Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, began at 4:45 am
on June 22 1941 with artillery and air strikes on a front more than
1,000 miles long.

Kevin Andrew’s press sec Ian Hanke has a long black leather coat that would have done Heinz Guderianproud, but he and his boss had to be content with formally launching the IR war with just an 8:00 am doorstop at Parliament House this morning.

700 page bill legislation and 500 additional pages of explanatory
memoranda was formally introduced in the House an hour later, and after
some brisk procedural skirmishing.

Under the Government’s plans,
unfair dismissal laws will be scrapped for companies employing up to
100 staff, awards will be pared back to five basic standards and more
people will be encouraged to sign onto individual contracts.

Andrew says the Government’s propaganda blitz will be suspended while the Bill is being debated in Parliament.

leader Kim Beazley told caucus yesterday that the legislation will
“inevitably get through” – that it will enjoy the same sort of initial
success as Operation Barbarossa. Beazley, however, says it will be a
“slow burn” for the government, “a continuing campaign.”

The Prime Minister “does not understand the Australian community’s views on the issue,” says Beazley.

Which all feeds into the leadership, discussed in detail in by Malcolm Farr in The Daily Telegraph today.

Supporters say the pace shows Howard still has the energy
and eagerness for the job. Those looking for a transfer to Treasurer
Peter Costello suggest, out of hope, that the Prime Minister is having
a final burst before handing over.

The Daily Telegraph has calculated the Prime Minister this
year will fly at least 210,000km. He is expected to cover more distance
abroad than at any time in his 9½ years in the job.

By year’s end he will have touched down in at least 15 other countries
– Britain, China, Greece, Indonesia,Iraq, Japan, Korea, Malaysia,
Malta, New Zealand, PNG, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, the US.

The PM might be out of step with community views on IR, but as Farr
observers “Mr Howard is not giving the impression he is about to take
things easy in preparation for a handover to his Liberal Party deputy
Peter Costello…

“One story percolating through Liberal and
business circles has the Prime Minister telling a corporate leader he
couldn’t understand why judges had to retire at age 70. He clearly
thought that was too young to stop work.”

And, irony of ironies,
as Farr observes “the next election could be difficult for the
Government as industrial relations laws expected to be passed by
Parliament this year might be unpopular. The backbench might like to
have Mr Howard there fighting that election.”