Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Uncivil Serpents Win Again

Gillard Gushes, Abbott Has No Costello

Julia Gillard has agreed to the demands of a group of three independents, in order to form a government. Tony Abbott, on the other hand, rejected them outright, displaying a nonchalance that tells me he thinks he knows something.

Accept that the Coalition is completely owned by the Public Service. Accept that Labor follows Public Service advice with no question, because it knows it can be ruined and lose power if it upsets its mandarins.

Then it all makes sense.

The promises made to the independents, although the specifics are not revealed yet, pretty much folllow Labor stated policy (except for the mining superprofits tax).

The public servants have shown the ability to only recommend policy they think should be done, and provide cogent arguments against policy they don't like. The same public servants have been very willing to administer government policy in such a way to minimise benefits to the electorate while maximising embarrassment to the government.

Perhaps Abbott has been promised that Labor will be put in such a damaging position by faulty Public Service advice that it will be forced to renege on its promises to the independents. Only one independent MP has to change his side in a crucial vote and we are heading for a new election.

If Gillard is dumped by Labor, as most predict, that could also provide an impetus for instability. The keeping of promises, even if in name only, is tied closely to the power of the leader of the government.

We will be heading for a general election well short of the three years we are guaranteed. That is certain. What are unknown are the twin answers of when and how.

A confusing issue concerns honesty. This concept is ignored by party politicians, not if they want to keep their seats. But independents must keep their electorates happy. The independents' electorates show a preference for their members to side with the Coalition. Abbott might be counting on this. The problem for the independents is that they choose which government is best for their electorate, and this may not be the choice of the electorate (although they did vote for independent representation).

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