Sunday, June 19, 2011

Problems and Polls

It has been a bad few days for the Federal Labor Party: its Primary vote in a poll is down to 27%; Kevin Rudd is preferred PM over Julia Gillard by 60% to 31%; Kevin Rudd had provided multiple media interviews about Thursday’s 1-year anniversary of being dumped as Prime Minister, and there are reports he will have an anniversary party to remember his “assassination”, as Prime Minister. Following the flurry of media stories, a number of Labor people have anonymously suggested he should be sacked as Minister for Foreign affairs & Trade.
Kevin Rudd has been accused of being arrogant, and a bully. Tony Abbott has accused Julia Gillard of being arrogant. Tony Abbott is arrogant and a bully; and so was  John Howard. Many leaders, as with many elite sports people, have an arrogant, confident streak in them. However, it would have been in his party’s interests had Kevin Rudd declined all interviews about the events of June 2010, despite media interest. It is certainly not in his party’s interest for him to hold an anniversary of assassination party.
Tony Abbott continues to effectively cause the government grief. His relentless use (misuse?) of the media for negativism has resulted in a significant rise in his, and the Coalition’s preference. The Labor Government’s problems include:
Problem Concerns
Immigration Off-shore processing proposals at Timor failed. Manus Island seems unlikely at this stage. The Malaysian Solution, with possibly 800 refugees being sent, with 4000 UN-determined refugees in exchange is seen as a ‘bad deal’, the UN has so far refused to sanction it and Malaysia is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Human Rights. Nauru is being relentlessly pushed by Tony Abbott, because they used it when in government. This is why Labor will not use it. Abbott also does NOT mention the criticism from the UNHCR on its Pacific Solution. 
Many voters have a perception that the Coalition is better/tougher on asylum-seekers than Labor, and Abbott's repetition is designed to reinforce that perception.
Carbon Tax One of the problems here has been the required input from the Independent MP’s Andrew Wilkie and Rob Oakeshott; and The Greens. It means that the government cannot publicly discuss the details, and uncertainty is political poison.
The Economy It’s not the Government’s fault, with so many external influences, and so much information being made available to people through news reports. However, the Coalition tries to trade on its perceived economic record, even though they caused considerable pain to homebuyers because the last 7 movements in interest rates were increases when the Coalition was led by John Howard.
Factionalism The existence of Labor’s Left & Right factions is well known. At present, the right faction, which installed left-wing Julia Gillard, still dominates. While the same is true of the Liberal Party, they have hidden their power struggles better. The exception was in NSW in 2007, when the extreme Right, reportedly led by Alex Hawke, caused significant media problems for the NSW Liberal Party. While Labor’s factions are known about, even Tony Abbott acknowledged their use in the Liberal Party, in an interview with the ABC’s Tony Jones. The Liberal Party factions are currently showing more discipline than Labor.
Media While Tony Abbott fronts the media almost daily with tightly-scripted, staged, TV & radio grabs, Labor is NOT responding with their own message, explanations and counters, or certainly not responding with effective coverage. Consequently,  people who see or hear any news, hear Tony Abbott, and the message is repetitive. They then see little of nothing from the government, and, understandably, they develop a perception that Tony Abbott is better.

While these are not all the problems facing the Federal Labor Government, they are significant. Members of Julia Gillard’s Government need to display much more discipline, and loyalty to the party. Any chance at good government requires it, and less effort on internal factional business. Tony Abbott is running a small target campaign, with very little policy. It is a tactic that was very successful for Barry O’Farrell in NSW, and he has unleashed a right-wing attack early in his term. Public Servants and the IRC have been the main targets.They also need to work towards solving all of the above problems, else the right faction will lead Labor to defeat at the next election, even though Julia Gillard is from the left faction.