Australian Political Upheaval – Labor Government’s Mutually Assured Destruction: Some Media Verdicts

Posted on Sat 02/25/2012 by


Andrew BoltBy Andrew Bolt ~

Some Media Opinion Polls this morning favour Kevin Rudd as preferred Prime Minister ahead of Julia Gillard. The problem with this is that this is not an overall Poll where the whole voting public gets to say who they would prefer to lead the Country. This is a vote only for the 100 or so sitting Labor Party Members of the House of Representatives and The Senate, and that is somewhere that Kevin Rudd just does not have the numbers…..TonyfromOz.

Dennis Shanahan:

JULIA Gillard and Kevin Rudd have destroyed each other.

Whatever the outcome of the Labor leadership ballot on Monday at 10am, the Labor Party faces destruction at the next election, which could now come sooner rather than later.

Whoever is Labor’s prime minister – Gillard or Rudd – they will be faced with hostility from a solid core of backbenchers, a poisonous cabinet that cannot work together, a rampant opposition, a voting public despairing of government instability and the prospect of another leadership challenge closer to the election.

Both face a lack of credibility and legitimacy as a result of the internal bleeding, and both would have to defend a series of unpopular policies while Labor wallows at historically low levels of polling.

The reasons Gillard and Rudd are using to argue their opponent should not be leader and prime minister apply equally to each other… Each is saying the other is disloyal, treacherous, untrustworthy, incompetent, lying, unfit to hold the office of prime minister and incapable of winning the next election.

Terry McCrann:

THERE is now the tiniest sliver of difference on substantive policy matters between the incumbent and the challenger…

That is, the carbon tax, and what is both its predecessor and now planned successor, the emissions trading scheme…

The point of difference is simply one of very marginal degree. And one that probably would be eliminated by a continuing Gillard administration.

That even if a Gillard-led government wouldn’t bring Australia back to reality by abolishing or suspending the tax, it would inevitably have to bring the rate or the rules governing the ETS back to the lower global rates/levels..

This only tiny differentiation aside, PM and would-be PM are as, ahem, carbon copies of each other on substantive policy… Every disaster can be sheeted home to both… So, if there’s no difference on policy, what else is this other than an episode of Celebrity Big Brother?

Paul Kelly:

The lacerations are so massive that it is almost inconceivable to imagine a Labor recovery under either Gillard or Rudd. The longer this struggle endures the more they seem to complement each other—Gillard is master of support within the broader Labor movement and Rudd is the master campaigner who can sway popular sentiment. Yet each is flawed and now torments the other to the point of destruction over those flaws.

As a team they were once brilliant. [What???!!!! Surely they as a team drove Labor to the edge of destruction before squabbling for the wheel?]

Chris Kenny:

If Gillard had governed well, she would have been unassailable. But she broke faith with the public by reneging on her carbon tax promise, and lurched from one mistake to another. So with Labor flatlining in the polls, and Gillard’s credibility irrecoverable, leadership was bound to be considered. Because of the recent history Labor created for itself, Rudd has always been the only plausible leadership option. That doesn’t mean he will topple Gillard – although either next week or in the months ahead he might – but he is the only option, besides sticking with Gillard to the next election. This is because the public did not take kindly to having their choice as prime minister overturned in the dead of night by caucus. If Labor is to change again, it must be back to the man the public put there in the first place.

Former Labor Minister Barry Jones meets crying Labor supporters:

I HAVE been heavily involved in politics all my adult life and the current national situation, both in the government and opposition, is a low point, the lowest I can recall – even the dark days of 1955, 1966, 1975 and 1996. It seems to get worse every week.

The 2010 federal election was the worst in my memory because there was no debate about ideas, simply an exchange of slogans and mantras…

There is good reason to expect that the 2013 election will be even more depressing. I have lost count of the number of exchanges I have had with voters in Melbourne streets where they express their dismay to me about the state of politics, on both sides. Some burst into tears.

Michelle Grattan:

… watching Labor is like seeing a huge building implode. Julia Gillard – unless something extraordinary happens – easily has the numbers for Monday’s vote. But she will be left with a smouldering wreck of a party, with Kevin Rudd a disruptive presence on the backbench, seething at his impotence, without even the warm glow of international diplomacy to occupy and comfort him. And Gillard won’t be taking seriously his unequivocal promise not to come after her again…

Both Gillard and Rudd made bad tactical mistakes in bringing on Monday’s showdown. Rudd needed more caucus support before launching his bid. He should have waited at least until after next month’s Queensland election, when a low state ALP vote would have highlighted the federal problem. Gillard should have kept the lid on for as long as possible, in the hope (likely vain) her fortunes might improve. Simon Crean should have been on a leash, and reprimanded if he broke it.

Now she is, figuratively speaking, killing her opponent, herself and her party, as Labor indulges in an orgy of bloodletting.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book  Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

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