The Agony and the Ecstasy

Watching the ABC’s Q&A tonight was excruciating. A good program, somewhat like a good Government which can’t get it’s message out, was bogged down for a half hour of leadership discussion which brought to light absolutely nothing. Julie Bishop point-scored, Bill Shorten defended, and the collective audience yawned or switched off with boredom.

The amount of progressive legislation passed by the Government is impressive and wide ranging. The amount of alternative policy from the Opposition is negligible. The Liberal Party call for an early election saying all their policies will be revealed in time for the election, despite the fact they are planning to completely rearrange the budget, discard the carbon tax, and discard the mining tax, while cutting some seventy billion dollars from the budget.

The Australian financial situation is the envy of the world. And any rational assessment by voters would see Labor swept back into power at the next election, and yet it seems if there is an early election, the Government will be soundly defeated.

There is one main reason for this, and it is that despite being a capable Prime Minister, Julia Gillard is not liked by a large section of the Australian community. Opposition leader Tony Abbot has conducted the most negative display of negativity ever seen in this country, and despite him being just as unpopular as the PM, it seems a never ending avalanche of naysaying in combination with Gillard’s unpopularity may well be enough to see a party bereft of policies and ideas swept into power.

A press corp obsessed with leadership beat-ups and paying scant regard to policy, and in the case of The Australian, openly hostile to the Government adds to this dismal state of affairs.

On the government side, it is hoped that the beginning of the carbon tax with the associated tax cuts and incentives which will kick in mid year, will turn around the negativity, the leadership diversion will go away, and the Government will settle in for the election to be held in 2013.

The opposition are hoping to inherit government on the sole issues of the PM’s unpopularity, and their rabid opposition to everything. Don’t expect to see any policy until they gain government, however.

Bob Innes