Left out to dry

Wednesday, 18 June 2008 

Wilson Tuckey thinks that Rudd’s walk out of the Chamber ahead of the vote on Belinda Neal represented a lack of confidence in her. Well, duh! The entire way the government leadership has dealt with this indicates that they are quite willing to see her sacrificed. It has been forgotten that much of her troubles were driven less by a media witch-hunt than the way Gillard kept pushing the issue and getting Rudd to change his previous stance of playing it down while in Japan.

It may be just a coincidence that by keeping the issue alive it also put pressure on her faction boss husband with whom Gillard was in confrontation over her IR reforms, but it seems unlikely. Gillard is not the sort of politician to waste her time on what is otherwise a trivial issue. Her entire conduct shows her key role in the party, undermining the influence of the unions and the factions in the ALP.

The Liberals tactics in this are almost unfathomable. There is not a chance that going after Neal will benefit them electorally. In fact there is a danger that it could backfire as Albanese hinted yesterday given Sophie Mirabella’s past remarks about Gillard (the anti- politics implications of this new standard of conduct is something Rudd will be much more comfortable with). It is likely to be more a result of Nelson responding to pressure behind him to go in hard on an issue, any issue, even if he has to get rather screechy in doing it.

Focussing on Neal could also be displacement activity given the Liberals have little else to talk about as shown by their inability to make any political point out of their obstruction of the Budget in the Senate. Fortunately for the coalition they have only a week left of control of the Upper House – a terrible thing to have happened to a party with no agenda to put through it.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Wednesday, 18 June 2008.

Filed under State of the parties

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