Julia Gillard and the Labor Government have just delivered a coup to end the political year on an even higher plateau than described below. By recruiting Peter Slipper as the new Speaker, they’ve shored themselves up in Parliament. They’ve sent a message to media and business that they will see out a full term: we are here, get used to us. The opposition will not achieve a transfer of power in this parliament. And today’s announcement ensures continuing media attention on Tony Abbott and the absence of a coalition economic program.
Julia Gillard ends the year with a burst of euphoria.
The barbecue commentary over the holidays will shift. “She’s a tough operator” and “She’s a survivor” are likely to echo one another. And “She outsmarted Abbott” – expect to hear a bit of that. In media and business she will bask in a new respect.
Success feeds success.
In the New Year the nagging, neuralgic issue of poker machines will be subjected to a compromise and the anxiety of backbench Labor members, especially in NSW, will dissipate.
Discipline in the government will tighten.
Look at the poll figures. The electorate has deep reservations about Tony Abbott. Any election will be determined in the context of a contest between two sides and an appraisal of the opposition alternative. It will be more than a vote of disaffection with the current government. It will be a vote that, sure, assesses the government but assesses the alternative as well.