No second prize
I heard about a person who had a broken heart
With nothing to drive him on, no hope no spark no flame
He couldn't see at all, tears they were blinding him
He kept it all inside, the guilt and all the pain
You know I say I tried to warn him
They had him backed up against the wall
I hope I'm not too late
No one can tell you exactly what you have gotta be
You've got to stand your ground and fight to save your life
It may be hard but ooh hoo it's the only way
Always remembering there ain't no second prize
There ain't no second prize
- Jimmy Barnes No Second Prize
Acknowledging the risk of sounding like Irfan Yusuf in interspersing political commentary with songs from the '80s, that is what occurred to me while reading this.
The Greens must surely know that Tony Abbott doesn't want a consolation prize - he wants to be Prime Minister. He doesn't particularly care about bloody parental leave anyway (Abbott is proud of his utter lack of understanding why all pregnant women aren't kept housewives).
Of his other policies, none are superior or more attractive to the Greens. The possible exception is the "Green Army", which would largely comprise and benefit the Greens' base - and as a supplement to environment policies rather than the substitute that Abbott intended. By the time Brown came to offer such an olive branch, so many policies would have been passed that would so offend the conservatives (gay relationships, carbon pricing, anything Ken Henry) that they'd vote against it out of spite.
Tony Abbott gave it his best shot, sticking to those lines you've got to say to get elected, keeping a straight face. He curbed most of his rightwing tendencies - his big chance to become Prime Minister and barely a scintilla of Battlelines in it. He cut out the ad-libs, which he felt comfortable using when backgrounding the press gallery over the years (gave his utterances a whiff of authenticity), but for some reason they turned on him when he started saying the same stuff publicly. Where did it get him? He's in the worst position you can put a Manichean mind in: neither here nor there.
A five-seat deficit would be an honourable loss. 74-76 with rural ex-Nats shunning the conservatives reflects on him personally: Windsor and Oakeshott were not the only voters reluctant to give him carte blanche. All this jowl-wobbling outrage from Pyne and Bolt must be seen in this light, except if there's subsequently a possibility that the balance might change.
Keeping Julie Bishop as deputy is a pathetically weak move on Abbott's part. There was nothing to praise her for. She hasn't mastered the foreign policy brief at all: she seriously believes that foreign policy begins and ends with boat people. When Rudd first became PM he was criticised for snubbing Japan: I would expect that the shadow foreign minister has been to Tokyo half a dozen times by now and has good relations across the political spectrum of that country. Greg Sheridan would be praising her to the skies if she was halfway capable as shadow minister for foreign affairs. Kevin Rudd leapt to the Prime Ministership from that role, after a similar tenure it it to Bishop's. Maybe Bishop isn't stupid, but the fact that she's not across the issues shows her priorities are skewiff.
Andrew Robb or Joe Hockey as deputy would have kicked Abbott up the backside when he started sulking or
Positioning Julie Bishop as deputy is like positioning the guns of Singapore before World War II: the wrong thing in the wrong position, and everyone who thinks otherwise has already been proven wrong.
Mr Abbott attacked Ms Gillard, saying she was as illegitimate as her government because she had been installed by factions and then by independents. "It is a government that's utterly without a mandate," he said.Whereas Tony Abbott was installed by the Minchin-Abetz right after Turnbull got too moderate for them, and seemed perfectly happy to have the same independents hand government to him.
Coalition MPs, furious that Mr Windsor and Mr Oakeshott sided with Labor, lined up to demand the end of the arrangement and predicted its early demise.The idea that the independents are conservative, the Libs and Nats are conservative, so let's have a nasty do-nothing conservative government is an idea that has run its course. Why keep banging on about it? You just look desperate, like you only had one idea and can't accept that it's gone, gone.
"This is an illegitimate government that is inherently unstable," Mr Hockey said.
The Liberal senator George Brandis implied corruption by saying the government had "as much legitimacy as the Pakistani cricket team".
Brandis is like Alexander Downer: he thinks he's funny but he's just highlighting his own inadequacy. His team lost the game and can only redeem this by implying that they were duped out of a legitimate victory. This is where Brandis' sneer falls flat: Windsor and Oakeshott haven't lost, Labor hasn't lost, and the idea that this was all done to benefit hidden corporate interests is unworthy of Brandis (or it's one in the eye for those who regard Brandis highly). Brandis isn't just another Liberal Senator, he's deputy leader to Eric Abetz. It is Brandis, Abbott, Hockey and co who have dropped a number of easy catches and otherwise blown a tight Test.