Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Louise Dodson seems to have hit the nail on the head regarding the ALP's current misfortunes. Specifically:

Looking at just three indications of economic health - interest rates, inflation and unemployment - (Port Adelaide Labor MP Rod) Sawford says election results can be predicted. If all three go down over a term, the Government will be returned; if all three go up, the Opposition will win.

Last year all of these economic factors were lower than in 2001, so Sawford was confident the Government would be returned. So much for the importance of leadership. If economic factors are so paramount, why does Labor turn itself inside out with leadership destabilisation and battles, if the result is written in the economic stars anyway?

I had similar thoughts on my mind this morning with a minor epiphany that it doesn't really matter who leads Labor right now. They could have Kim Beazley, Kevin Rudd, Eddie Maguire, Jennifer Hawkins or any other figure popular with the punters in charge and still it won't resolve the overriding dilemma that Labor cannot win an election; Liberal has to lose it.

Meanwhile, Gerard Henderson - the man who I imagine sees himself as the hard right version of Phillip Adams, and who to his credit probably has more brain cells than the Divine Miranda, Janet Albrechtsten and Piers Akerman combined - argues that religious leaders and politicians have every right to "discuss" abortion. I don't agree, but I'm enough of a realist to know that it will happen anyway, as organised religion is still a powerful political lobby group and its pawns are now as high in the hierarchy as Health Minister. What I'm wondering is: what eaxctly will they contribute to this "discussion"? Wait, let me guess. Life is precious. Abortions are bad. Late-term abortions should be banned. Ideally, there would be no abortions.

The way I see it, let some far-right backbencher (like Alan Cadman or John Murphy) introduce the private member's bill, and let it go to the vote. I am confident that the majority of MPs recognise that if the system ain't broke, don't fix it (I am particularly heartened by status quo arguments but forward by Libs like Dr Sharman Stone, Jeannie Ferris and Brendan Nelson) and therefore the Bill would be voted down, but it would be interesting to "out" people on this issue, find out once and for all who supports a woman's right of choice and who does not.

I must also pick up Henderson on this unusual analogy:

It appears that Christians face a contempt in sections of the media which is not extended to other religious, or secular, faiths. For example, in introducing a report on AM last Tuesday, presenter Tony Eastley depicted Boswell's focus on abortion as being "like a dog with a bone". It is hard to imagine such a comment being made about the focus of the Greens leader, Bob Brown, on forests.

A/ The "forests" are not a bone but rather a defining symbol, the primary focus of the Greens as a political party. It's not just a little side hobby of Bob Brown, rather the main reason he is in politics and why the Greens exist.

B/ Voters knew exactly what the Greens stood for going into the election, despite the warping of and fear-mongering about their policies by the Murdoch media. The Greens' pro-conservation agenda was not hidden or suddenly revealed after October 9. A change to Australia's abortion laws was never made clear in the Coalition's policy platform leading up the election and probably only became a possibility when they realised they had total control of parliament. Perhaps if it had been, not so many people would have voted for them.


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