Yesterday, another leaked claim was made that Gillard had also delegated her responsibility to attend the nation’s most important security committee and sent her former bodyguard to appear in her place.
Gillard was forced to call an early morning press conference to attempt to dampen the claims she had held up increased pensions and the planned parental leave scheme.
While she appeared to her supporters as “passionate” at that press briefing, she actually gave the claims more substance, confirming that she did in fact raise questions in the Gang of Four’s Strategic Priorities and Budget Committee about the cost of the popular measures, and she destroyed her previous argument for Cabinet confidentiality. It now exists only
when it can conveniently conceal political disasters.
Her break from the scripted performances led to questions about why the Labor campaign managers don’t let her off the leash more often and let voters see her as she is when she is not being overly-handled by her image makers?
Even her meet-and-greets in suburban malls have been stage-managed to such an extent that ordinary members of the public are frozen out of any contact.
Labor has wedged itself. It presented Gillard, dressed in virginal white, on June 24, but she did not in fact emerge entirely as a political virgin after being anointed by the sisterhood’s Governor General Quentin Bryce on June 24.
The dissociation of the Gillard government from its immediate predecessor, the Rudd government, weakens Labor’s principal argument, that Rudd and Treasurer (and now Deputy Prime Minister) Wayne Swan, saved the nation from the global fiscal crisis, and begs this obvious question.
If Rudd saved the nation, why was his political career brought to an abrupt end by Gillard with the support of some of the biggest trade unions? Gillard has never explained where or how the Rudd government “lost its way”, necessitating the unprecedented axing of an Australian prime minister in his first term of office by a rabble of elected and un-elected Labor thugs.
Now Labor can’t ask for votes on the basis of the recent economic record without explaining what Rudd’s role was in pushing for the economic stimulus package and what position Ms Gillard took on the same measures.
The Australian economy, as Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens told central bankers at Sydney University on May 15, 2008, was in an extraordinarily enviable position.
While there were challenges in the long term, including health and the needs of an ageing population, he said: “there would be very few countries, if any, which would not envy Australia’s fiscal position. The capacity to respond, if need be, to developments in the future is virtually without peer.”
The crash was almost six months away but the heavy lifting had been done. Rudd hadn’t mentioned dark clouds ahead, nor had Swan, only former Treasurer Peter Costello had warned of trouble on the horizon and he had been ignored.
Labor’s record in government has been abysmal. It has showed through its mismanagement of the asylum seekers issue, the lethal pink batts and the wasteful schools building program that it is beyond hopeless.
In the past week, Christmas Islanders awoke to see the 150th illegal boat since Labor weakened Australia’s border protection laws, taking the number of asylum seekers attracted by the soft touch to more than 7180.
Treasury papers also confirmed that the nation is borrowing more than $100 million a day to pay for Labor’s failures and can expect to pay about $120 million a day next year.
When Labor came to office, Christmas Island was empty and the Treasury was full. Now Christmas Island is overflowing and the Treasury is skint.
Labor has also shown itself to be cruelly partisan in office. Announcing support for suicide prevention last week, Gillard mentioned only one “hotspot” The Gap, the nation’s most notorious suicide site.
But the local council, in the Liberal-held seat of Wentworth, has already been refused funding twice for its suicide prevention masterplan, designed by experts and approved by the emergency services. No money has been set aside by Gillard or Infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese for this plan. Rudd is this weekend in hospital having had his gall bladder removed. Critics may say that his bile duct has been overworked, but all wish him a speedy recovery, if only to see what he will do next.
He has said he is prepared to campaign “both in his own electorate, elsewhere in Queensland and the rest of the country as appropriate”. Gillard says she is “respecting Kevin Rudd’s wishes to campaign for re-election as the member for Griffith – no other request has been made of him.”
On March 7 2006, at the Sydney Institute, Gillard lectured the nation about leadership.
She said that “before you can persuade Australians of your credentials to run the country, you have to show that you can run your political party. And to do that, we must unshackle our party from the factions.”
Four years on, nothing has changed except the leadership of the nation.
The factionalists are now in government, out of control and destructive.
By Gillard’s own measure they must be sent packing on August 21.