May 26, 2007

with rg away, pollies will play

rg stepped away from the computer for a week, during which time several interesting things happened on the australian political front, such as:

1) feverish checking of diaries by the pm and opposition leader as to whether they were free to meet the dalai lama during upon his visit. rg was particularly infuriated with kevin rudd's response of "me-too-ism", stating no meeting would take place only to renege upon hearing howard would consult his diary. rudd of all people should have taken a more diplomatic approach to set him self apart, not copy; he is a man of great diplomatic experience, and as such should clearly see the importance of extending respect to dignitaries of all walks, rather than fearing alienation from one particular country, in this case china. moreover, rg has no doubt china has been on the receiving end of such politically fragile diplomatic meetings (with rudd no doubt) and would ultimately survive this perceived insult. rg doesn't think the public really cared too much over the brian bourke shenanigans a few months ago, but the dalai lama is someone the public connect with more and not handling this correctly is, in rg's opinion, the first significant stumble for labour.

2) the citizenship test. need i say more? with a government constantly dribbling about mateship, a fair go and what's un-australian, rg struggles to understand how the irony of testing for these 'values' goes unnoticed. the test is a spoof, but rg looks forward to the government's book upon which the test is purportedly based - "the australian way of life", apparently being drafted by the immigration department. rg urges readers to bear in mind this is gospel (is that judaeo-christian?) according to the herald sun; reader discretion advised.

3) style over substance - another swipe taken at julia gillard. first it was everyone's favourite parliamentarian, bill heffernan, trumpeting the deputy opposition leader was unfit to lead the nation due to her "deliberately barren" lifestyle; now joe hockey is using general appearance as a reason the public are more receptive to labor's ir agenda than the government's. rg can't determine if hockey's comments are more moronic or offensive. the caveman cometh in the form of the current workplace minister, flashing liberal party archaic thinking. you don't see peter costello and wayne swan bagging the other's haircut or choice of suit as reason - reason! - for their success/loss in polls; their debate focuses on policy, performance and a bit of mud-slinging. yet somehow the fact that there's a woman - an experienced, impressive one at that - on the scene with her eye fixed on deputy leader opens the door for schoolyard sledging - "well, julia gillard is ... in women's weekly and all those things, and i'm not as pretty as julia gillard, obviously." obviously. that could be the only reason your party is choking and back-flipping on workchoices, joe; you're not as pretty. imagine the power of julia gillard's hair! it should have its own political party, such is the influence it wields. if the government want to win, it needs to keep its eye on the prize and do some aggressive policy debate and challenge labor on their proposals. but it's not. it's making surface attacks that are enraging to women, laughable at their best, and utterly desperate at their worst.

4) a clayton's leadership challenge; the challenge you have when you're not having a challenge. howard's use of language such as "annihilation" laid the underdog status on thick for the public to lap up - but interestingly they didn't. polls still show labor ahead full-stop. that aside, rg is intrigued to watch john howard speak - he is a master of semantics (who remembers core and non-core election promises?) and this punter is confident this testing of the leadership waters within the party room is nothing more than a play-within-a-play for the public - a quick way to get an interested audience is to stage a bit of biffo and a power struggle. this is better than 24...

5) therese rein, kevin rudd, awa's and the whole scrambled lot. a separate post will be added by rg promptly.

what a week!

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