Yes, I know the “triple bypass” label refers to the number of times Howard rose as Liberal leader, rather than his number of election victories. But it’s still a good headline for a post about the latest Newspoll. Chris Sheil won’t be happy, but he’ll probably bear up under the strain given the Wallabies’ great win on Saturday night.
Nevertheless, I don’t like Latham Labor’s chances as things are moving at the moment, especially given the angst certain to be created amongst many core Labor supporters (not to mention Greens) by the seemingly-impending decision to support the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement. This isn’t a classic mega-wedge like Tampa/children overboard, but its likely effect in creating internal Labor squabbling and negating a broad preference deal with the Greens makes it an undoubted plus for Howard.
Latham should have asked his Senate Committee members to keep using Peter Cook’s cancer as an excuse for delay, and the lack of a final committee report as a pretext for further deferral of Senate deliberation on the FTA Bills. Any public backlash on that sort of manouevring would have been minimal IMO. There’s no broad public sentiment in favour of the FTA, and there are other ways of combatting the “indecisive, anti-American” label Howard would have tried to affix in those circumstances.
Election announcement next weekend? September