It’s hard to beat John Howard and the Government in the weasel words department, but that’s just what Labor under Kim Beazley have done. In fact, they’ve gone one step better – they’ve created wimpy weasel words.

After all the Beazley bluster in the Address in Reply to the Budget, caucus yesterday left the door open to supporting the $6-a-week tax cuts in the Budget due to take affect on July 1. The party room agreed to not make a final decision about using parliamentary minutiae to block the proposed tax cuts.

Their original stance was dumb politics. Now, they’ve skidded round 180 degrees – and are hoping no one will smell the burnt rubber or notice the dust cloud.

Labor’s gesture was always futile. The tax cuts bill is unlikely to pass the current Senate, but the Government could recall the upper house and ram it through the minute it takes control.

The Government has whacked Labor about the head over the administrative worries for business a tax deadlock would cause. And the Tax Office is putting together two separate tax schedules for employers, taking in both the government’s proposals and tax cuts that were passed in last year’s budget. This means the tax cuts announced in this year’s budget will take effect from July 1 no matter what happens in parliament.

Governments don’t just govern by legislation. There are a whole lot of other tools, too – like this one. Labor is saying it reserves the right to get puffed up about the legislation that provides the tax cuts – but may not necessarily vote against the schedule the covers their administration.

No doubt caucus members took a few stroppy calls when they were back in their electorates last week. So now the flip – and the flop.