07 October 2009

Fly away Peter

Updates to previous posts:

Update to post of 3 Oct: Dutton is starting to overplay his hand, it would seem. Gutless little prima donna! No self-respecting organisation should have to put up with this treatment, not from someone who has taken more than he has given back.

If he's such a scrapper, if he really was PM material, he'd fight for his political career. He'd take on beef-witted yokels like McIver, Slipper and Somlyay and leave such a trail of carnage through the LNP that it would have to be fundamentally reorganised. Stamping one's foot like Veruca Salt is not on.

The Rudd Government is vulnerable on issues like health, but I suspect it will take Liberal Health Ministers in NSW and WA a few years to establish credibility in this area. Right now, any exchange in Parliament - an irrelevance that only Annabel Crabb and "parliamentary theatre" junkies care about - would go like this:

The Shadow Minister for Health (Mr Dutton): Would the Minister inform the House about [very serious health issue, highly embarrassing to government]?

The Minister for Health (Ms Roxon): Oh yeah well at least I fancy my chances at preselection.

Guffaws from government benches, such wit! Squeals of delight from Annabel Crabb and Christian Kerr that their next columns have been written for them and they can get to the Holy Grail early, Michelle Grattan starts working into the night to give this some gravitas and fails, debate continues in a similar vein other issues until House adjourns.

Update to post of 6 Oct: Peter Costello has thrown his "weight" into this debate. First, there's the learned helplessness that catapulted him into the Lodge. Then there's the undergraduate "boo-ringgg!", in which he unwittingly invites comparisons with the next-biggest reform of its type, the GST. In describing the carbon credit exchange he sounds like a horseman out of Banjo Paterson trying to explain the motor car.

The thing about the bet is not just that it's a straw man (as if it won't change after the event - preparations always change after the event). It completely destroys the idea that Peter Costello was fiscally prudent. Talking about gambling big money like that also goes down well with abstemious Liberal voters in Melbourne's conservative eastern suburbs, and with anti-gambling campaigners like his brother. Way to go out: trash what little you ever stood for. You've really set up Fifield, too.

Worst of all is the flat-out denial of any need to deal with the issues surrounding Copenhagen until they come at us after the event: it's that engagement which must start before and during Copenhagen, so that our political system is better able to develop a comprehensive Australian response that doesn't cause or lead to social and economic upheaval. The whole idea of the climate change issue is that you prepare for events before they happen, not afterwards.

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