Today is election day in Queensland. By all rights the Liberal National Party ought to be returned to power with an overwhelming majority. Three years ago they hammered Labor who went from 44 seats to 7, yes 7 seats. The reasons are obviously complex but the fact that Labor had privatised $19 billion of state assets no doubt had considerable effect. The Liberal National party won 78 seats. You would think that they would remain in power for many terms to come.
But something strange is happening in Australian politics. Labor suddenly smells of roses. And Tony Abbott clearly has no clothes on, metaphorically speaking.
Abbott has slumped from crisis to crisis. He is at the stage where his reign appears to be terminal. He has none of John Key’s EQ, he started off by deeply offending women and insulting anyone who cares about the environment and he has not stopped since. His decision to award a knighthood to a former Nazi supporting member of the British Aristocracy on Australia Day while not telling his colleagues has not gone down well. Even Monarchists struggle to understand the rationale and the fact he did not discuss the proposal with members of his own party has caused considerable damage to his prospects of remaining Prime Minister. And his colleagues are now at the stage where they are publicly floating kites, even his supposedly loyal deputy Julia Bishop. Abbott’s future in politics appears to be as secure as Mike Sabin’s..
Things are so bad that he was asked not to campaign for the LNP. And even Rupert Murdoch wants to get rid of him and thinks that he is “languishing”, “looking flaky” and not “hard enough”. There is no greater sin than failure in the eyes of a right wing megalomanic.
Queensland LNP has its own problems. Premier Campbell Newman is deeply unpopular and is in danger of losing his seat. He is behind former Labor Minister Kate Jones on first preferences and he may need to win a majority of preference votes off a resurgent number of green voters. Good luck with that. And his MPs clearly believe that they are born to rule and this is a real turn off to the electorate. One of them even on the day that Charlie Hebdo occurred had someone arrested for wearing a “I’m with stupid” t-shirt. Freedom of speech clearly has a different meaning for them. And they have reverted to the classic sign that things are going badly, they have started to make shit up. They really are bringing the art of politics into an especially bad light.
Labor has promised this time not to privatise anything. As they should.
I can’t help but think that Kevin Rudd caused huge damage to the Labor movement in Australia through his ego driven attempts to regain power. Julia Gillard was an intelligent dedicated Prime Minister and it reflects poorly on Rudd that he undermined her so viciously in pursuit of power and also revenge. It caused huge damage to Labor’s reputation and its support. But now that Rudd is gone Labor can get on with things and start to concentrate on the issues that matter.
Update: for an entertaining if terrifying review of Newman’s reign I recommend the following video. H/t Wensleydale.
Further updates via twitter:
— The Australian (@australian) January 31, 2015
Update: ABC’s live feed is here. And Labor is ahead after 8% of the vote …