A guest post by Craig Watson:
My wife and I moved to Canberra, Australia from New Zealand a month ago for work. Always the political geek, I decided to make the most of my rostered day off (yay for the nine day fortnight!) and attend todays sitting of the Federal Parliament.
For those of you not up to date all is interesting in the land of the Labor led 43rd Australian Parliament. I guess it has been this way since the independents and greens played off Tony and Julia after the election. I am sure most of you will remember that Tony Abbot’s Coalition had the better numbers but Julia and the Labor team were happy to offer more sweeteners and after many many days, nights and special news bulletins the Welsh-Australian playmaker wrangled in the Independents (ironically ‘country’ and possibly more right than central left) to pull together a majority that holds the balance of power by….one.
So for three main reasons (though there are many more) Julia faces her biggest challenge, not leadership like Phil back home, but in the balance of power. I would like to elaborate my view on these three points. I should say I am no political insider, nor do I hold a political degree, I am just an observer with a right leaning tendency.
(1) The Union Sex scandal. Possibly the biggest threat in actual terms in this majority of one seat is an MP from NSW. I will not elaborate on Craig Thomson’s misgivings, here is a link http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/10082592/alp-fears-poll-outweighs-scandal/ , it seems the biggest factor is not what Craig has done (I think Union’s taking the financial piss is less that shocking, aye Matt McCarten??) but that Julia is sticking by her man. The reality is that if she does not then the marginal seat may well swing right and cause a snap election with the dissolution of the majority to hold parliament together. So really Osama Bin Laden as a Labor MP would have her support right now if it kept her in the thrones of power.
(2) The Convoy of No Confidence. Okay so this one lacked the balls the opposition was hoping for (far less trucks and supporters), but the reality is that there is a real undercurrent of disillusionment with the current administration and the general public is well and truly over it. The fact the a non-political group hailing from all over the country felt the need to drive for over a week to make their feelings heard is a pretty credible sign of discontent. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/convoys-mixed-reactions/2265581.aspx
(3) K-Rudd…… need I say more?
So back to my original statement of ‘Labor gone by November’. The rumour going around is that Craig Thomson will be forced to stand down. This will force a by-election in his seat and early polls suggest that it will not remain a Labor seat. Labor will lose it’s mandate to govern and hence….. gone by November?