“Remember what happened in 1998?” Crikey asked last Monday. “Then, there was a general feel that the government was attempting to wedge the Labor Party against One Nation over Indigenous matters… Whatever the intention, the Queensland election in June showed it wasn’t working… Back in 1998, it seems as if voters just got sick of hearing the PM go on about the issue. Perhaps he has listened a little too much to the CLP.”

Today’s Galaxy polling suggests that the public hasn’t responded to the government latest intervention in indigenous Australia the way it was supposed to.

And — politics being politics — there’s already some finger pointing going on. Questions are being asked, like if the PM got a bum steer from the backblocks.

Canberra scuttlebutt says the PM was already looking worried in his television appearances and sounding shrill on radio last week, unsure of where this thing was going politically.

It says that the previous weekend’s private polling had suggested the punters were cynical.

He can’t reverse, he’s got a long road to go down and it means he isn’t getting to traverse the territory he’d really wants to cover — the influence of unions on the ALP.