The Gillard Prime Ministership seems to be in trouble, at least judging from the comments threads on some MSM articles. Whatever possessed her to announce that East Timor was going to be part of her refugee solution without even talking to the appropriate members of their government? It’s an announcement that makes our government look amateur and obsessed by spinning for the news cycle. It’s also condescending to our near neighbours.
Electors have seen the ploy of changing leaders used once too often by Labor at the state level, and seeing it played out at a federal level reminds them of just how tarnished the Labor brand is in every state. Now they are starting to suspect federal Labor is state Labor, just projected on a large screen.
As noted in our polling support for Gillard is soft and the honeymoon bounce muted. Perhaps the only two factors holding her up is that she is not Kevin Rudd and she is not Tony Abbott. Perhaps these factors will be enough for her to win the next election, and perhaps not.
A third person she is not is Malcolm Turnbull. One of the intrinsic problems that Malcolm Turnbull had when he was Liberal leader was that the middle ground liked him, but they weren’t going to vote for him because they liked Kevin Rudd even more. As a result the Liberals had to run to the right hard enough to pick-up working class conservatives, and Tony Abbott was the leader capable of doing that.
But with the spectacular collapse of Rudd, and the growing suspicion that Gillard is little different, Labor now leaves room on both flanks, providing the Liberals with more options. If Abbott fails at this election, and the odds favour this, then they will face the second term of opposition with two potentially viable leaders.
This is not necessarily a benefit. Having two viable leaders, particularly two like Abbott and Turnbull, as often as not leads to instability, or disunity. Still, better to have options, than none at all.