I’ll get to that. But in the meantime, this week in politics we are looking at water again. Kevin Rudd is off on a whistle-stop tour of the states before the premiers meet with the prime minister on Friday, and his approach should be straightforward.
If the provincial leaders can come to terms with John Howard’s Grand Plan, or only have their typical gripes at the margin, the ALP leader should offer the government his support. Water is far too grave an issue to play politics with for politics own sake, or even to risk being seen to do so.
If, on the other hand, there are serious substantive policy, technical or funding problems that can be sensibly explained to the public, Rudd should back the premiers and negotiate an alternative deal with them for when he becomes prime minister. Howard will have to come on board, or his Grand Plan will collapse amid the “blame game”.
Either way, this is a good opportunity for the alternative prime minister to show that he is a responsible national leader. All he has to do on the way to Friday is manage the news cycle, and the agenda sets itself up.
On other fronts, with the Bush Administration’s most likeable publicist for the Iraq war also in town Friday, this issue can safely go onto auto-pilot, where it may be relied upon to deliver the government more self-inflicted punches to the head.
What tickles, however, is the story about Rudd refusing to say where he’ll live if he becomes prime minister, not wishing to pre-emptively discuss the matter in all humility, while inferring he’d rather stay in Queensland. Sic him prime minister.
Update: It’s only Tuesday (morning), yet the Grand Water Plan continues to crumble and the government has delivered itself an unforced political uppercut straight to the chin over Iraq. What on earth is the government thinking? The extra troops is virtually nothing in the Iraq context and the announcement comes as Newspoll shows 68 per cent think the war not worth it, 67 per cent think an exit timetable should be set or the troops withdrawn immediately and, surprise, surprise, the Ruddster has a 68 per cent approval rating. What next? Howard will attack Rudd for refusing to live at Kirribili? Granted the prime minister is not politically barking mad, one can only surmise that the Iraq tokenism is a Cheney offer that he could not refuse.