Cartoon: By Larry Pickering
The current election campaign is like something out of a poorly written fiction novel, or perhaps, Mad Magazine. We have the odd scenario where both leaders of the big two major parties are campaigning as opposition leaders.
Kevin Rudd#2 (the kinder gentler one) is doing a great job of giving the impression that he is going to change all of the things that went wrong before under the governments of the last six years. This sounds like a good tactic except that the last six years were led by Rudd#1/Gillard/Rudd#2 himself.
Effectively Rudd#2 (the kinder gentler one) is campaigning against both Abbott and Rudd#1 (the nasty dysfunctional one)/Gillard.
Any mention of the record of Rudd#1 by the Liberals, especially using quotes by his former colleagues is considered as slipping into negativity. But still, there are signs of desperation.
The first one is that Rudd#2 has announced that he is open to the same sort of deal with the Greens and whatever independents are left after the election, which led to the disfunctionality of the Gillard government, in order to form a minority government:
The Prime Minister said Labor was trying to secure a majority government and attacked the Liberal Party for preferencing the Greens ahead of Labor in the inner-western Sydney seat of Grayndler held by deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. But Mr Rudd did not rule out a deal with minor parties in the event of another hung parliament.
The latest Newspoll has the Coalition holding a 52-48 two-party-preferred lead but many recent polls have put two-party-preferred support at 50-50. Former prime minister Julia Gillard cited her deal with the Greens as a reason for her decision to impose a fixed price on carbon for three years. As one of his first acts as Prime Minister, Mr Rudd decided to move to a floating carbon price a year earlier as he moved to defuse anger over the policy.
Mr Abbott, who ruled out leading a minority government on Sunday, hardened his language yesterday, declaring he would allow Labor to govern with minor parties rather than negotiate with the Greens and independents.
The second is his invitation to Julia Gillard to join him on the campaign trail:
The Prime Minister said the former prime minister would be welcome to campaign with him whenever she liked to help him win on September 7. "Julia would be welcome to participate in the campaign in any way she chose fit," Mr Rudd told ABC's 7.30 program.
"And as you know, when I've been asked about Julia in recent days, I've been very direct and very frank about the positive role she's played in our party and the contributions she's made to disability care policy, education policy and the measurement of academic standards of schools - great achievements.”
We’re not making this up folks; after white-anting her for three years in one of the most vindictive paybacks ever recorded in Australian political history, Kevvy is prepared to let her help to save him. The degree of hubris involved should make an interesting case study for psychologists for years to come.
And finally, he has parachuted former premier Peter Beattie into the campaign for the seat of Forde in Queensland:
Mr Beattie revealed that the Prime Minister rang him in the United States several days ago and asked him to run. After consulting his wife Heather, who once said she would murder him if he ran for Canberra, he agreed.
Mr Beattie says he faces a tough fight to capture the seat, but he'd moved today into his brother's house in Forde and he'll be focusing his campaigning efforts on the electorate, held by the LNP with a margin of 1.6 per cent.
“If elected I will buy and move to the electorate immediately,” Mr Beattie, who was premier of Queensland for nine years before retiring in 2007, said when presented by Mr Rudd today as the new, star Labor candidate. …
… Tony Abbott today dismissed Mr Beattie's entry into the election campaign, saying the Coalition had nothing to fear from a man with a legendary ego who left Queensland's finances in disarray when he retired from politics in 2007, after winning three state elections.
“(He's) another flim-flam man who hit people with record debt and deficit, who is just going to add to the leadership instability inside the Labor Party,” the Opposition Leader said. “You might say to me `Am I worried about Peter Beattie?', Of course not. But I bet Kevin Rudd is.”
Beattie was to the economy of Queensland; the forerunner of what Rudd/Gillard/Rudd#2 was to the Australian economy. From a relatively debt free state, Beattie took the reigns and ran it into the ground. His only masterstroke, was quitting when the writing was on the wall, and handed power to probably the only person more incompetent than he, Anna Bligh.
Even an incompetent looks better if succeeded by a complete idiot.