Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Politics the bloodsport - off and racing - it's Gillard, from Abbott and here comes Turnbull

Call me naive, but one thing I didn't expect out of today's leadership ballot was the all-guns-blazing-go-to-your-corners-and-come-out-when-the-bell-rings aftermath that we have seen.

Gillard finest 15 minutes

Perhaps not enough people were watching, but Prime Minister Gillard's press conference and particularly her handling of the media questions was truly Presidential.  She was strong, bold and as she said "impatient".  This was not a Prime Minister who was apologising for her position.  This was not a Prime Minister in any doubt of who was in charge.  She has an agenda, and is going to see that agenda through.

Dare I say it, but that's one from the John Howard playbook.

The Q&A plants

While Tony Abbott was just the same-old negative Tony Abbott, Coalition voters in the Q&A audience really turned up the heat tonight.  Of course we expect each side to have a clear position, but this wasn't Q&A - it was a battleground. 

Yes, the outnumbered Labor voters tried to give as good as they got, but the normally balanced audience was as parochial as Janet Albrechtsen.

Could they sense the need to up the ante? How long before we hear from Clive Palmer again?

Turnbull - the Coalition's nuclear option

The Prime Minister will get on with her agenda.  Australia will have carbon pricing, and a mineral resources tax, and health and ageing reform and a disability insurance scheme, and as many more reforms as she can muster.

History shows that when a Prime Minister does get on with the job of getting things done, they attract the respect of the nation.  Take the Howard/Costello GST - a ballsy move if ever there was one - but it gained respect.  As Gillard passes these Bills, her rating and the ALP rating will rise.

So, the jungle drums will be beating.  Turnbull is sitting at the rear of the field like Phar Lap, ready to pounce.  For all the love Abbott has of polls, all he needs is for the pendulum to swing the wrong way, and his Parliamentary supporters holding marginal seats might exercise the nuclear option and switch their allegiances.

To quote Leslie Cannold's tweet:  Coalition could send Labor into the wilderness for a decade with @TurnbullMalcolm. Abbott will be Labor 2010 all over again #qanda

The real heavyweight battle in ready to begin

We've had the 2009 Libs battle, the 2010 Labor stoush, a Federal election and the grapple for the independents, the carbon tax brawl of 2011 and now the great de-Rudding of 2012.  But, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

None of those haymakers have landed a killer blow.  Gillard is solid on her feet.  Abbott believes he has the crowd behind him, but maybe he hasn't got the goods to knock her out.

Only a fool can confidently predict the next 18 months, but if Gillard gets strong, it could be Turnbull from the clouds in the shadow of the post.

Let me know what you think

Mark S

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