Christian Kerr writes:


None of us were bright enough to notice it
at the time, but conventional Press Gallery wisdom now says that the prime minister had a “Hundred Flowers
period last year, when he encouraged backbenchers to speak out to get new
policy ideas. Today, he probably just wants a purge.

The immigration amendments have been put
off until next week, but today Gary Humphries could end up becoming the first
Senator to cross the floor in the life of the Howard Government if the disallowance of the ACT same-sex union legislation is voted on.

There is only one more sitting week before
Parliament rises for the winter recess. This one hasn’t been good for
the government. There’ve been disagreements over refugees and gay
rights – and
looming storms over petrol issues and ethanol.

Labor seems to have finally found an issue
it can get its teeth into with resonance in voterland in IR. Despite all the
giveaways, there’s no sign yet of a Budget bounce in the polls.

The Treasurer told the troops a fortnight
ago that things would change when the tax cuts kick in. If they don’t, however, expect to hear more
Coalition members talking out – as they focus on survival.

Peter Fray

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