Tony Abbott is well pissed off about the Labor leadership change. On The 7.30 Report last night this led to one of the worst disingenuousness attacks I have ever witnessed.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Death squads. Execution, death squads, Stalinist knocks at the door.
TONY ABBOTT: Kerry, they execute leaders who they don’t like. It was as if Paul Howes was on Lateline the other night saying, "I determine, or my union determines, who leads the Labor Party and the circumstances under which they lead."
KERRY O’BRIEN: In fact there are some clear similarities between the departures of Turnbull and Rudd. Both alienated significant members in their party with their autocratic style; both came into conflict within their party over policy. Let me demonstrate how similar by playing back your own words on the day you became leader.
TONY ABBOTT: [earlier this year after knifing Malcolm Turnbull] I have said to my colleagues that I will do my best to be a consultative and collegial leader.
Political parties don’t work when people just announce what they’re doing and expect everyone else to follow.
I will not be that kind of a leader.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Now, that sounds remarkably similar to me, and I wonder again if your own hands and your colleagues are clean enough for you to be so holier-than-thou than Labor.
TONY ABBOTT: Kerry, that was all about policy. I became the leader and I immediately changed a policy.
KERRY O’BRIEN: But hang on …
TONY ABBOTT: My turn. Julia Gillard …
KERRY O’BRIEN: Why are you talking about being more collegiate than Malcolm Turnbull?…
KERRY O’BRIEN: I’ll say again: the similarities are these: his style was under serious attack within your party. Wasn’t Malcolm Turnbull – didn’t Malcolm Turnbull alienate many people in your party to the extent that you became leader, you challenged, you beat him, with factional heavyweights organising your numbers, as factional heavyweights organised numbers for Julia Gillard and you then took the podium and you said, "I will be more collegial. I will consult"?
TONY ABBOTT: That was a difference over policy; this is just a difference over personalities. And the point is: she was the co-author of the dud policies. What they’ve done is they’ve dumped the salesman, but they haven’t changed the product.
KERRY O’BRIEN: The fact is that both major parties can be equally ruthless in dispatching their leaders when they – when it suits. I’ll move on or we’ll just keep going round in circles. I’m sure that you’ve already put a lot of thought into how you’ll tackle Julia Gillard – a very different person to Kevin Rudd, even though you clearly will continue to tie her in with his policies. Fair enough…
TONY ABBOTT: Look, Kerry, Kerry, you had a good night with me a few weeks ago.
KERRY O’BRIEN: This isn’t about me having good nights with you, Mr Abbott; this is about your credibility.
TONY ABBOTT: But the point is, Kerry, I will let the Australian public make a judgment about me. That’s what happens in politics. But I tell you what: the Labor Party made a judgment about me this week. They made a judgment that if they stayed with Kevin Rudd, they were gonna lose.
KERRY O’BRIEN: Yes.
TONY ABBOTT: That was a judgment about the effectiveness of this Opposition.
KERRY O’BRIEN: And tell me this: if you were in their position, if this was your party and you could see, in your terms, that you were going to lose with your leader, wouldn’t you want to change that leader?…
Kerry O’Brien 10, Abbott 0.
Numerous pollsters, some previously unknown, have swung quickly into action to record a very rosy view of Labor’s prospects under Julia Gillard. Nielsen surveyed 993 respondents on Thursday night and found Labor’s primary vote roaring back to 47 per cent, decimating the Greens – down seven points to 8 per cent – and delivering them a thumping 55-45 two-party lead. The Coalition primary vote has nonetheless held up: at 42 per cent, it is only down one point on the famous 53-47 poll of June 6. Julia Gillard leads Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister 55 per cent to 34 per cent, widening the gap achieved by Rudd in his last poll from ten points to 21. Against Kevin Rudd, she scores a not overwhelming lead of 44 per cent to 36 per cent: Rudd himself records slightly improved personal ratings, approval up two to 43 per cent and disapproval up five to 47 per cent. Tony Abbott is for some reason down on both approval (one point to 40 per cent) and disapproval (five points to 46 per cent).
Galaxy produces a more modest headline figure of 52-48 in a survey of 800 respondents, also conducted yesterday. This was achieved off a 41 per cent primary vote, making it a lot more solid than the 52-48 Rudd achieved his final Newspoll, which was based on 35 per cent plus a hypothetical preference share. No further primary vote figures at this stage, but it’s safe to say that here too Labor has recovered a lot of soft Greens votes. The margin of error on the poll is about 3.5 per cent. Opinion is evenly divided on the leadership coup – 45 per cent support, 48 per cent oppose – but most would prefer a full term to an early election, 36 per cent to 59 per cent. Head-to-head questions on leaders’ personal attributes produce consistently huge leads for Gillard.
That’s all just for the record. My own thoughts I will put aside for the moment.
The past seven blog days
Much less significant, but I am pleased that the top posts here in the past seven days have all been recent ones, a fact partly down to my loyal opposition, the Other Kevin.
- Home page 235 views19 June to today.
- Sport and multicultural Australia 82
- Kevin 11 — will there be such a person? 28
- My latest Wordle 18
- Did Serbia or Australia win? 18
- Prime minister or president? 13