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Henry Thornton - Politics: A discussion of economic, social and political issues Australian politics, H1 2012 Date 06/06/2012
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Rudd's poisoned chalice
By Henry Thornton Email / Print

Henry's political correspondant, Gary Scarrabelotti, provides regular input, available here.


Rudd's poisoned chalice, 6/6.

Paul Kelly today presents the reasons why Kevin Rudd should or would reject the opportunity to return to the Lodge.

'If Rudd's recall is mired in blood and thunder, then its downward spiral is foretold from its inception. And what chance a united Labor election campaign under Rudd if the party remains a house divided against itself?

'Rudd's recall might be in Labor's interest by delivering a higher vote. But how does it satisfy Rudd's interest? He would become the PM who was played for a mug twice -- the first time deposed by the party and the second time rejected by the people. What an ignominious record before history. No matter what you think of Rudd, he's better than this.

'Am I expecting Rudd, therefore, to decline the leadership? On the contrary, he is likely to accept because he will think he can defeat Abbott. It is the way leaders think.

'The real point lies elsewhere. If Labor wants any Rudd recall to work it must grasp the unique conditions that are required -- the party must surrender itself to Rudd and allow him to project as an agent of sweeping change in contrast to the failed Gillard era. And for Labor that is just a bridge too far'.

Henry salutes the wonderful illustration by Lobbecke.

 Courtesy The Australian

Polls favour Coalition, neither leader very popular, 4/6.

A brief apparent rise of Labor's primary vote to 32 % gave heart to the comrades last week.  But a week later, another poll saw another 26 % result.  all polls have Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard low in the popularity stakes.  Given traditional unpopularity of opposition leaders, this is a far bigger problem for the lady.

Henry's political correspondant, Gary Scarrabelotti, addresses the issue of why many people seem not to like Tony Abbott. 

Julia Gillard fights on, 15/5.

'JULIA Gillard has urged Labor supporters not to succumb to despair over the party's political plight, saying it was time to "stiffen our spine" while the government got on with the job.

'In an address to union delegates at today's ACTU congress, the Prime Minister said she was under no illusions over the political challenges the government faced.

'She blamed her government's poor standing in the opinion polls - put at just 30 per cent in today's Newspoll - on an unrelenting opposition "fear campaign" and "dramatic reporting" by the media of the trials of minority government.

"We could, in these days of political pressure ... succumb to that political pressure, or we could do what I am urging you to do today," Ms Gillard said'.

Gillard government 'on the brink', 30/4.

The PM's backflip on Craig Thompson and Peter Slipper suggests she is not long for her present job.

She has made her loyal followers who have been backing her in making the case for these lovely compatriots look like dills.

She has changed a view that everyone but her and said compatriots saw as untenable from the first.

This is the last in a long line of blunders and misjudgments.

Read on here, and watch the video.  

Speaker Slipper slips further, 28/4.

  Courtesy The Australian

Roy Morgan Research shows a further slip in the ALP government's extraordinarily low support in opinion polls.

Farewell Green's leader, Bob Brown, 14/4.

  Courtesy The Oz

More here on matters intergalactic.

Gillard, Labor poll disaster, 15/3.

'JULIA GILLARD has taken a double whammy in the latest poll.

'The Prime Minister's approval rating has reached its lowest point, apparently over her carbon tax plan. And she is losing to Kevin Rudd as preferred Labor leader.

'Today's Herald-Nielsen poll confirms that the Labor Party remains near its historic low point among voters and would decisively lose an election held today'.

Julia Gillard pulls off a genuine coup, 3/3.

Bob Carr comes to Canberra, to seamlessly take up the work of defeated contender K.Rudd. (Who was he? I hear you cry.)

Stephen Smith and the other place-holders have been reminded just who is in charge, and one assumes at age 64 and a senator - 'the Senate is my natural habitat' - Mr Carr is no threat to the Boss.

This is a potential game changer, gentle readers.

It strikes a blow against the Australian cult of youth and for the oldsters of our great nation.

Paul Kelly calls it Gillards 'great escape'.  

Labor's bloodletting: the morning after, 28/2.

Two superb commentaries today on the Labor government's bloodletting.

Niki Savva says Gillard can never clean up the mess.

'This most vengeful, bloodthirsty, short-sighted, and possibly fanciful campaign was, according to a widespread belief in Labor, mainly about blowing Rudd into pink mist, so he can never be reconstituted, and only tangentially about saving Gillard.

'They hate Rudd so much they don't want him to lead them to victory, even if he could guarantee it, and they don't believe Gillard ever will. The Praetorian Guard has put its empress on ice'.

And, more lighthearted but equally relevant, Grace Collier says Rudd's dismissal mocks the so-called 'Fair work' rules.

Other helpful suggestions from the Australian writers include Robert McClelland for Foreign Affairs, the recommended sacking of Wayne Swan as Treasurer, and Paul Kelly's view that the vote was more anti-Rudd than pro-Gillard.

And a reader, Lindsay Smith, explains a mystery: 'In my opinion, the reason that Labor's vote improved was because of the possibility of a Rudd return. Now that possibility has been removed, watch its vote decline once again'.

Julia Gillard, 71, Kevin Rudd, 31, and shares sell off, 27/2.

As expected, the incumbant won with a handsome majority.

There has been an outbreak of sweetness'n'light among ALP parliament members, but the occasional shot of Kevin sitting folorn in the back row of the government benches reminded me of the day after he was first sacked.

Mr Rudd has said he will not challenge again in this parliament, but the careful words do not rule out getting drafted.

Share prices fell, but the logic for this is unclear to Henry.

Another mystery is the rise in Labor's stocks during the posturing at the OK corral. Perhaps the punters enjoy the killing fields and reward the party that puts on the best fights. Or perhaps it is sheer entertainment value they reward, and so the loving foregiveness act will allow Labor to do even better in the polls. If Mr Abbott remains behind Ms Gillard in the preferred Prime Minister stakes, who knows what happens next.  A Turnbull challenge to make the coalition rise in the polls?

Rudd resigns, Gillard to call ballot, 23/2.

How sad it is to see a once great political party tearing itself to shreds.

This once great party assassinated a Prime minister elected with a strong majority won in an election against one of Australia's most successful Prime ministers.

The leaders who took that action did not confront Prime minister Rudd and seek changes to his management style and perhaps also his policies.

Instead they mounted a coup.  Immediately this action signalled a deeply disunited government.

But as matters evolved there were policy backflips.

On top of the Rudd government's wasteful and badly designed 'stimulus policies' - pink batts, school halls (and memorial gates) and the massive white elephant that is the NBN - there was the broken 'no carbon tax' promise, a tax on Australia's most dynamic industry and a continued tendency toward costly bureaucratic big spending responses to problems.

'Mean and tricky', even 'treacherous', are the feelings in many people's minds.

The latest moves - Julia about to sack Kevin, Kevin getting in first by resigning as foreign minister - show just how bad is the disunity and mutual loathing of the two camps.

More here. 

New poll rewards Gillard, Labor, 6/2.

'Consumers of politics are weary of tea-leaf reading and rampant Labor leadership speculation - death by a thousand unsourced quotes. Sick of them - the plotting, process-obsessed protagonists of federal politics; sick of us - the doomsaying hysterics of the press gallery.

'So let's give you a break, and ponder things we know' says Katharine Murphy. 'Today's Age/Nielsen poll shows the highest primary vote for Labor since March 2011, and the best two-party preferred vote since November 2010'.

And in conclusion: 'But what is building - visibly, inexorably - is the oppressive sense that for federal Labor, judgment day is now inevitable.

Read more here.

Gillard 'gorne', 4/2.

Julia Gillard is gone, gentle readers, and support for an unlikely return from the dead for Kevin Rudd is growing.

Personally, Henry would give Simon Crean a shot at the top job.  He is a team player, a second-generation Labor stalwart and safe hands. He is far more likely to limit the damage at the next election, and his transparent honesty and lack of guile would possibly limit the electoral damage more than Ms Gillard or Mr Rudd.

I don't expect this gratuitous advice to be taken, or even considered carefully, but that just shows the depths to which a once-mighty party has sunk.

Henry on Tony Abbot's speech, 1/2.

Read on here. 

Government, Gillard flatlining in polls, 31/1.

Dennis Shanahan says: 'JULIA Gillard is now in a zone where the electorate appears to have set its mind against her and everything the Prime Minister does either seems to go wrong or is turned against her.

'After some hope in government ranks that the polls would finally turn in her favour - there was a lift in yesterday's News Limited Galaxy poll - the first Newspoll survey of the year has delivered the news that federal Labor is no better off for the summer break and Gillard is actually worse off.

'Indeed, Labor has never been as badly off at the beginning of a parliamentary year'.

Much talk of a challenge by Kevin Rudd after he has performed heroically to try to minimise the Labor losses in the Queensland election in late March.

Gor Blimey, comrades, dirty tricks!, 30/1.

PM's advisor quits after trying to set up Opposition leader Tony Abbott, or after an act of gross stupidity.

(Even the Age had to run this story, but it was especially interesting that ABC TV led with 'Tony Abbott provokes riot', or words to that effect.)

So was this a stuff-up, the government's story, or a deliberate attempt to engineer an embarrassing incident involving the opposition leader?

We may never know, but Australian politics is becoming nastier by the week.

Posted by: Matthew
Date: 2/29/2012
I did want Rudd to get back in, but it was not good for the Labor party to bring him back.
Posted by: Matthew
Date: 3/16/2012
I did not want Rudd back.
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