Loughnane says first Labor leadership rumblings have started
Rumours of a senior Labor government minister misbehaving, as reported recently in the media and attributed to unnamed “senior Labor figures”, were part of early leadership positioning within Labor, Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane told the National Press Club today.
His claim came near the end of a speech in which Mr Loughnane provided the Coalition’s perspective on the 2010 federal election campaign. Karl Bitar delivered Labor’s take on the campaign yesterday.
Assessing the current federal political situation, Mr Loughnane said:
Australians are not confident minority government is good for the nation.
In the two months since the election it is apparent Labor is a mess and that Julia Gillard is struggling.
As a result Australia is drifting.
At the core of Labor’s problem is that it is unable to put Australia’s interests first. Everything Labor does is driven by the need to survive:
What do the Greens think?
What do the Independents think?
How will the factions react?
Political survival now drives the actions and decisions of the Government and it is the reason why we are getting so many bad decisions and, increasingly, why so many decisions are being deferred. Every decision or deferral is a compromise taken with an eye to what’s required to keep an inherently unstable alliance together.
Julia Gillard is no economic reformer. Between 1998 and 2007 Julia Gillard opposed every major economic reform introduced by the Howard Government
She opposed the private health insurance rebate
She opposed tax reform
She opposed superannuation reform
And she opposed successive Howard Government decisions designed to reduce government debt.
Now Julia Gillard is running the most economically incompetent government in living memory.
Having wasted billions of dollars mismanaging the school hall building programme and continuing to borrow over $100 million every day, the only economic reform Julia Gillard is interested in is imposing higher electricity prices on Australian families through a carbon tax.
A strong leader would set a strong direction, but Julia Gillard can’t do that.
Everything is a compromise
Everything is about survival
We’ve already seen the rumblings start. I had not heard the rumours of a senior Minister misbehaving as reported recently in the media and have no idea what they refer to. But what was significant to me were the comments by unnamed “senior Labor figures” that the rumours were being circulated as part of early leadership positioning within Labor – and this just two months after the election!
So it’s little wonder Julia Gillard has resorted to two tactics familiar to those who have observed failing State Labor governments.
Firstly, Julia Gillard is deliberately trying to lower expectations of her performance and that of her Government. We are told this will be a term of “consolidation”, that we don’t appreciate just how great the challenges are. Minor and procedural developments are being trumpeted as major initiatives and difficult decisions are deferred or sent for review.
Australia cannot afford another three years of weak Government with limited ambition. The Coalition will not let Julia Gillard and Labor get away with this. We will hold them to account and we will push them to do better because Australian families deserve nothing less.
The second tactic Julia Gillard has borrowed from State Labor is to avoid fronting the media when there is bad news. Instead, Julia Gillard and senior ministers regularly require public servants to handle the media on difficult issues. Apart from placing senior public servants in an impossible position, Australians are entitled to hear directly from their elected leaders when there are problems. The Coalition will use the revised Parliamentary arrangements to hold Ministers who won’t front the media to account.
After just two months, the contrast could not be clearer – between an ineffective government with no policies, no direction and weak leadership, and the Coalition with clear direction, good policies and strong leadership to make Australia a better country. Australia does need strong leadership and only one leader can provide it. Tony Abbott knows what he believes, will always make the right decision for the right reason and has what it takes to get Australia moving again to make life better for ordinary Australians.