Media Spectacle Continues

Oakeshott’s Post-Partisan Idea

You have to feel a bit of sympathy for the independents upon whose heads the formation of government is going to fall. 2 out of 3 of them have had cross words with the Nats. 2 out of 3 want the NBN and the Coalition isn’t really looking to budge too far from their low-rent nickel-and-dime plan. At the same time Bob Katter is making noises that he can still work with people “he despises, if it’s for the common good,” which is an interesting way of saying, he can work with the Coalition who have Warren Truss and Barnaby Joyce whom Bob Katter despises so much in their fold.

The irony may be that the policies that best serve them and their electorate belong to the ALP and not the Coaltion; but because their support base leans towards the Coalition, they’re going to get a lot of flack in their own electorates for supporting the ALP based on the policies at hand.

It’s a tough choice, but somehow I think they have to go back and say, “I’m going to give you what you want without giving you what you say you want.”

Whether they have the brains or wherewithal to couch that argument and make it sit, remains to be seen. If they can’t then, they’ll go with Tony and Coalition and much swallowed personal pride. You sort of wonder why they bother standing as independents and not as part of the Coalition.

All the same, this dilemma has forced Oakeshott to come up with the idea of a mix-n-match government that takes the best from both sides.

He floated the idea of a government formed by MPs from all sides, for example former Coalition environment minister Malcolm Turnbull serving under the Labor prime ministership of Ms Gillard, or Mr Rudd in Mr Abbott’s cabinet.

“It is a cheeky option,” he told ABC Radio. “I do think here is a moment where we can explore the edges, and explore outside the box.”

Mr Oakeshott said it was his understanding that Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott actually got on and were friends.

“That is not presented in Australian public life, and it should be.”

It got derided, but it actually has some merit in the sense that sometimes war cabinets resort to this sort of thing to have the best talent at hand. It certainly makes some kind of sense to have a war government in the context of  a hung parliament, just to see how good both sides can provide the talent. Tony Abbott dismissed it, and Julia Gillard laughed it away, but Oakeshott’s point actually is a point that needed to be made. It’s worth considering what can be accomplished with the talent at hand, fully.

They’re Kidding Themselves Aren’t They?

The SMH is reporting the Coalition’s odds of forming a minority government has increased because Andrew Wilkie might be taking Dennison after all.

Analysts have given the crucial Tasmanian seat of Denison to the independent Andrew Wilkie after he drew 1375 votes ahead of Labor’s Jonathan Jackson.

If Mr Wilkie wins the seat it will push the number of independents in the new parliament to four, adding confusion to an already complex situation.

Neither the coalition nor Labor will reach the 76 lower house seats needed to govern in their own right.

Instead, both will have to negotiate support for a minority government with a crossbench that could include six MPs.

The coalition is in the box seat with 72 seats so far, to Labor’s 71.

Hmmm. The SMH’s front page has it as 72 Labor, 70 Coalition. BTW I find it highly unlikely that Andrew Wilkie will be siding with the Coalition. That seat under Andrew Wilkie and ALP are interchangeably against the Coalition.

Don’t Get Ahead Of Yourself Little Man

Gerard Hendeson is trumpeting the virtues of Tony Abbott by dumping on Abbott’s critics.

On Channel Nine’s election night coverage, Labor parliamentary secretary Bill Shorten maintained that Abbott was part of “the Second XI of the John Howard team”.

Can you believe it? In just nine months as Opposition Leader, Abbott’s political tactics contributed to a Labor panic that saw Rudd junked for Gillard. Then Abbott’s campaign ensured, at the very best, Gillard may lead a minority government.

This although no first-term government has lost office in Australia since 1931 and Australia probably has the strongest economy among Western nations. Only someone in serious denial would believe Abbott underachieved in the campaign.

In this election, the voice of the voters invariably carried greater weight than the analysis of many experts. This was evident in the success of the Sky News people’s forums held at the Rooty Hill RSL Club in Sydney and the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane. It was evident when the views of voters were reported. Take Anne Fay, a Victorian farmer, who complained about the waste in the Building the Education Revolution program. She told The Australian: “We are farmers out here. If we ran our business like the government ran the BER, we would not be here.”

Then there was Paul Murphy, a small businessman from Illawong. Responding to claims that Abbott worried feminists, Murphy wrote to the Herald about the young women he has employed for more than two decades. He said they were primarily “concerned with conceiving, managing work and kids and running households”. Murphy wrote that most of the women in the outer suburbs of his acquaintance “have strong circles of friends and generally hold ‘old-fashioned views’ “.

The left-wing community action group Get Up! ran advertisements against Abbott advising women not to vote for the Coalition. Millions of women rejected this advice. And millions of men and women failed to respond to warnings from the likes of Professor Robert Manne and the author Paul Collins that Abbott did not deserve support because he is a conservative Catholic. This used to be called sectarianism.

You get the drift of the article. The thing is, it flies in the face of the evidence at hand. If Tony Abbott were such a resounding success, how come there’s a hung parliament? You don’t get prizes for coming second in footy. You sure as hell don’t get first prize for leading your party to a hung parliament.

As for the used-to-be-called-sectarianism part, Abbott himself distanced himself from it, so as not to let his own beliefs become a talking point. If the point of all this discipline that Henderson praises was to hide his true feelings from the electorate then I guess he’s a great success, but I don’t really see how that makes him a better candidate than ‘Real Julia’ – and neither did the rest of the electorate.

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