Hot diggity I’m stunned.
I maintain Kevin had to go. He panicked against Tony Abbott and dropped every policy of differentiation instead of actually arguing the point. However I’m a bit shellshocked after a week of Julia Gillard.
I had actually written a gloating post about Julia’s rise to PM titled ‘Suck it up, whingers’ aimed at those who complained about the way Rudd was replaced. Rudd, as far as I was concerned had lost his way. He was the Prime Minister. He was the Government. He held the cards. And every time Abbott bluffed, Rudd folded. The polls showed a revolt against a man unwilling to argue.
Julia’s rise was democracy-by-other-means in action, I believed.
I still maintain that when the ETS was rejected and Malcolm was rolled by Abbott Rudd had the perfect opportunity to call a double dissolution election. He should have stood up and shouted – you all wanted it, but we’re stuck in the Senate. They say I haven’t done much but they’ve stopped me at every turn. Time to vote! Time to send the Liberals a message. Had he done so, I believe he could have won the election and still be riding high in the polls.
But he didn’t. He asked nothing of us. And then he shelved it. Fuck you Kevin, fuck you.
And so, from that moment on, whether if be on refugees or climate change or freaking any topic mentioned by Abbott we saw Rudd fold and moved his position to the right. That is, if we could be bothered to listen to him. So Julia’s roll into power, from my perspective, was a reflection of this. Kevin failed the public trust by failing to stand up and fight. She’d restore it.
Ah. It gives me wry amusement to think of that belief, as cute as a newborn kitten that can’t suckle – and now dead as one that couldn’t, just two weeks later.
I didn’t make the connection that the coup was poll driven and that Kevin’s stances were also poll driven. Rudd’s polling was showing breakthrough of Abbott’s ‘great big tax’ line, so he folded to mute it. Rudd’s polling was showing Abbott’s line on the ‘boat invasion’ (complete with Dad’s Army style red-arrows) was supported, so he backed down there. The kicker is, however, I disconnected this with Julia’s rise.
Julia’s rise was completely poll driven. However I expected Julia to champion human rights, champion climate change, champion tax reform and the NBN. After all, these were her stated positions. I thought Rudd’s problem was he was hollow and I thought Julia thought that too! But, as you’ve now guessed, I am a naive fool.
Her power was bestowed by the polls and the factions. The factions are poll driven. No doubt they were pressuring Rudd to fold on the ETS themselves (I so bet this is true: that the same guys who rolled Rudd were the ones who got him to nix the ETS). And now they own Julia.
As the last few days have shown, she won’t fight. She won’t be principled. Kowtow to the mining companies. Gay marriage off the table. A ludicrous paper-thin refugee ‘solution. A new climate change policy that could be photocopied policy from the party that doesn’t believe climate change is an issue.
So now the NSW Labor party, the most power-corrupted organisation in the universe – saved at the last election only by a completely incompetent looney Liberal Right – is calling the shots in Canberra. Bad move, people, bad, bad move.
Abbott may be a nutter. His views may seem illogical and short-sighted to me. He may not be constantly conservative and populist and ready to announce anything if he believes it’ll get him votes. But it works. Lots of people like his rumblings. His tough guy straight talking image, in Australia’s presidential style elections, is electoral gold. Instead of being a straight-shooter we expected, Julia has shifted to the right of Rudd. That’s a fail, right there.
The polls showed a bounce on Gillard’s rise. However, that was before she spoke. If the polls don’t show a nasty turn against Julia (or at least the ones performed on behalf of The Australian!) or that Labor is still bleeding to the left I’ll never comment on politics again*.
So Federal is now the new NSW. Maintaining power is the goal. But the spin-doctors are incompetent. Labor’s only hope is people are so afraid of Tony Abbott as PM that they’ll vote Labor.
For me, though I say call that election, Julia. Parties that don’t fight for what they say they believe in, parties unwilling to argue a position, parties that copy their opposition don’t deserve power. I live in the most marginal seat in Australia. It was won by 184 votes. Consider that margin down to 183.