Saturday, 2 February 2013

Twin-engined toxicity of Labor scandals will hamper Gillard leading up to September

Gillard recently.
It looks as though Tony Abbott isn't coming out of the naughty corner yet, but there's a good reason why he should stay there. With the election just called for mid-September, Abbott might best be advised to sit back and just watch while the Labor Party implodes. This was the O'Farrell strategy in NSW in 2011. Abbott might just concievably convert his stint in the dog box into a wise move.

And while opinion polls show Labor and the Coalition pretty closely tied at around 50% 2PP each, it should be remembered that noone anticipated the calamity that the 2012 election in Queensland was for the Bligh government. The Greens are advised to sit back and watch as well. They are sure to pick up a fair swathe of disaffected Labor voters, especially those annoyed by Gillard's proposed anti-discrimination laws and the other law that says that religious institutions that are employers - and these institutions are massive employers in Australia - would be able to discriminate on a number of questionable grounds against prospective employees.

Then there are the scandals dogging Labor to worry about.

The day after the election was called Labor MP Craig Thomson was arrested by the police. The saga promises to provide abundant entertainment for Australian readers throughout the remainder of the year coming up to the election. Meanwhile, in NSW, the ICAC hearings into shonky "insider trading" deals that allegedly benefited the erstwhile Labor MP Eddy Obeid and members of his family, rolls on relentlessly. This saga is making fodder for News Limited AND Fairfax journos on a daily basis - so that Western Sydney is being kept well-and-truly up to date.

On top of Thomson and the Obeids we've had two high-level resignations in the past few days, with Chris Evans stepping down from portfolio duties and, before that, one-time AG Robert McClelland informing the country that he would not contest his lower-house seat in 2013. Oh, and Roxon is stepping down from AG duties too, apparently - this just in this morning. Rats? Sinking ship?

PM Julia Gillard, for her part, has no option but to push on with the enormous policy introductions she's shepherded into existence. In addition to the carbon tax there's the education thing and NDIS, as well as the NBN. Gillard has shown an extraordinary talent for getting things done. It is almost miraculous how she has managed to push so many big pieces of legislation through the hung Parliament. While eight and a half months is an extremely long time in politics, the twin-engined toxicity of the Thomson and Obeid scandals promise to make her job just that little bit harder. As 2010 showed, it doesn't take much to make a winner these days. And don't forget about Queensland.

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