Thursday, September 24, 2009

Libs Struggle As Kevin Struts The Stage

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is undoubtedly enjoying strutting the world's stage. Having had breakfast with former US President Bill Clinton on his (Mr Rudd's) birthday, he has bathed in the compliments of both Clinton and current US President Barak Obama, while being a co-host of the plenary meeting with world leaders. They will meet in Copenhagen in December where it is hoped that leaders will commit to some action on climate change.

Meanwhile Liberal Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has been relegated to speaking to conservative organisations, where he has been preaching to the converted about how the Labor Government's stimulus packages are not the reason Australia has done remarkably well in the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). This flies in the face of the opinions of Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry; Reserve Bank Governor, Glenn Stevens; myriad respected economists and business commentators; and voters. It was, according to Mr Turnbull, the (former) Liberal-National Government's "four pillars policy" about no mergers between the big 4 banks. He forgot to mention that this had been a "6 pillars" policy - 4 big banks, and Life Insurance companies AMP and National Mutual - instituted by then Labor PM Paul Keating, but unilaterally downgraded to just the 4 big banks by then Treasurer Peter Costello in 1997.

Mr Turnbull, and his Liberal Party, are also under pressure on Labor's proposed bill on Climate Change. The party is riven with disagreements, and has been challenged by Labor to come up with workable amendments by the end of October, before Parliament resumes for a short time in November. Kevin Rudd, and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, know that the Liberals will not be able to achieve this. If they vote down the bill, Kevin Rudd will have a reason to call a double dissolution election.

Such an election, if held in the first 6 months of 2010, could see The Greens, and Labor, improve their numbers in the Senate, with the Greens possibly holding the balance of power. The Liberal and National Coalition parties, and their conservative independent supporters, could be reduced to Senate also-rans. This is a real dilemma for the Liberals: risk losing Senate seats and Senate power and relevance, or vote for a climate change bill which is divides their party. Oh, what a feeling - not!