Anyone comparing Ferguson’s apologetic self-flagellation with Turnbull’s egotistical manoeuvrings at the press club will see which is a result of a bureaucracy yet to be disciplined (and a party that already appears to be) and which is a sign of political decay.
The Ferguson leak has shifted the debate firmly on petrol pricing and away from the more uncomfortable one; namely that Rudd had stated the limitations of government before he had laid the political conditions for doing so.
The promise to put petrol GST in the tax review should buy it some time until it is due to be handed down next year. However, this is not really about petrol excise but the PM’s assertion that there is nothing much more he can do.
A mistake being made by the media on Rudd’s “nothing more we can do” statement is to say that it was just a slip. It is not, it goes to the core of what Rudd’s government is about.
We are having one of those moments when we discover exactly what has happened to Australian politics over the last year.
The Australian government has no more control over the economy now than it did thirty years ago. What is new is the absence of any political agenda that would have given it a sense it could.
A strangely unsettled mood seems to have settled over national politics in the last week. Debate over the Budget is still rattling around but with no coherent theme having emerged from either side while the media keep worrying over it like a dog with a bone.
Turnbull was dead right on Sunday that the government has a political strategy, not an economic one. Unfortunately, Turnbull doesn’t seem to know what it is.
Rudd has only one economic message: the government has no control over it and it is sheer politics to suggest otherwise.
There are a couple of features of Troy Buswell’s farcical tribulations that highlight the state of decay of both major parties, but especially the Liberals. The first is that we are hearing about it.