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