Thursday, 24 May 2007 

Trust the re-wired Employment Minister to go too far in attributing his Workchoice campaign’s lack of success with the voters to his looks.

But the more politically savvy Tony Abbott was hardly subtler on Lateline last night when he claimed that voters appear to be unaware that voting for Labor might actually mean they get elected.

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. What both have in common is that neither can get to grips with the profound policy vacuum of this government that lies at the heart of these poor polls. This is not an exhaustion of a long-lasting government as it was also the problem in its early years. The intervening War on Terror filled a gap but the hole is now exposed and the government is left paralysed.

Howard was getting closer to the problem when he said in the party-room that the stability of the government’s leadership over the last 11 yrs was double-edged. The source of that stability is the same as for the merry-ground that preceded it in opposition – the policy vacuum that leaves nothing to base a challenge on. Tuckey’s comparison to the Hawke ascendancy misses the mark as Hawke had a clear programme to deliver the unions. When the unions were no longer of any use, Hawke was vulnerable to a challenge. As seen by the mysteriously acclaimed Budget, Costello has nothing to offer and even on the economy, the government has no alternative to distinguish itself from Labor. It is why calls for Howard to focus on the economy is unlikely to have much impact.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Thursday, 24 May 2007.

Filed under State of the parties

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