Is that all there is?

Far be it for me to jinx the race, but it’s hard not to think that that’s that. The government had one shot: drive economic management to the front of the nation’s mind via the rate rise, and then break opinion on the only ground still tilted its way.


You just have to read Missing Link to appreciate that the Prime Minister comprehensively stuffed up, with his sorry but no I don’t mean I apologise for I will only take credit so I’m not to blame routine. The trajectory was always a high-wire act, carrying sufficient risk to leverage the difference. As it happened, the PM crashed into himself coming the other way in mid-air and fell into the net. The game’s up. The stride’s been broken. The water has been muddied. The government’s difficult message has become garbled. The LNP’s re-election strategy is a smoking ruin.

We’ll have to wait to see how sentiment swings, of course. There’s no telling the mythical Australian punter’s mind. But it’s now hard to see any way for the PM to turn. Hope the cricket gets interesting. To think, it all looked so clever on PowerPoint.

6 thoughts on “Is that all there is?

  1. Two weeks is a long cliche in politics. Chinese opera doesn’t provide a suitable one.

    If the election has become a bit of a yawn then have a look at Carol Martin’s Touch Series painting which is an auction item for Labor’s Kalgoorlie campaign. For those who don’t remember, Carol was the first aboriginal woman elected to any parliament in Australia.

  2. It’s a bit like the fifth sequel for a movie that should never have been made.

    The new character whitewashes the show; we know all of the villain’s script lines. Dare I say it, these pot boilers end in some sort of huge explosion? Wait! Who’s that? Nelson! Brendan Nelson! emerging through the smoke. It lives!

    Feel the heroic power.

  3. Johnboy also has the albatross of ‘work choices’ hanging round his neck. It does look as though Johnboy will be asked to spend the next few years in a bucolic setting, complete with running stream, relaxing in an easy chair. I only hope he doesn’t pen his memoirs. Our national pantheon is overflowing with champions who each in their own way saved the world from disaster. We’ve had Hawke, Keating, Fraser, and of course Latham who have steered the ship away from the rocks so many times one could imagine that punches were thrown as each of those gentlemen fought for his turn at the wheel.

    Please spare us Johnboy. My local bookseller says that he is carrying so many masterpieces from our political elite that he has no more room in his ‘Fantasy and Fiction’ section for another bio.

  4. Wouldn’t it be good if a new level of legislature was created?

    The Council of Passed Elders could meet, once a month, in Canberra in the old Parliament House. This exclusive club would only be open to living ex-PM’s and former opposition leaders.

    All continuing pensions would be reliant on their attendance with fairness test on health issues etc available. It would need to be available for live watching and decisions treated in the same way as The Youth Parliament.

  5. At the end of the day, perhaps ironically given this administration, I don’t think the LNP have anything substantial to sell.

    Is this a failure of capitalist thinking on their behalf? The idea of serving a political demand – is it the same as serving a market demand?

    Is it the case that the political ‘market’ embraces more considerations than the capitalist market? That people only really feel comfortable with a capitalist market if it is enshrouded by other qualities? Is it the case that political leaders are given the tick if they hold forth those other qualities, and spurned in whatever degree if they don’t?

    Let’s look at the context of this. The LNP have not provided anything of a social case other than the capitalist consumerism ideal and the ‘trespassers will be prosecuted’ sign on the stake at the borders of it. (For some, that reads also as “fuck off”). Oh, and a one minute to midnight wordfart to the Aborigines.

    In that environment just the mere verbalising of something embracing an otherness to this will be heard as loud and seen as vibrant. Rudd commenced his Op leadership with those very words – a few, simple, phrases. “We don’t live in an economy”, for instance, and so on. Nutting out the questions of substance of this falls outside of the basket the punter holds out, though obviously welcomed the moreso if it proves substantial – but the mere speaking of the qualities sought elsewise will put welcome gifts in the punter’s belief, if not reach, if not hand. Is there accuracy in this?

    If so, Rudd’s approach – the few differences he’s made, from the start – has been received far louder and clearer than us tragics might realise. And as with anything received after straining for its arrival, once received, people change, and with that comes confidence to criticise what was given before.

    Added to that, I’d guess, is that during Howard’s time the times have changed beyond him. People want amusement, information, results, escapism, quicker. They feel power at their fingertips, moreso, in their personal lives. Don’t like it? Switch the channel, click a link, press a button. Boning on about an amorphous mass that is the economy does not show up on that type of radar.

    The questions now are whether it’s too late for Howard to come up with a product to sell in the LNP launch, and if he can, and whether it holds the otherness qualities the public wants (if this is accurate), and whether they’ll buy from him again.

    It certainly seems like there are too many boxes there to tick, but it still doesn’t make the case that the voter’s pencil moves away from the one on the ballot paper.

    Perhaps it’s tragic to regard it so, but it’s a fascinating election. Seminal, as ever, in its own way. One thing is certain – it will in good time provide many new answers. Thank the bloody hell for that.

  6. Dipping in again, as summation of possibility:

    The LNP have promulgated a consumerist mindset and have marginalised themselves on account of it – with nothing substantial (or demanded, if you like) to sell, to boot.

    Chris, some while ago after Rudd took over, you made mention of the power of television (as reality, creating reality) – it was an engaging concept; two weeks out, given it’s a heightened moment to request this with things presumably to erupt that way, any chance timewise to explore this further?

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