Friday, 22 March 2013

Contrary to the Prime Minister's

remarks the question of who should actually be Prime Minister of Australia has not come to an end. Oh yes, she was "not opposed" yesterday but she was the only candidate so the matter did not go to a vote. It does not mean that she is popular or that everyone wants her there. She is not and they do not.
Word has it around Canberra that even some of those who support dislike her intensely - but they know they will lose their own positions if they desert her. She is, from all accounts, now less popular than the man she ousted from power. 
Would Kevin Rudd like his old job back? Undoubtedly he would - but I suspect only if he believed he could lead the party to an election victory. The way things are looking at the moment that may not happen, indeed it seems rather unlikely. I doubt he would want to take the top job only to be kicked out again after the election because they lost. He might be happier to let Julia Gillard lose the election and then take over again. His position would be pretty secure then. He could simply stare his remaining colleagues down and say, "You lost because you did not have me as leader. Do you want to lose again?"
Of course if the internal polling suggests they are in with a fighting chance if they change leader then he might take the position on - or he might not. Whatever his thinking it was interesting that he did not run yesterday. It was claimed he did not have the numbers. I suspect that it may have been more complex than that. 
The other apparent loser is Simon Crean, the man who demanded the leadership spill. There are many questions being asked about his actions this morning but I wonder if his actions were really as foolish as they appeared to be. Yes, he has lost his Ministerial post. He's a powerful MP relegated to the backbench - for now. I do not like him or his too close association with the union movement but I have to admit I think he showed considerable courage. He gave his parliamentary colleagues the opportunity to excise a festering sore, to settle a matter which has been the subject of debate for too long now. He was telling them to get the leadership issue out of the way for good and concentrate on policy, governance and the upcoming election. They did not take his advice. Many of them may have cause to regret that.
Yesterday the Opposition Leader, in a move that would not have surprised anyone, tried to move a no-confidence motion. It did not succeed. You first to have to get a suspension of standing orders. They failed to get that by one vote but that alone should have been a warning to the government MPs to resolve the leadership issue. That they can ignore such warnings is remarkable - and foolish in the extreme.
It is said that the Leader of the Opposition will endeavour to bring on another no-confidence motion when parliament resumes on May 14th. If he does the outcome may well be the same as before. There is a Budget coming up. The government is not going able to bring in a surplus however they fudge the figures. We are deeply in debt. We are in no better shape than some of the struggling European economies. The government has simply not been able to govern because it has been a minority government from the start. It has promised much and, although it has appeared to deliver, much of that delivery will never come about. It is unfunded. 
We need an election sooner rather than later. Will the government survive until the election on September 14th. As one SBS correspondent told me yesterday, "Anything could happen."

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