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Rudd takes a hammering

Kevin Rudd faces a doubtful future as leader of the Labor Party and eventually I hope Julia Gillard will replace him. She is smarter than Rudd and has more spine. Things from here can only get worse for Rudd given his history of exaggerated claims but limited achievement. His popularity is sagging and, as the polls today suggest,  the Labor Party faces receding prospects of being re-elected.   I cannot see how Rudd can abandon the foolish resource rent “super tax” without totally loosing face – the Senate will probably help him by rejecting it.  Despite the foolish populism used to support this tax more of those reported as having been polled today opposed the tax (47%) than supported it (44%).

Forget the stories about the diminishing popularity of action on climate change. 58% of Australians support an ETS – a figure that has risen 2 points since February.   It requires considerably less courage to deal with issues of climate change than it did in the past with such things as microeconomic reform and tariff cuts – there was less public support for these reforms. How can any Labor supporter concerned with climate change – recall that Rudd described it as the greatest moral issue of this generation – not be outraged at the deceit of this man?

I have long been sceptical of Rudd for precisely the reasons he is currently on the nose – he is a politician without conviction for whom symbolism looms larger than reality.  There is an excellent summing up of Rudd by Tom Switzer in The Age today. To summarise – it is hard to understand the convictions of someone who has none.

The polls themselves show (i) a marked switch to the Greens who now account for 13% of voting intentions, (ii) no significant first preference switch to the Coalition  but (iii) a 6% point swing against Labor since the 2007 polls.  In addition (iv) most young voters – 18 to 24 year olds –  choose Labor or the Greens (56% of votes) while (v) of older voters  – 55+ in age – 59% vote for the Coalition or the Greens.

I take no joy from the decline in the Labor Party’s fortunes since the odious alternative is a worse government led by Tony Abbott who reveals in his remarks to schoolchildren that he is a simple climate change skeptic who will say anything no matter how foolish to discourage action on climate issues. But I am encouraged by the rising support for the Greens – this should put pressure on both political parties to get their environmental act together.

14 comments to Rudd takes a hammering

  • rog

    Harry, you first sentence is about as silly as your lisping dwarf joke – but it could be funnier.

  • hc

    Rog, I thought the lisping dwarf joke was silly enough to be pretty good. Things will move slowly perhaps but eventually the clown Rudd will be replaced. Gillard leads the field.

  • observa

    “I am encouraged by the rising support for the Greens – this should put pressure on both political parties to get their environmental act together.”
    Whilst I have no problem with Greens putting environmental pressure on the majors, I have a problem with LGQ methodology encouraging political auction handouts like pink batts, solar panels and hybrid subsidies. Simply put the environment needs true countervailing market power, rather than the divine whims of elected kings.

    Speaking of the current king, it’s his lack of any coherent direction that is increasingly apparent to the serfdom. Putting to one side the great moral imperative of our time here’s a classic example of some lesser moral imperatives-
    He must think we’re from Barcelona- ie we need to tax them evil foreign gold miners raping our sabines, but dig deep to subsidise the Goldman Sachs types, who we were lectured, are responsible for all things that go bump in the night. Que??

    However the sword of damocles hanging over all their heads is demographics and the death of Keynesianism described best here-
    The Austrians are going to be proved right all along, it’s just that an unprecedented demographic bulge would hide the truth for a generation, but that same demographics will blow even Minsky away any day now. If you think thin air trading is on the nose now, you aint seen nothing yet. Perhaps it’s an ill wind that will blow environmental thinking some long term good. I’m ever the optimist about that.

  • conrad

    I have to agree with Rog. Julia Gillard — a populist bogan with no ideas and who should go down with Krudd. I’m sure they can find someone better than that (it’s hard to think of worse).

  • Sir Henry Nostradamus

    1. It is highly unlikely that Rudd came to the idea to postpone the ETS all by himself, unilaterally, and did it because he is gutless. This in itself is nonsensical because such a move would require a fair amount of bottle. No, Rudd is an apparatchik and the party apparat decided that once the Liberals polarised on the issue and sacked its leader to then come out and oppose the ETS, the ALP realised it would be faced with fighting an election on the ETS with a major vulnerability its own heartlands of rural Queensland, rural Victoria and rural NSW with ALp seats exactly and only where the coal is being mined. It is a battle the ALP didn’t need once the Liberals provided an alternative. (With Malcolm, there would have been no point in a vote switch to the opposition). But once Rudd jettisoned the ETS, Abbott’s mantra of a “great big tax on everything” evaporated and the rural ALP seats have gone back to sleep.

    2. Rudd himself does not stand for anything. Like John Howard, even less, probably, he is entirely self-serving.

    3. Yes, the polls are a reflection of scales falling from some people’s eyes. But combined with (a) the new cig tax – smokers also vote and they tend to be ALP supporters; (b) interest rate rises, the support for Rudd collapsed. Recall the interest rate rises also coincided with a Howard suffering at the polls.

    4. The bad polls have squat all to do with Kev’s new attitude to asylum seekers (both parties are retailing bullshit on a major scale with regard to this).

    5. The ALP will win the election but with reduced majority. What will help the ALP is the Coalition’s shifty attempts to bring back son of work choices. The unions will again mount a campaign and that will push the ALP over the line.

    You read it here first Harry.

  • hc

    Fair go Conrad most of them are populist bogans – on the Liberal and defintely National Party side as well. Gillard has to support this clown – it’s her job.

  • MAGB

    “In addition (iv) most young voters – 18 to 24 year olds – choose Labor or the Greens (56% of votes) while (v) of older voters – 55+ in age – 59% vote for the Coalition or the Greens.”

    It is the old story – if you’re not a socialist when you’re 20 you have no heart, and if you are a socialist when you’re 40, you have no brains.

  • Michael

    With a majority of bogans in the electorate being a bogan populist is a winnah.

  • derrida derider

    Michael nails it – no-one ever lost ofice underestimating the intelligence of the swinging voter. That’s not contempt for all or even most voters, just an acknowledgement that engaged and knowledgeable people tend to have a political allegiance, so the minority whose votes swing are precisely the disengaged know-nothing bogans.

    Harry, I can’t see why you’d think a resources rent tax is so foolish – did you actually read the Henry Review analysis of the issue? It’s a damn sight better structured than the royalty regime it replaces.

  • hc

    Derrida, However you dress this thing up it is a massive impost on the miniming sctor. The will reduce the present value of this sector by 10%. Yes there are exploration incentives to conceal devastating effects on incentives to explore and a rationalisation of the royalty system. But no matter how Ruudd frames it – a massive slug.

  • rog

    I think you underestimate the damage that the opposition is capable of inflicting on itself. Already we have Abbott saying that the earth has been cooling since the time of Jesus Christ and Minchin saying that the only thing wrong with Workchoices is that people didnt like it. Once Abbott is pressed for his views and policy on climate change we can see another crack developing with Turnbull and the Libs fear tactics on refugees just will not work. Plus we will have the nightly scenario where a hesistant and reluctant delivery by Abbott will be overshadowed by the statesmen like oratory of Turnbull

    I would hesitate to forecast that the libs will claw back any seats

  • Nick

    A massive slug – yes !

    And good on them for doing it.

    These are our non renewable resources.

    Of course we should get a large cut of the profits made.

    Criminal that previous governments let our resources be extracted for so little return to us.

  • observa

    You’re right Sir Henry that Rudd’s great moral imperative backdown was not gutless given his past utterings, but not to recognise the obvious that Oz couldn’t possibly go it alone post Cope, would be sheer stupidity. Nevertheless Abbott will be comfy with Turnbull back in the parliament daring those opposite to raise their great moral imperative anytime they like. Indeed that’s the very reason he could make his comeback as he did.

    Rudd will bleed continuously over boat arrivals with his working families already under the pump with interest rates and rising prices generally. Couple that with housing prices for their kids and a general antithesis toward a BIG crowded Oz with creaking infrastructure,water hospitals, etc and these sorts of reports will be slow death by a thousand cuts-
    To cauterize the wounds he must go as late as possible in the cyclone season with a natural lull in the human tide, but the longer he leaves it the greater the risk of another global financial meltdown which would be worse now his deficit powder is wet and interest rates going through the roof could be fatal.

    The resource tax grab is probably smart soft target tax grabbing that will win as many plaudits as frowns but the risk is a global meltdown and crashing resource prices and then the whole fiscally conservative edifice collapses. Then the loud screams from the State Premiers to ditch the tax altogether to get their golden goose laying again. Another policy backdown won’t be a good look.

    One thing the resource tax grab will do, is provide an unexpected windfall resource for Abbott and the Libs to nightly parade all the past statements of Rudd before the punters in a campaign and contrast them with his achievements. That may well concentrate the minds of those that matter in the marginals. Still a week’s a long time in politics as they say and the Opposition has to keep it all together too.

  • Peter Patton

    Why does Melbourne so full of bogans, racists, gang-killers, and low-scoring schools?

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