paforclive

The Last Straw

Posted on: February 12, 2013

I posted my resignation to the ALP’s electoral fate last July. One writes these things often with fingers crossed that fortunes will change and that the LNP and all that comes with it will not prevail. The Gillard led government would perhaps, largely on the back of deep unpopularity of Tony Abbott, earn a second chance it hardly deserved.

The LNP has had some degree of wind assistance via the mainstream media and some success in lying low post AshbySlipperRaresGate. While its AWU attacks failed to bear fruit, the Obeid NSW fiasco has provided enough public scorn of the image of unions and ALP corrupted, and that with little effort on behalf of the Shadow Foreign Minister (Julie Bishop in case you had forgotten).

When Paul Keating trailed John Hewson in 1993, he had some good fortune in watching the latter tangle himself in a purist economic vision that failed to translate past a chook or birthday cake, and with persistence and luck came the ‘sweetest victory’ of them all.

The last straw seems to be the recent underwhelming return on the MRRT. A paltry $126M return in its first 6 months seems to indicate that the forecasted $2B return over its first 2 years is, to put it mildly, unrealistic. The loophole of credits to mining companies for state royalties paid against any MRRT money has upset the independents and Greens (Rob Oakeshott in particular) to the point of a mooted amendment to the tax to close this loophole. Hardly an ideal scenario for the ALP heading into the never ending election campaign. Factor in more pissing in the tent by former PM Kevin Rudd and you have more ammo for an opposition that has done little heavy lifting in attacking the ALP’s execution of policy. I even found myself agreeing with George Brandis (yes, read it again it’s true) on Q and A last night as he reminded Chris Evans that ‘it was you that designed it’. Nowhere to run. And just quietly, when I agree on anything said by Brandis in criticism on the ALP, it is game over. You could even argue, as Rhys Muldoon tweeted cheekily, that the MRRT was effectively whatever number Marius Kloppers wrote on the back of a napkin. To change the MRRT now though appears to concede poor original planning (while keeping the Rudd fires burning), while staying put appears pig headed. It’s either a shit sandwich with white bread or one with wholemeal.

For all the discontent, scaremongering and protests the watered down version created, it would have been worth the opposition and vitriol to ram the Rudd version through to at least generate some return to shut the opposition up and limit their arguments to partisan policy lines.

This government has passed many good pieces of legislation under difficult conditions. It reacted quickly and appropriately to the GFC which the LNP remains amnesiac to, maintained sound economic KPIs that still makes other OECD nations envious only to fluff their lines again and again. Poor economic KPIs, with interest rates and unemployment high mean your hands are tied. To not navigate through the electoral period with what Joe Hockey described as  ‘good numbers’  is the real tragedy of this government.

There seems no other path than mutual scare campaigns, with the LNP afforded enough momentum to issue costings late in the process and without due consideration and scrutiny.

I only hope that there is a birthday cake, 2013 style.

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