Someone, I don’t remember who, said that Joh Bjelke-Petersen was behaving like a Victa Lawnmower just before the end because “they always speed up before they run out of gas”.
So, if you don’t like the idea of a kamikaze swan, you can opt for the victa lawnmower.
Because nothing other than malignant hyperactivity could possibly explain why Wayne Swan would have decided to raise the issue of a republic right at this moment.
You can’t blame Malcolm Turnbull for helping him along.
Here is a government that is going to lose an election by a larger margin than any other, possibly since federation, because it is perceived to be flaky and incapable of following-through and completing any task – the political equivalent of ADHD.
The most recent evidence of this is “Pink Batts Mark II” probably soon to be known as “Asbestos Gate” where the incompetence of Telstra contractors working on a project related to the NBN have subjected people in Labor’s former heartland, western Sydney, to a small increase in mortality by unnecessarily exposing them to asbestos.
This will just add to their disenchantment with Labor, as that other western Sydney barbeque stopper – illegal immigration – continues to accelerate apace.
And what does the Treasurer inject into this cauldron of discontent? He decides to “ramp up his calls for a republic, demanding the Labor Party enact its policy starting the process of constitutional change “sooner rather than later”.
To add insult to injury, Queensland, his home state, where he has already lost his seat once (in 1996) was one of the states that voted most heavily against the Republic referendum. Opposition was wide spread, including in his own seat of Lilley.
Perhaps Swan thinks this is some sort of a diversion. In fact it is confirmation that this government, and its key members, are completely out of touch with what the public wants.
I just heard Wayne Swan saying words to the effect that Australia is the 12th richest economy in the world, and people must be laughing at us because we don’t have an Australian head of state.
In western Sydney the response is likely to be “I don’t know about that mate, but if we’re a republic does that mean we’re going to be able to police our borders better?”
Out there, they’re not so worried about whether we have an Australian head of state or not, but where the rest of us come from. It may be paranoia, or it may be xenophobia, but they all get a vote.