Monday, 6 February 2012

Even Fidel Castro

knew when it was time to leave. Of course he merely passed the baton on to his brother but it was done with a minimum of public fuss. If Cubans were (and are) not happy with the situation they did not make a media fuss about it. You cannot do that sort of thing in Cuba if you value your freedom.
Here in Downunder it is a different story. There are more rumblings about a possible change of leadership in the government.
Downunderites will remember we once had Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister.  He is now Foreign Minister.  The current Prime Minister, who challenged him and won, saw this as the best way of getting him out of the country at frequent intervals - and thus out of her hair.  Mr Rudd enjoys Foreign Travel. He enjoys being Foreign Minister - or so he tells us. The thing that clinched the election he won was a speech given in Mandarin. The native Mandarin speaker who lives next door to us tells me the Chinese were being kind when they applauded Mr Rudd's ability to speak Chinese. Whether that is true or not I do not know. In this state at least we were bombarded by the media telling us what a good thing it would be to have a Mandarin speaking Asia-centric Prime Minister.
The problem was that this particular Prime Minister was not a team player. His style was autocratic. Eventually his party decided they could take it no longer. He was stabbed in the back and we got Julia Gillard. She did not win the election but she did get enough seats to negotiate dubious deals with the "independents" and take government. The fact that at least two of the independents ignored the wishes of their electorates and sided with her for personal gain has been largely ignored by the media. The deal was done. It was time to get on with the business of government.
There have been problems ever since. This was inevitable. The Prime Minister has made many errors. The most recent of these was to back out of her deal with an independent on the issue of "poker machines". The demands of the independent had wide public support but the government believed that they were vulnerable in marginal electorates and, blaming the Opposition for government inaction, they have done nothing.
Now there are new and growing rumblings about the leadership. These are, naturally, being fuelled by media speculation. Will Mr Rudd make another run for the leadership? Will Mr Rudd do nothing? Perhaps someone else will try to get the numbers? Who? Is it wise to change the leader mid-term due to sinking popularity in the polls? Will this put them back in a winning position? The speculation is endless. It makes interesting reading.
I do not know enough to speculate - although I suspect it will take more than a change of leadership to boost the poll ratings to the desired level. This government has wasted opportunities. Their failure to do anything on the poker machine issue (and they blame the Opposition for this) has caused extreme disquiet among many social welfare advocates. No government should be this dependent on gambling for income, for votes, and for the number of people it employs.
Will they, won't they gamble on a change of leadership as well?

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