our Lance .....
With Julia Gillard announcing an election on September 14, Andrew Elder says the campaign will be a race between those who want to discover what an Abbott government will be like and those who want to hide it.
When the journosphere announced that Tony Abbott was going to engage in a pre-election campaign – going around the country with stunts for the media, but offering no specific knowledge about how we would be governed by the Coalition – I thought: how would this be different to what he’s been doing for the past three years?
In the recent bushfires affecting the south-east of the country, Abbott purloined a truck and a uniform from the Davidson Rural Fire Service brigade (which was not on active service, nor on stand-by), drove it several hundred kilometres and held a press conference for a Liberal MP who isn’t seeking re-election.
It was stupid for Abbott to put himself in a position where he was using public emergency resources for a self-serving stunt. He has put the NSW Government in an invidious position too — one that might come back to bite them at a time not of their choosing.
Even if you write all of that off because hey, that’s politics, Abbott just looks like a poser. This undercuts the whole action-man Abbott persona people like Credlin have been carefully building for over three years.
Having Abbott fly to Brisbane, spend two minutes filling a sandbag in a suit and then flying out again — you have to wonder how serious the Coalition really are (as long as you’re not a press gallery journalist, who do not dare ask even mild questions like that).
These are proper questions for the alternative government to ask (so long as it doesn’t get in the way of actual emergency relief efforts as required right now):
· Are there any lessons for the Federal Government to have learned from recent emergencies (that is, the Victorian fires of 2010, the Queensland floods 2011; it may be too early for lessons from more recent events like the Tasmanian fires) which are not being applied here?
· Is there anything that the Federal government should do besides passively offering assistance and consolation, keeping the Bureau of Meteorology going, and sending out the Army?
Do you think Abbott and the Coalition – anyone at all, even some anonymous backbencher or staffer – is thinking about those issues?
Drag0nista has made the Abbott-Latham link almost ten years after Michael Duffy’s Hot for Boofheads. What she quotes Michelle Grattan as being “the likeliness that he will be in the PM’s office by the end of the year” is nothing more than the conventional wisdom of the press gallery — a meme in which they are trapped and out of which they cannot credibly break no matter what happens. They both rely heavily on the ‘they would say that, wouldn’t they’ of senior Liberal frontbenchers talking up the Liberal leader and talking down his weaknesses.
The point about both Latham and Abbott is that it was necessary for each to hide their real selves from the public, in order for the public to hold them in the same regard they hold themselves (and at which Duffy held them). Latham failed in that endeavour and Abbott is starting to do so now — despite Grattan and others in the journosphere having been more than happy to help out with his smoke-and-mirrors routines.