming.

they knew, but were willing to take the risk.They wanted to get off the Wilkie hook. They detested him. He wasn't pragmatic enough--in the NSW sense of pragmatic

John says:
"All of the usual right-wing windbags at the Oz seem to forget that not so long ago Slipper was a a member of the Liberal party."

The dominant media narrative of an unpopular government in crisis, mired in sleaze. The allegations of Slipper's travel rorts feeds into this.

The Murdoch media want blood--Gillards---hence their narrative of a political scandal. They will try and hound Slipper out of office to support their partisan political interests.

The World Political landscape has gone to crap over the past couple years due to lack of civility. We need to rise up against that and take back our world from Big Pharma, Big Tobbacco, Big Insurance and really just big companies. It's time for our elections to stop being purchased.