Sunday, February 3, 2013

Labor - 'do not resuscitate'

What whirlwind start to the Australian political year.

Pollies, tired and weary from the summer break, are lumbering back to Canberra, perking themselves up to face the Press Club and take questions from snooty, monotone-sounding reporters.

We certainly shouldn't envy them; no amount of free travel is worth that torture, which is probably why pollies have so much free travel - to get away from Canberra at any possibly opportunity.

One surprise recently dropped, by Ms Gillard, was that the next Federal Election will be held on September 14.

Apparently, this was with the intent of giving people certainty, and honouring the deal with the independents that a solid date for the next election would be set.

A short time afterwards, our Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, announced that she can no longer balance work life and family, and so will be bowing out after the election, as will leader of the Senate, Chris Evans.

Two big players, and two big public faces of the Labor machine, as Nicola Roxon has recently just completed a maddening media tour selling the plain packaging of cigarettes.

Newspapers have even ran lines to the effect of 'frontbenchers resign days into election campaign' - so apparently, we're already in a campaign now.

Lord help us if we are.

However, frontbenchers signalling resignations after the call of an election isn't too much of a surprise.

It's a bad look however after just announcing an election date, and the electorate will pay attention, so perhaps it was just unfortunate timing on behalf of Roxon and Evans.

The fact that troubled MP Craig Thomson was arrested amongst it also freshens the bruises.

The polls have also dipped once again against Labor, and Tony Abbott is looking more prime ministerial, and perhaps even salivating at the fact that his party's numbers popularity wise are climbing.

As is typical in a democracy, a good government won't be voted in - a bad government will be voted out - and it seems that Australia in particular will never escape this paradigm.

And Labor, for the most part, haven't even been a 'bad' government; for instance, avoiding a recession following the GFC.

They were criticised heavily for withering away the Howard-era surplus, but the government sitting on a pile of cash during a financial crisis would not have been the correct course of action.

One also wonders what the Liberals would have done in similar circumstances.

Would they have protected their surplus at all costs? After all, that's the one economic achievement they continually spout.

Joe Hockey as Treasurer for instance will be an interesting time. Liberals stalwarts shouldn't kid themselves - the smarts and prowess of Peter Costello are not coming back anytime soon.

Additionally, the more approachable Liberals, such as Malcolm Turnbull, have duly been purged and distanced from possible leadership.

Of course, that isn't to say a Liberal government would be a 'bad' government if they were voted in, it simply means that people are simply just looking for a change, which is again a folly of democracy.

The only reason Labor should not govern would be because the party has become so caught up with itself - it's become the Paris Hilton of political parties, only concerned with its image, such as dumping Kevin Rudd when the polls took a bad turn.

Or trashing the Greens at every opportunity, the party that allowed them to govern in the first place.

I've lost count of how many cabinet reshuffles we've had, and you could forgive most people for not knowing what minister has what portfolio.

If Ms Gillard's government were an iPod, you could be sure it would permanently left of 'shuffle'.

However, to keep a minority government together this long is to be commended, and it is an experiment in Australian political history that will be studied for years to come, and an example to future leaders.

Having said that, keeping it alive on the operating table has been a trial, and a more certain political landscape may well be a good thing to look forward to, regardless of whom 'wins'.


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