Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Independents Present 7-Point Plan

The key independents have today given both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott their 7-point plan. While it has not been released publicly, Julia Gillard has indicated her commitment to a full term of Government should they support her as PM. I suspect that at least the following are on the agenda: Broadband Internet, climate change,  regional health programs & infrastructure, and the tax on very large mining profits. Ms Gillard reportedly took to the meeting a portfolio of things her government (well, the last Labor Government, led by Kevin Rudd) had done for each of their electorates. It will have required at least 1 backflip - on climate change, where she had said she would not act during the coming term of government. There is a level of expediency involved, but perhaps not as much as with Tony Abbott & the Liberal-National coalition.

In largely agreeing to their requests/demands, and announcing so publicly, Ms Gillard has really given Tony Abbott a "Hobson's choice". If he agrees to the requests as Ms Gillard has, Mr Abbott will perform at least 2 significant backflips: broadband policy, where he will largely have to agree to the National Broadband Network of optic fibre, and action on climate change, which he denies for political, but not scientific, reasons.

I expect the meeting with Mr Abbott to have been rather tense, even without National Party Leader Warren Truss being involved. He's been sidelined because of the none-too-secret loathing from the National Party towards its 3 former members. Mr Abbott's choice is to largely accept the Independents' requests, while trying to dilute them, or risk not becoming PM. His earlier statement about an Independent speaker wasnoting other than a statement of political reality - if he becomes PM in a minority government, he does not want to appoint one of his members, Liberal or Natinal, as Speaker of the House, and essentially lose that vote. That stattement was driven by politics; altruism never entered his head.

Does Mr Abbott stick to his political principles and say 'No' to some things, or abandon them for the sake of possible political power. Political expediency is a strong driving force - quite possibly stronger than Mr Abbot's, or the Coalition parties', ethics.