Saturday, August 27, 2011

Political unrest

I've been watching the slow-motion train wreck that is the federal ALP for some time now.  Not only does it interest me personally but it's got quite a bearing on my current job - the federal LNP have not exactly been NBN supporters, although it remains to be seen what that would metamorphose into should they get into power at any stage.  That's another discussion.

The biggest problem for the ALP at the moment is the unrelenting pressure the LNP seems to be able to provide, and damn effectively too.  There really are just too many targets being thrown out there or the hitting.

The ALP is more or less stuck with pursuing the catastrophic carbon dioxide tax, I fear.  The Greens likely know full well that this is their one chance to get this rammed through.  The public will remember this legacy of minority government and non-major party candidates for some time (because the major parties will keep reminding them), and I do think it's a prime example of where the looney fringe really can do some significant damage if allowed to.  Or not prevented from doing so.  If they want to should slogans from the sideline while they recycle their sandals I don't think anyone cares too much.

Ultimately, I think the carbon tax will be the rod that beats the ALP down at the next election.  Nobody likes a new tax (ever) and there's just too many opportunities for scaremongering and casting fear and doubt for the LNP not to make hay from it.  The tax won't be in operation for long enough before the next federal election for it to be proven that there's no adverse impact on the economy or consumers (assuming the ALP holds on that long, and I presume they would be waiting as long as humanly possible to call an election at the current rates of progress) so it's basically a free kick for the LNP to continue bashing it.

I don't even think Gillard can go to Bob Brown (Poofter Party) at this stage and look at face saving options, because Bob knows full well this a suicide mission, and he prefers oblivion to ongoing obscurity, knowing full well the public isn't going to forgive this one for some time.

The problem of the independents then arises.  One doesn't appear to give a damn about getting reelected one way or the other as long as his short term objectives are met, although he's not an LNP supporter.  Two have sided with the ALP because they like the political promises, and one with the LNP because that's where his political leanings fundamentally are, although he won't actually align with the camp.  What a fragile, insecure and weak bunch of people to determine the leadership of the country.

Frankly, if this government hasn't been an example of precisely why our system of government needs a revamp, I don't know what is.  I can see the looney minority parties growing over time, not decreasing, so this sort of thing is likely to become more and not less of a reality.  But I digress.

Interesting article in The Australian today on the crisis, basically saying dump Gillard for the good of the party.  On balance, I am increasingly thinking it's not a bad idea.  It gives an opportunity for the new leader to divest themselves of some of Gillard's baggage on boat people, although they would still be saddled with the partnership with the Poofter Party and the Craig Thomson affair.  All in all though, I think it's a gamble worth taking.  Tony Abbott is deeply unpopular as a potential PM against the most unpopular PM of some years, so a mediator could potentially strike a middle ground with the public.  On balance, I think it's time to go, Julia.

The ALP may also escape with Craig Thomson still in power, although tarnished - I see someone has done a quite effective Enron job on the associated financial records.  Tony Abbott's bleating aside, I suspect the case for the prosecution is about to unravel there.

The only remaining question is whether or not the independents would support a change of power by the ALP.  I think Gillard's job rides on that.

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