All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.
Macbeth (Act V, Scene 1)
This Shakespearian election proceeds apace with the final Act yet to unfold— but as the good bard explained ,“ the hurly-burly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won.”
In every sense of the word, Julia Gillard has lost. She is a diminished force in the Labor party and a diminished force on the Australian political stage. And yet on election night, as the two leaders spoke; as the tally of seats became murky; as the prospect of a dysfunctional parliament became a distinct possibility; on she raved as prickly and as arrogant and as spin-lovely as ever.
This was the lady who thought that assassinating her leader was the right thing to do. This was the lady that played the leading role in the loopy decisions of the Rudd-quartet. This is the lady who thought that a pension increase was not justified because pensioners tend to vote Liberal. This was the lady that convinced Kevin Rudd to drop the “greatest moral challenge of our time”. This was the lady who thought that destroying the cabinet system of government was a good thing — until about 3 seconds before Kevin Rudd felt cold, hard steel between his shoulder blades.
The extraordinary thing is not that Julia Gillard successfully — and single handedly— destroyed the Rudd government; destroyed the political careers of at least 15 of her Labor colleagues and placed the government of this nation in the most akward predicament of any government for at least 60 years. The extraordinary thing is that it doesn’t seem to bother her.
One can only wonder which Julia will be presented to the possible four independents, and the Green member for Melbourne — who looks like an innocent flower. But be there a serpent beneath it?
Yes, there are as yet more players to reveal their hand in this unbecoming little tragedy. There are more plots yet in the pot. There is much mess to clean up, many wounds to heal. Much mischief — yet to unfold!
Undoubtedly the hero of the election is Tony Abbott. In these things, character eventually emerges and it was there, in Abbott, from the beginning.
The mocking of his hesitant delivery, the baiting by journalists, the goading by Labor apparatchiks, and the fabulous effort by the spinners and weavers at fortress Hawker-Britton; failed to weary him, divert his attention nor diminish his task of besting Julia Gillard.
Whether he can claim the crown is yet to be revealed but what is certain is that, win or loose, Tony Abbott has realigned the political landscape. He has brought to a sudden halt to the loony-Left plans of Team Gillard. There is little doubt that the whole NBN broadband fiasco will be re-aligned, cash for clunkers will go, and with a bit of luck what is left of the BER cash will be rescued. Border security will, with luck, cater for the needs of the country’s citizens, rather than the operational plans of people smugglers.
It would be hard to find a political figure that has risen from a one-vote-majority of his parliamentary colleagues, to become such a giant killer. In just a few months he has destroyed the major plank of Labor policy (climate change), seen the swift execution of one prime minister and the slow death of another. He has managed to threaten nearly every major policy direction of his Labor opponents and exposed their conceits. He has also managed to face up to the Labor/ABC/Green axis and survive their relentless onslaught.
The skills shown by Tony Abbott will need to be sharpened even more in the next few days and weeks as the casting sessions for the main supporting roles get underway.
The debacle of the Tasmanian parliament, with its coalition with two Green Members of Parliament, should be a stark warning of the wasted opportunity this election result will be if Julia Gillard manages to save her neck by getting into bed with the Greens. Getting into bed isn’t the problem. It’s what the Greens want to do under the sheets that is the issue.
The Cold Comfort Farm world of the Greens is not a happy or comfortable place to be, for Julia, particularly if she has even the remotest interest of the Australian electorate in mind. Massive carbon and mining taxes, death duties, and a constant attack on people’s freedom of choice will be the fee for Green support.
You have to wonder at a political party (the Greens) that are more interested in hounding citizens about plastic shopping bags, light globes and having colder showers than enjoying the hard-earned comforts of western civilisation. More efficient use of natural materials has nearly always come from commercial initiatives and human invention, rather that the cold dead hand of central control. In politics, pressing the Green button doesn’t necessarily mean GO, More often that not it means STOP!
Should Tony Abbott form a minority government he will need to get his major legislation passed by the Senate before July2011. Once the Greens control the Senate, government as we know it, will implode. Anything could happen.
A minor, yet important piece of side-theatre, will be the unsheathing of the stilettos. There will be many questions asked within Labor circles in the coming weeks. There will be many issues to be discussed. There will be many scores to be settled. Camp Rudd is sure to be asking, “what if”? They all will be lucky if he leaves it at that.
As Julia Gillard, Anna Bligh and Kristina Keneally each stir the witches-pot of political-soup, that foretells their future, they might ponder a little on the fate of Lady Macbeth. Shakespeare had a eye and ear for the crafty and the artful.
As the weird women promised; and, I fear,
Thou play’dst most foully for’t.
Was he talking naked ambition? Or simply, lack of honour?