Price of Power


This could be a discussion about electricity prices – and not without reason, but it isn’t.

Last year we went to the polls in Australia, and this led to a hiatus and a series of complicated negotiations in order to determine who was going to be the Prime Minister and form government.

Julia Gillard was out for the power and ready to do just about any deal she could to secure office. That was hardly surprising, she was prepared to play Judas to be the leader that took Labor to the election.

Kevin Rudd (right) and Julia Gillard (left) at...

Image via Wikipedia

Firstly to get the Greens on Board she had to give up on her commitment not to put a price on carbon on her watch. Also generally believed she has a greed to put uni-gender marriage on the table as well.

Then she had to do a deal with Andrew Wilke from Tasmania. That required a commitment to restore Hobart Hospital and then a commitment to reform Poker Machine Legislation in order to address problem gambling.

Then she had to do a deal with the independents (though Kater walked) and that seemed to be a promise to deliver the National Broadband Network  starting in the bush and rolling into town.

Along with all of this Julia has to keep the  Labor Party happy (or at least quiet) and that in itself is no mean feat, being dominated by the factions and caucus, generally, but also posing challenging the very talented diplomat, and former Prime Minister, the obvious Foreign Minister of her own government.

Somehow it seems that Julia is probably not having many good days at the office. Her recent announcement that she had to do the deed on Kevin in order to provide a government with clear focus and direction is probably not taken seriously by the Australian people. They might ask why you would spend 12 million dollars to advertise a tax that has not been worked out yet.  Basically the only thing on the agenda that seems to be a Julia issue is the NBN and that has had to be so modified that it is probably not going to work out for her either. And so whilst much of Australia has a general complain about the cost of electricity, spare a thought for poor old Julia – her cost of power has been much higher!

  1. She has had to break a fundamental election commitment to the Australian People about a Carbon Tax
  2. She has had to get up close and personal with Bob Brown
  3. She has had to cop heat from the clubs to get Wilkie on Board
  4. She has had to make her bed with disgruntled ex nationals
  5. She has had to modify her dream project
  6. She has to listen when Rob Oakshot takes the microphone and won’t put it down
  7. She has to take Kevin seriously
  8. She has to keep every member of the party on-side as one walk on the floor is legislation she does not get passed
  9. She even has to keep Tony Abbott half happy or he won’t pair (or every member of the party has to be at every vote in the chamber)
It seems her grip on power is slender enough to be all but unworkable. One the 1st of July the Greens take control of the Senate (effectively) and then we will begin to see what that will mean. Will this parliament last till August 2013, and if it does so will it do so with Julia ate the helm? Remember that if any member of the Labor side dies or resigns and the public in that electorate in ill disposed then the Government changes hands, not that I see an Abbott led Government with a Green Senate being much better.
At the end of the Day Australia needs a new election, and I believe it would be interesting to see what that does. Independents, I believe, will attract less votes as they as a group have not worked well for the people in the period of time, and the major parties will have to battle it out. I used to be of the opinion that a narrow hold on power helps to keep the bastards honest, however that does not seem to be working out in the current government.
Part of the issue is the adversarial nature of Parliamentary Democracy. I don’t blame Andrew Wilkie or Bob Brown for pushing their barrow hard, it is their once opportunity to get their vision taken seriously. What it lacks is a Common Search for the Common Ground and the Common Good.
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