Who’d be an opposition leader if the gates to the Lodge seem to slam shut when you mix up a comedian’s name? 

Friday’s Rove McManus gaffe has turned into a disaster for Kim Beazley. By yesterday there were reports that the Labor leader was under “mounting pressure to resign and make way for a ‘dream team‘ ticket of frontbenchers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard”. We were told that Labor’s national secretary, Tim Gartrell, had admitted privately that Beazley “cannot win the next election on his current performance”.

Today, the bruvvers are spinning in the opposite direction, with frontbenchers Wayne Swan and Joel Fitzgibbon saying Beazley is not under threat. Maybe – but you’ve got to worry about his performance. This morning Beazley has said he’ll be writing to Rove with an apology.

The opposition leader is a decent man. He must have been mortified by his mistake. Of course he’d want to write. But why the hell is he announcing it in public? He has decided he has to participate in asinine politics. He has compounded the damage caused by a regrettable but trivial mistake.

Beazley’s great task is to demonstrate that he provides an alternative to a tired and out of touch government.

Instead, he has chosen to prolong his senior’s moment and remind us of just how tired and out of touch he looked.

Peter Fray

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