Into a vacuum could step somebody that has never made a point of standing for anything (or behind anyone) in particular. From that angle, Labor might have just found its best candidate.
“We will decide” was a phoney bit of Australian unilateralism made possible at a time of that phoney bit of US unilateralism, the War on Terror.
The problem that both parties now face is that having raised the asylum seeker “problem” for internal party reasons, the external conditions for solving it are no more favourable than they were in 2007-2008.
The over-turning of the orthodoxies of the Howard period during 2008-2009 has been forgotten as much as the reason for the popularity for the man who brought them about.
The Oakeshott Bill removed even further protections for asylum seekers in what is already one of the most anti-immigrant pieces of legislation in the developed world.
9/11 and the War on Terror didn’t mark the start of Labor’s problems, it marked the temporary suspension, for about five or six years, of the Coalition’s.
Megalogenis may lament the passing of reform, and the privileged role the media had in it, even if he cannot quite put his finger on what it was.
So who won the ideological war exactly?
There was a time when reform didn’t used to be such a fashionable word.
Karl Bitar says that Howard’s agenda has little relevance to the electorate today. He should know.