Is Climate Hype Killing The Left?

  • Date: 19/06/10

The image of Australia as a nice place for relaxed politicians is going to be on hold for a while. PM Rudd is in big trouble, and the sound of knives is being heard throughout the land.

A leadership revolt is in the air, and whatever happens, it’s not going to be pretty.

Elected in 2007 with a huge win, Rudd is nobody’s idea of a fool. He survived the murderous Labor competition to become leader, too, which is about as much fun as swimming the Pacific inside a shark. With great energy, he swung into major reforms, and got a reputation for being a hard boss. So far, so good.

Then, this year, the wheels fell off, all of them. In the greatest reversal of political profile and positions since Ben Chifley sent in troops against the miner’s strike, everything collapsed.

1. The Emissions Trading Scheme, a pillar of election promises, and no small amount of grandstanding about environmental credentials, went up in smoke.

2. The Home Insulation Scheme, another environmental initiative, was bungled, resulting in several deaths, and a major investigation into widespread fraud.

3. The 40% super tax on mining produced a ferocious response from the mining industry, which even left the Liberal Opposition in their wake in terms of attacking the government.

The result of all these merry misadventures is that Labor now has a primary vote of 35%, the lowest in decades. Labor’s credibility has been maimed, severely. Rudd’s own popularity is now historic, in that many people now want him to be history. These setbacks have appalled the Labor Party, so much so that the convention of saying nothing negative about policy has vanished.

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