Cartoon: By Bill Leak.
The penny seems to be dropping at last for Labor MPs who seem destined to lose their seats come the next election. The real desperation faced is indicated by estimates that the party faces the prospect of losing around thirty-six seats; half its strength, unless a miracle can eventuate. There is nothing on the horizon to give them any hope for this prospect.
Reports indicate that many are looking for the chance to roll Gillard and reinstall Rudd to the leadership. Rudd is probably their only option at this stage as he is about the only member of the party with sufficient hubris to think he can reverse their fortunes. Anyone else capable of doing the job would be acutely aware that his head would be on the chopping block post election.
A sign of the times is that Wayne Swan, freshly anointed as ‘the worlds greatest treasurer’ would lose his seat at present, as would many ministers:
Senior ministers who are backing Ms Gillard's leadership are also in the firing line. The Gillard Cabinet would be a political killing field on the basis of the polling with up to six ministers to lose their seats.Most of the Labor members are totally focused on the shortcomings of their leaders in all of this and seem to be in denial of the possibility that they themselves may have had a part to play in their own imminent demise. All of them have been blindly following the leader in a headlong rush for the cliff face, none having ever considered the possibility of challenging the direction of the momentum.
Ministers to go would include Treasurer Wayne Swan, Defense Minister Stephen Smith, Attorney-General Robert McClelland, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, Education Minister Peter Garrett and Trade Minister Craig Emerson. Special Minister of State Gary Gray and Childcare Minister Kate Ellis, who are not in Cabinet, are also in danger.
But the real action is among a growing number of backbenchers who never agreed with the leadership change. They want the Prime Minister to be given until Christmas to get a handle on the carbon tax and the asylum-seeker debate.
Even some factional powerbrokers who installed Gillard are despondent over the fate of the government. Backbench MPs on a knife-edge include NSW's Michelle Rowland, Deb O'Neill, David Bradbury, Daryl Melham, John Murphy, Janelle Saffin and Mike Kelly.
Perhaps some of them would be in a better position for survival, had they ever questioned whether the policies that have reduced them to this, were the right thing to do. They have instead, gleefully shouted their ‘yeys’ as their ministers disparaged outraged members of the public as Teabaggers, rednecks, racists, climate deniers, inconsequential, incontinent, just to mention a few.
They have had their time in the sun, feeling smug and invulnerable. Now that the time has come to pay the price, they are projecting their own shortcomings onto their leader and hoping that this time it will be better.
Will any of them stand up to the carbon tax that the public hates? Not bloody likely!