Recently I published a post suggesting that the performance of the Rudd/Gillard governments in policy terms was actually quite impressive. On the other hand, Julia Gillard’s ability to sell that message has been spectacularly poor, for a variety of reasons some of which I don’t even understand.
Independent MP Tony Windsor made the same point on ABC Lateline last night:
EMMA ALBERICI: Why doesn’t the rest of the community share your perception that this is a good government? …
TONY WINDSOR: Well I think there’s a number of reasons for that. I think some parliamentarians, some commentators and quite a lot of the general public are still viewing this parliament through the prism of a majority parliament. It’s not a majority parliament and we haven’t had many minority governments in our history. So they’re still tending to see it as Labor-versus-Liberal, and they look at the Senate in a slightly different light because they’re used to that being slightly different.
I think the other reason – well there’s two other reasons, I think. Tony Abbott has addressed this parliament with the – sort of the objective to destroy it early on. That hasn’t happened. But that sort of aggressive no to opposition – no to everything that comes up, real opposition-style politics, so he’s been very effective in sort of driving the perception that there’s some sorta chaos going on in the Parliament. I think at the Government level, and this may be partly a reflection of some of the individuals or it might be just their being wary of the hung nature of a parliament, but they haven’t marketed a lot of their products very well. And there’s some very effective long-term policy initiatives in this parliament, more than I’ve seen in any one parliament that I’ve ever been in, whether it be Gonski, NDIS, the Murray-Darling, the National Broadband Network, some of the renewable energy/carbon pricing arrangements – very successful, but long term in their nature. The beneficiaries of a lot of these programs aren’t going to be by September 14; they’re going to be probably in two, five, 10, 20, 50 years’ time. And I think that’s shown an effective parliament, even though the Government may not have been able to market some of those things very effectively.
If you believe (as I certainly do) that most if not all of the listed reforms are important long-term achievements in the national interest, and that some of them will certainly be unwound by an Abbott government if it gets the chance, then what should you do?
My answer, whether you are a voter or a federal Labor politician, is that you install Kevin Rudd as leader ASAP. Even if you know that he is an unbearably nasty, narcissistic, micro-managing turd. Even if you know that he is a treacherous rat who sabotaged Labor’s chances at the 2010 election as a payback for Gillard’s treachery towards him. Even if you believe (as I do) that Julia Gillard is a decent and (in many ways) capable woman who has been unfairly maligned, often in a grossly sexist way.
It is almost unarguable that only Rudd gives the ALP a fighting chance of saving Labor’s policy legacy for future generations of Australians by preventing the Coalition from gaining an effective Senate majority:
If current polling continues, and Mr Abbott wins a majority in the House of Representatives, then to repeal the carbon tax he would need 39 votes in the Senate. Currently the Coalition controls 34 out of the 76 seats.
The Coalition will win another seat in Tasmania and is likely to claim Greens’ Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s South Australian seat, Mr Green said. That takes them to 36 votes – three shy of the majority needed to repeal the tax.
While the Coalition is unlikely to win any more Senate seats, it is likely the three extra seats it needs will be held by conservatives who oppose the carbon tax. Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan said the Coalition can count on his vote against it. That leaves only two more votes.
”The key benefit of minor right-wing parties being elected to the Senate is it gives the new Coalition government a negotiation path for legislation through the Senate that doesn’t involve talking to the Greens or Labor,” Mr Green said.
To get his way, Mr Abbott needs minor right-wing parties to swap preferences, and in several states he needs the left-wing vote to fall to historically low levels.
To control an extra Senate seat in Western Australia, Queensland or NSW, the combined first preference vote for Labor and the Greens would need to fall below 43 per cent.
Such plunges in the progressive vote almost never happen but Mr Green says it is likely in Western Australia and Queensland.
I’m certainly not suggesting that Rudd would be likely to sustain the 50% two-party preferred result suggested by this week’s Nielsen poll. However I am suggesting that he would almost certainly buttress the ALP’s 2PP vote and ensure that it does not fall below the critical 43% level where the Coalition gains effective control of the Senate. It’s time to elect a treacherous turd as Labor leader!