Tuesday, 28 September 2010 

Is about how the UN & member states prevent a repeat of the sort of mass killings we saw in Rwanda & Darfur. Still much more to do. KRudd

25 September 2010

Working with other foreign ministers including Germany, Canada, Mexico and Turkey. The Goal: nuclear free world. KRudd

23 September 2010

Is there any chance in the slightest that the hardball can start soon, please. Anything would be better than this dross. Tony Abbott might want to flatter himself that he is playing hardball, but ‘being a little bit pathetic’ is probably a better description of agreeing to something and then saying a few days later that the naughty Labor party tricked him into agreeing to something that was unconstitutional.

But it’s no more pathetic than the issue itself. To listen to some it’s as though Abbott reneged on some major parliamentary reform. It was nothing of the sort. All it was about was allowing the Speaker to vote so the government could have a majority of one more than it had before. Even those who think parliamentary reform is a big deal would have to admit there is not a single improvement that would have come from it. If Oakeshott really wanted the job he could have it tomorrow, it’s just that when there isn’t a tie he wouldn’t have a vote – and you can’t get more independent than that.

The Coalition in reply is claiming that Labor reneged on its promise not to have a carbon tax. It’s easy enough to counter it by claiming that such changes are necessary because the government is not in control and when in an alliance with other parties you don’t do everything you said you would. But surely more the point is why Labor was so weak not to campaign on it in the first place.

The fact is that neither party can play hardball if they try. They ran away from putting forward any distinctive mandate in the election and they are in no better position to assert one now. Abbott had enough trouble keeping his side under control on a procedural issue like choosing the deputy speaker. He’s hardly going to be in a better position when he gets on to the hard stuff, especially on issues for which the Member for Wentworth has no trouble making his views known, which unfortunately also include some of the Coalition’s most important stances, on the ETS and on the NBN.

Abbott’s problem is trying to keep his party on side when there are few issues on which they actually all agree and which differ from the Labor party and which would make them electorally viable. Turnbull is only too ready to take advantage if he can’t keep the balancing act up, so it is perhaps understandable if Abbott’s game is a little unnuanced at the moment.

Gillard’s problem is a little trickier. The government’s initial program suggests it is terrified of doing anything to raise controversy, certainly at this stage. But she is clearly under no internal threat at the moment, and unlike Abbott does not need to worry about a potential challenge from the one she replaced. Nevertheless there is an intriguing little experiment underway at the moment in Australian politics, far more interesting than the quagmire currently dressed up as a new paradigm.

One of the arguments of this blog is that since the Hawke accord wrapped itself up and Keating’s Three R’s died a death, Australian governments, whether led by Howard or Rudd have struggled to gain any legitimacy from what they do at home, and have increasingly risen and fallen on international agendas; Howard on the War on Terror, Rudd on climate change. What we have now is a Prime Minister caught in a quagmire but having handed the international agenda over to her rival.

Rudd has made clear last week that he is not intending to use the Foreign Affairs post like the last bitter dumped Queenslander did nearly thirty years ago; merely as a well-paid junket to cheer himself up. Rudd seems to be engaging in politics, and like the Member for Wentworth is using the social media like Twitter to keep in the mind of journos as he does so. Rudd hardly has a base in Labor to pose any real threat to Gillard, but he does appear to be involved in something more real than the procedural dross his successor is caught in at home. How long can that last?

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Tuesday, 28 September 2010.

Filed under State of the parties

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13 responses to “Softball”

  1. 1gmd on 28th September 2010 10:02 am

    It is a marvellous thing how the end result is a perfect reflection of the worst electoral campaign ever. We have elected two opposition parties standing for nothing other than the agenda of the next vested interest and rentseeker (please stand up mining industry).

    Further, as can be seen by the fitful on again off again seduction – by deputy speaker’s chair – every member of parliament can now be an independent – let the fun begin.

  2. john on 28th September 2010 11:48 am

    Rudd still has the Old Guard from Queensland, and the Queensland and NSW Left. I’m not sure about anywhere else.

  3. Al. on 28th September 2010 11:58 am

    Agree with you on Rudd’s motivation. Nice ‘work’ if you can get it (and they had / HAVE to keep him happy with these numbers ..)

    Seems to me Abbott is still simmering from the result. I don’t think/can’t recall him giving an interview since. He’s ducked interview offers from the 7.30 report, sends just about everyone else to front those tv programs (‘Insiders’ etc;)

    He’ll be back doing inteviews, when it suits HIM … but looks like he doesn’t need them for now, and does’nt trust himself at the moment to say something he might not regret, annoyed intensely as he clearly is, by the ‘illegitimate’ mob now in power …

    Yes, I’ll bet he’s being plotting away.

  4. James on 28th September 2010 1:29 pm

    I think it’s certainly true that the Coalition plays Laborer harder than Labor plays the Coalition. Abbott is from the NSW Right of the Libs – the most hardcore element of the Coalition – and I suspect there will be times during this Parliament when Coalition tactics make the Sussex Street machine look moderate. That may help Gillard, as few do nasty better than Abbott’s factional mob.

  5. john on 28th September 2010 1:43 pm

    No, Abbott is from the far right of the Labor movement. He’s DLP to his bones.

  6. adamite on 28th September 2010 9:33 pm

    ‘does’nt trust himself at the moment to say something he might not regret’

    Yes Al – will be interesting to see what will happen now the tight electoral leash of the minders has been loosened. Whatever other problems Gillard has, at least she has a substantial agenda to champion. Abbot just has the ‘Mr Nyet’ script for the next three years. No wonder he’s in a hurry to get back to the polls.

  7. Al. on 29th September 2010 2:18 am

    Well, ^ to ‘elaborate (?) my thoughts somewhat, that song by Steely Dan comes to mind(lyrics) …’I’m a fool, to do your dirty work, for you …’

    Seems like my ‘mate’ Tony, has sent his mugs in to do just that(tv interviews) , whilst he licks his wounds/ contemplates his ‘next move’ …

    It does seem he has some willing sacrificial stooges (for the time being …)

    As P.S. would probably support, this is NOT coz the ‘monk’ is such a powerful/’deserving’ dude in his own right, but rather, because Labor stuffed things up on their end, and gave this guy power.

    He was the right man, for the right time. Whether it will (in their eyes) remain that way …….

  8. The Piping Shrike on 29th September 2010 6:38 pm

    Watched Hockey on Lateline last night. It seems hardball really means attitude.

  9. Graeme on 29th September 2010 10:38 pm

    If you want procedural dross, tail Mr Rudd for a few days around the UN, diplomatic circuit.

  10. Al. on 29th September 2010 11:55 pm

    Just watched Stephen Conroy take on Turnbull in a broadband debate … ‘Lateline’.

    He certainly knows his stuff. I reckon he’s got ‘tech-head’ Turnbull’s number on this one.He out-teched him (for my money) and left Turnbull looking very uncomfortable, constantly clutching at straws /running back to ‘cost-benefit analysis’ hasn’t been done/ ‘wasting tax payers money’ arguments… when he got beaten again,and again by Conroy.

    I’d say he looked quite annoyed by the end of the debate, that he’d been made to look a mug, with little more than dodgy figures to ‘support’ his case.

    I’m with Windsor on this one … ‘you do it once, you do it right, you use fiber’

    In his heart of hearts, Turnbull knows this to be true, but they ARE the ‘opposition’ …

  11. The Piping Shrike on 30th September 2010 12:16 am

    Graeme, cheesy tweets and diplomatic procedure, I’m sure Kevin’s in his element.

    Turnbull will turn on NBN when it personally suits him.

  12. The Piping Shrike on 30th September 2010 7:00 am

    … but Wyatt’s speech yesterday reminded that no one but Rudd had the necessary contempt of the political class and its traditions to deliver the apology he did.

  13. The Piping Shrike on 1st October 2010 8:40 am

    All you Gillardistes might enjoy this.

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