Tag Archives: Kevin Rudd

Abbott is making a mistake by going for Gillard

1 Apr

Australian Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has gone on the attack by going after Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard after the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a mini-reshuffle to his Ministry.

Australian Deputy PM Julia Gillard

Abbott has claimed that Gillard is overworked and overstretched and should ha ve some of her many responsibilities taken off her. Gillard’s title is Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Education, Employment & Workplace Relations, Social Inclusion but I have no doubt the Deputy Prime Minister is one of the few people  who could actually manage such a large portfolio.

This is the latest in a long-runnning war between Gillard and Abbott, but I think Abbott’s attacks are misplaced. For starters, he is shooting down, which is always a mistake for a Leader. We all remember the criticism of Obama when the Democrats went after Sarah Palin during the 2008 Presidential Campaign. Abbott should be going for Rudd and Rudd alone and letting the rest of his team go for Gillard.

They have also attacked Gillard before on a personal level and it back-fired badly. Earlier in the year, Gillard questioned Coalition

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

statements about parenting, when Senator Brandis stated Gillard couldn’t understand the way parents think” about virginity because she doesn’t have kids.”

While that didn’t hurt Abbott too much as he was still well into his honeymoon, there was a fair outcry as to the remarks.

Finally, the Australian people like Gillard. In an Essential Report poll from the 22nd of March, Gillard beat Abbott 47-37 as preferred Prime Minister. The people also don’t like Abbott when he is being overtly confrontational, as was

shown in the results of the recent Health Debate, which the Prime Minister clearly won.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott

So Abbott has to decide if his strategies are right, because they’ve attacked Gillard before and it hasn’t worked. This is probably just a one-off attack to coincide with the PM’s mini-reshuffle, but the Coalition have to be wary.

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Labour’s Australian sister party makes significant gains against Conservative Coalition

29 Mar

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Australian Labor Party has made significant gains against Tony Abbott’s Coalition in a recent poll.

Despite Abbott’s strong showing in an Australian Iron Man competition on the weekend (and you thought Boris Johnson looked silly on a bike), he hasn’t been able to keep up his momentum in political circles that at one stage saw Rudd’s lead down to only 4 points. In the Australian newspaper, according to the latest Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian last weekend, Labor’s primary vote jumped four percentage points to 43 per cent and the Coalition’s primary support fell three points to 38 per cent, a clear election-winning lead on a two-party-preferred basis of 56 per cent for the Rudd government and 44 per cent for the Coalition.

This is a significant lead and is a clear indication that Abbott’s honeymoon may well be over.

What’s wrong with modern Conservatism?

24 Mar

An article in the Washington Post by E.J. Dionne Jr. , a liberal in the American sense of the word, has raised a number of issues about the current state of conservatism. He correctly points out that conservatism is incredibly important for democracy, and conservatives have made vital contributions for three reasons. I suggest you read his article here for more.

Of course he is right and it is the beauty of our democracy that both the left and right can be represented in our Parliament.

But Dionne goes on to say that the current state of conservatism is dangerous. The Republicans are currently the party of no and are blocking almost everything they can, so much so, that the Democrats have used a Budget Resolution vote, normally used to pass cost saving bills. This say no at any cost oppositional politics is not beneficial to anyone.

Australia is in a similar position at the moment. Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) is up against a hostile Senate and a negative Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott. One example is the Emissions Trading Scheme policy that the senate has voted down twice in Australia. Abbott gained the Leadership after a Leadership spill over the second ETS vote, ending the then Coalition policy.

For a while, the Coalition didn’t have a clear policy, but said it would vote against any ALP bill presented. It wasn’t until 2-3 months later that the Coalition came out with an environmental policy, but the policy, with Abbott’s admission, “won’t have every ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ crossed.” So the Coalition are effectively fighting Labor, but without anything as an alternative.

All-in-all, UK Conservatives aren’t nearly as bad, although, I have a feeling that it may be due to the Westminster system more than anything else. With an unelected upper-house, that rarely other than a few ping-pong bills, really causes a stir. Oppositions will therefore vote against the Government, without fear of being painted too-badly as the bill will generally get through given sufficient time. Although Cameron’s recent interview in regards to Conservative voting policy towards gay rights may prove to be an issue.

I’m not sure what can be done about this as it is a trap that parties fall into whenever they are in opposition to look strong and appease their base. Don’t get me wrong, liberal and progressive style parties often make a similar partisan decision when they are in opposition but Conservatives, as an obvious rule, don’t want to modernise and that includes their own party. Change is difficult and only elections can make an immediate change, but it is important that the ying and yang of politics is restored.

Obama’s healthcare probably won’t go through this week

18 Mar

Barack Obama has just announced that he has postponed his trip to Australia until at least June, which doesn’t bode well for the immediate future of his healthcare bill.

His bill needs to go through, for the sake of his Presidency and the health of the American people, so he is staying home to lobby for votes. He was due to address a special joint-sitting of the Australian Parliament and had previously shortened his trip so that it was just the one night, but now it is off for a couple of months.

Presumably, he is also postponing his trip to Indonesia and Asia as well, so potentially this bill has also tarnished his position globally. This is very possibly why relations with Israel are struggling so badly.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has already, very cleverly, started to turn a negative into a political positive, by saying he feels an affinity with Obama as they are both facing significant problems with each other’s Senate. Rudd has been pointing out that the Liberal-National Coalition has been blocking significant legislation and Rudd and his cabinet has been calling opposition leader, Tony Abbott, Dr No.

Is the mad monk losing his early advantage?

10 Mar

I’m torn about the Australian Opposition Leader’s new policy on maternity care. Tony Abbott has announced that under a Liberal-National Coalition Government, Australian women should have 6 months full paid maternity leave, capped at $150,000. This is a fairly big move considering while he was in Government pre-2007, that the Coalition would have a compulsory maternity cover scheme “over the Government’s dead body

The Rudd Government currently has an 18 week maternity leave policy that offers at least minimum wage, which is better than many countries. Clearly though, many companies offer its female employees other options, but Rudd’s programme is guaranteed. But that clearly doesn’t compare to Abbott’s amazing policy. So whats the catch?

Well, he has said it would be funded by a 1.7% tax on companies with profits above $5 million. Current systems rely on tax funding costing only $260 million. It is all pretty rich for a guy who has been pummeling the Government’s ETS policy as a Great Big New Tax. Naturally, the Government has been pummeling right back on this issue. Business Groups are also obviously a tad peeved saying it will lower growth and hamstring business and industry.

One has to question the thinking behind the policy. There will definitely be more complaints and moans to come. For instance, if one business doesn’t have any, or at least a low percentage, of women seeking maternity cover, there will be  complaints as to why they should have to pay the tax. I don’t think it will lead to less women being employed, because companies will realise they have already forked out the cash through the tax, so they won’t get hit twice by employing female staff.

But it will surely lead to a tightening of belts, leading to less overall jobs, for men and women, in the first place. As I said 1.7% is a big financial hit and that will have effects on the work-force. According to Abbott’s maths, this would take $2.7 billion out of business’ and industry’s pockets

It also turns out, Abbott didn’t sound out his MPs about the issue, another thing Rudd and team has been hitting him on and has declared it Policy on the Run.

It is  a questionable policy announcement considering in December Abbott and his team were promising No New Taxes in December – it looks like Abbot has  broken a promise even before they have faced an election.

Maybe this is  confirmation Abbott just wants Australian women at home, doing the ironing. We’ll see how this plays out.

Kevin Rudd improves in the polls

16 Nov

The Australian has released the latest polling figures for Kevin Rudd. They look good for the ALP and show that, for the time being anyway, the asylum seeker issue has run its course. This is also impressive considering that the polls were taken in 6 QLD marginals, if I’m reading my blogs correctly.  Let’s be honest, the Queensland ALP are slightly on the nose at the moment, so that means that the QLD public aren’t letting their issues with Bligh override their opinion of Rudd.

But lets face it, Rudd is currently very poll driven and his news drive after the negative figures came out last time could have made all the difference. Apologies separate, he has a mandate for change and it might be a stronger mandate come the election, so he really needs to use it to his advantage and push some high profile issues through.

It will be interesting to see how the results improve after the internationally positive coverage Rudd has received for trying to get the Climate Change talks back on track.

I’ll have a look at the Pollytics results this evening.

Here is the Australian article;

KEVIN Rudd is back in landslide territory if an election was held according to the latest Newspoll but the trend confirms a fall in two-party preferred support.

Malcolm Turnbull is also rebuilding trust with voters after the Utegate affair, recording the best result since his support crashed after he relied on a fake email to target the Prime Minister.

Newspoll, published exclusively in The Australian today has found two-party-preferred support for Labor is 56 per cent and support for the Coalition is 44 per cent.

That compares with a 52.7 per cent result for Labor at the last election.

The Prime Minister is still riding high with 63 per cent support on the question of who would make the better PM, unchanged from the previous Newspoll.

But Malcolm Turnbull has clawed back support from uncommitted voters, rising from 19 per cent to 22 per cent on the better PM question.

In the previous Newspoll primary vote support for Labor plunged by 7 percentage points, a result that appeared to spook the Prime Minister, who immediately undertook a saturation campaign defending the government’s border control policies on talkback radio.

Newspoll’s Martin O’Shannessy said the poll confirmed the trend picked up in the previous poll of a fall in two-party-preferred support for Labor since September.

“The interesting thing about Malcolm is he is rebuilding back to the levels before UteGate,” he said.

“But the Prime Minister’s support as the better prime minister has remained high in 11 consecutive Newspolls.”