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Canberra Today 6°/10° | Monday, October 25, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Macklin / Reality dawns on Labor’s failing leader

unnamedIT might have been a messy week for the Coalition, but it was a real political nightmare for the Labor Party.

Robert Macklin.
Robert Macklin.
As the Liberals turned back to PM Tony Abbott, it suddenly dawned on Labor that he was their best electoral asset.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was one of the first to twig. Every time he was asked about the leadership imbroglio he said it was the policy not the salesman that counted.

This is not surprising because leadership changes can be contagious; and once Shorten’s poll numbers, um, shorten – as inevitably they will – his deputy Tania Plibersek will become ever more attractive.

Shorten has failed to make an impact. His poll ratings are an illusion totally dependent on his flailing opponent. His one faint hope is that leadership discontent will reveal a continuing policy split in the government between its liberal and conservative wings.

Good luck with that one.

THE Canberra Press Gallery coverage has been patchy. The Rudd-Gillard battles they were used to were insider revolts by the pollies, while this was a rebellion of the people.

No senior ministers were prepared to lead the charge, at least until the former Oxford Blue for boxing was on the ropes, so confusion reigned among the pundits. Perhaps they, too, need a change of personnel.

BUT the best news was the arrival home of journalist Peter Greste after 400 days in an Egyptian prison for simply doing his job. Interestingly, while he thanked all his family and supporters for their help, the Government barely rated a mention. No doubt that will be explained in the inevitable book (and movie) to come.

THE powerful rejection of public asset sales by Queensland electors has not prevented our own Chief Minister Andrew Barr from jumping on the privatising bandwagon. News that he’s to sell the street lights, some government land, office buildings and the Visitor Centre will probably get a pass from voters. Certainly Jeremy Hanson and the Libs will raise no objections… not unless the proceeds disappear down the maw of the light rail project.

SPEAKING of electric transport, it was surprising to hear that we now have 167 electric cars registered. And according to Ron Collins, a spokesperson for the industry: “There is no doubt there will be a shift in consumer purchasing to new electric cars.” Well, maybe; but there’s an awfully long way to go to replace the gas guzzlers.

STILL on power, Minister Simon Corbell’s decision to buy our electricity from the wind turbines of Victoria and SA was a mixed blessing. While it’s the equivalent of taking 157,000 petrol driven cars off the road, it seems local wind farms will face “an uncertain future”.

CANBERRA Theatre patrons had the quintessential “nice night’s entertainment” this week with a stage version of the popular ABC comedy “Mother & Son”. No naughty words, not much of a plot, but everyone had a jolly good time.

NEWS that electronic sensors might soon catch parking over-stayers follows paid parking in the Triangle. It’s not very popular with public servants, but what a joy for us researchers and visitors to the National Library. More power to the brown bombers!

robert@robertmacklin.com

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Robert Macklin

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