This not only gives Rudd leverage to bury the anti-Workchoices campaign but start to distance himself publicly from the unions.
As usual, the politically inept Treasurer got it most wrong.
The Rein affair exposes the hollowness of Labor’s opposition to AWAs and its IR policy.
After getting the resilience of Rudd’s popularity so wrong, it is not surprising that the media have now if anything been too positive on how the Rudd/Rein episode has played. It is probably a moderate negative.
Labor is running two parallel campaigns on industrial relations.
The government’s claim that the public’s view cannot be taken seriously is unappealing but they are being indulged by a media that has been doing the same for months.
Howard may claim that he takes the poor polls seriously but his actions suggest otherwise.
Let’s be clear, there is something wrong with what the coalition is saying. It is saying nothing.
Having made such a bad call on the Budget’s impact, commentators are now scratching around for an explanation for the resilience of Rudd’s popularity.
One of the comforts the government gives itself, which Howard repeated on The 7.30 Report earlier this week, is that at least voters are not waiting with baseball bats like they were for Keating in 1996.
But this is Howard’s problem. There is no agenda to swing a bat at.