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The Gillard Show

November 17, 2011

Coming on top of an increase in support measured by two polls, the Federal Cabinet will be quietly thrilled by the performance of the Prime Minister during the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama. First, she showed a comfort with the foreign policy role that goes with being PM. Her regrettable statement on her first European trip that she was more comfortable with being in a classroom than dealing with foreign affairs is now a million years away. Like John Howard, who initially faltered at foreign affairs, she will discover a relish for the role as her friendships and familiarity with foreign leaders develops.

This maturation was apparent to the nation as they watched her joint press conference and her speech.

Second, the happy graphics of the visit break the cycle of bad news and bad luck that has plagued the government.

At the end of next month, the Prime Minister can confirm her leadership credentials by winning a debate on uranium sales to India at the National ALP Conference. This is one of the modes of Federal ALP leadership, from the times of John Curtin through to Whitlam, Hawke and Keating: the leader prevailing in debate with his own party.

If Julia Gillard keeps showing a relaxed confidence, a political revival is possible. A short time ago, it was not.

With the carbon tax bedded, the government must squeeze out a compromise on poker machine reform that recognises Wilkie’s valid concerns but takes the pressure off the other Independents and New South Wales Labor MPs. After all, unless Wilkie compromises nothing will get through the parliament.

Bit by bit, the government will find the media drawn to the Opposition’s incoherent policies and gaping fiscal black holes. Tony Abbott did not maximise the advantage offered him by a speech of welcome to the president. The repeated incantations of “Sir…sir…sir” instead of “Mr President” suggested serious under-preparation. And you never make partisan points in such a setting.

Newspoll is in the field. If Gillard and the ALP continue to firm, there is one issue: a not particularly popular Federal Opposition leader.

  1. November 17, 2011 3:49 pm

    Hi Bob, can you please expand upon your support for selling Uranium to India? I’m trying to understand the pro’s and con’s and it seemed that not selling to non-signatories of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty was a good policy position.

    Can you also highlight some benefits to selling other than the obvious economic benefit? How does it bring India and Australia closer and do we honestly believe we can control what India does with the Uranium once they have it in their possession?

    Do you believe there is a risk that it could free up domestic uranium supplies in India for military use?

    • Bob Carr permalink
      November 17, 2011 5:46 pm

      More coal-fired power will tip the balance towards catastrophic global warming and renewables are not developing fast enough. We need renewables and nuclear. More coal-fired power plants to fuel the modernization of China and India is a disaster that will get us beyond the two degree warming we dread.

  2. November 17, 2011 4:13 pm

    Nice article Bob. Best wishes. Joan Evatt @boeufblogginon

  3. TerjeP permalink
    November 19, 2011 9:06 am

    I agree we need nuclear energy in India but we should also be more open to nuclear energy in Australia. The ALP remains the lynch pin in such a reform and I hope then seriously look at ending the Australian ban on nuclear energy.

    That said I really wish more people would also look seriously at the possibilities offered by the newer generation nuclear reactors. In particular the liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) would make electricity cheaper than coal and be vastly safer than the already very safe light water reactors.

  4. November 20, 2011 5:12 pm

    Imaginably, something is going on, either behind the scenes or not yet reported. Ms Gillard is moving on some big calls. From a once-shouted “makeshift” government – if ‘government’ even made it into contemporary language with any degree of respect – there has to be confidence in there somewhere.

  5. November 20, 2011 10:38 pm

    I’m so glad she got the “controversial” pieces of legislation out of the way in her first year, good strategy, insightful blog, Bob

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