December 4, 2013
In spite of the nimble political footwork and ad hockery the Coalition do look a mess. It's more than a few stumbles in the early days of a anew government. As Jack Waterford observes in the Canberra Times:
In two years down the track, the events of the past week may be remembered not for the Pyne pratfalls or the shifts by Abbott. Rather, they will be remembered as proofs the Coalition did not have its act together on fundamental problems (relations with the states, schools and educational standards and government spending), nor a mechanism of controlling public expenditure - instanced by how Abbott was able to pluck a notional $1.2 billion from the ether after but a brief discussion with the leadership team.
The Coalition's often inept, slapstick performances increasingly suggest that they don't have their act together on the core policy issues. It does look as if the strategic brilliance had always been to aggressively break apart the Labor government, not develop a coherent agenda for reform.
The question is why? What's going on? It's certainly not due to the political pressure from the ALP or the Greens on the Coalition. They appear to be flailing about within their internal contradictions, and it looks as if the pressure on the Abbott Government is coming from within its own splintering ranks.
There is a gap between the governing the country in a stable, prudent manner and satisfying the ideological demands and expectation of the contradictory strands of the conservative base. The foundations on which the Abbott ascendancy has been built are shaky.