The Labor Party has spent many words over many months describing John Howard as a clever politician who would do anything to get re-elected. I wrote about it in Crikey back in early March as Labor tried to prepare voters for just such a decision as the step backwards on industrial relations. Do not trust this Prime Minister was the message.

This morning, with Mr Howard’s cleverness apparent, Labor added the descriptors “mean”, “tricky” and “desperate” to “clever politician”.

Deputy Labor Leader Julia Gillard said on ABC radio the changes to WorkChoices are “a desperate move by the Government.This is John Howard being a clever politician.”

Later in the morning she added:

This is just a short-term political manoeuvre from a desperate, desperate man and the day after the election he will go back to what he truly believes in and that is his Work Choices laws and their ability to drive the wages and conditions of Australian working families down. No one in this country should believe that a re-elected Howard government will keep any of these changes. Then it will be back to business as usual letting workers get ripped off. … What we know about this is it’s politics, mean and tricky politics, designed to fool people. And when we see the details, I suspect they will be mean and tricky as well.