As we head towards an election Huffington Post reports that the Minor Party Alliance convened by “preference whisperer” Glenn Druery formulated a plan on the weekend to mount an assault in the lower house on marginal Coalition and Green seats.
Druery said it was a series of skirmishes rather than war, as they lack the resources for a full-scale assault. He said:
- the plan, which is aimed to “teach the government a lesson,” will see progressive minor parties run candidates and preference toward the Labor Party in seats including:
- Melbourne — held by Greens MP Adam Bandt;
- Barton — held by the Liberals with a tiny margin, and to be contested by star Labor recruit Linda Burney;
- Grayndler — held by Labor’s Anthony Albanese, but targeted strongly by the Greens;
- Richmond — held by Labor with a small margin.
Beyond that they will target “at least 10 marginal Coalition seats,” preferencing away from the Coalition in Petrie, La Trobe, Hindmarsh and Banks.
Interviewed on ABC RN’s PM Antony Green thinks Bandt is safe, but tre planned action may make it harder for the Greens to win other seats they might want to wrest from Labor. Antony Green doesn’t think it will affect the election result.
Druery agrees with that. They are just trying to make a nuisance of themselves.
Their limitation is finding enough people to hand out how to vote cards, which, even with cooperation between the 40 or so parties, will strictly limit the number of electorates they can target.
Meanwhile Phil Coorey at the AFR reckons Turnbull is considering bringing forward the budget by a week to May 3. That will allow him to pass supply bills and “make one last attempt to have the Senate debate the bill to reinstate the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission”. The current state of play is that the ABCC bill is awaiting a parliamentary inquiry with a reporting date of March 15. Coorey says the government feels it could already use the ABCC as a trigger for a double dissolution under a provision known as “failure to pass”, but it would be better to have it as a formal trigger.
The double dissolution election would then be called on May 11 for July 2, which would give him a chance of wiping out the senate crossbench.
Under this scenario, the Turnbull government, currently seeming to thrash around pointlessly, might suddenly release a burst of decisiveness. People like Sean Kelly at The Monthly, who see Turnbull as the Muddle Headed Wombat who hasn’t figured out yet how to do his job could then be shown to be wrong.
An alternative to a DD in July could be a normal election in August.
Meanwhile Michelle Grattan’s article Tony Abbott in a dark place; Turnbull government all over the place is recommended.
She says that Niki Savva’s book The Road to Ruin will not get rid of the Abbott problem:
- Those around Turnbull have hoped and believed the book will be a body blow against Abbott. It will be a further negative mark on the ledgers of Abbott and Credlin – but it will not take care of the “Abbott problem”.
While Abbott continues to talk critically, whether explicitly or implicitly, and while the government appears disorganised, he will add to the perception of disruption and disorder.
The book has been criticized as containing gossip rather than analytical journalism. Some of the anecdotes are sourced but some are anonymous. Abbott and Credlin had no right of reply.
Patrick sets the scene early. Credlin did everything for Abbott and he became dependent on her. She had an encyclopaedic knowledge of policy, far better than Abbott’s but lacked management skills. She controlled agendas, terms of reference of inquiries, staff appointments in ministerial offices. She prevented ministers from appointing their mates, but they often ended up hiring hers instead. When Credlin and Abbott were together she was the stronger, and he liked it that way.
Abbott, Credlin and the rest were unable to create a sense of direction, a plausible narrative for the government. So far Turnbull is struggling also, but he may yet surprise.
Update: I should have said that some of the commentary last night emphasised that the malaise goes far deeper than Credlin/Abbott, or Turnbull for that matter. The lack of talent and philosophical differences within the Coalition run deep.