The news cycle can be a cruel thing. Steve Lewis, The Australian’s chief political correspondent, probably put together today’s column — Labor’s Dream Run Ended At Sunrise, talking about how the Sunrise fiasco has damaged Rudd, first chink in the et cetera — before those new Newspoll results came in, with those damn 59-41 two-party preferred figures riding as high as ever.

What’s a pundit to do? The old ‘appearances can be deceptive’ routine. So the story becomes despite the poll results. So now it seems ‘Labor figures worried at how Rudd has bungled the Sunrise affair will take little comfort from the good poll results…’ Which is bollocks, of course. They’ll be cackling fit to burst.


Those results are a triple whammy for the bunker boys — not only is the public refusing to slaver like Pavlov’s dogs at every story the meeja comes up with, not only won’t they get behind Honest John as the representative of decent Australianness, they don’t even care if Tintin trashes Gallipoli.

This is yet another stake through the heart of the culturalist theory that Howard somehow represents the distilled essence of Australian beliefs and values in one dun-coloured, comb-over package. Thousands of pages of newsprint have gone on this idea, which was dispelled as soon as voting intentions began to move to the ALP in serious units — first with WorkChoices, then with Rudd’s election.

So, could we just cut to the chase here? Mateship. Media Management. Gallipoli. Experience. Blah blah blah. They. Don’t. Care! The electorate hired Howard to lock up boat people and run security in 2001, and they didn’t hire Latham in 2004. Now they want to hire someone to turn the arbitration tap back on and pull us out of America’s arse. They couldn’t be making it any clearer.

Except to the pundits, vamping desperately to fill space until August, hoping against hope that this wet kindling will catch alight if they can just keep frotting it long enough.