When you have the spectacle of a Queensland Nationals Senator moving a motion citing the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, you know something really bizarre politically is going on.
Ron Boswell’s conversion to international human rights law and the UN (which Joh Bjelke-Petersen probably thought was all part of the international communist conspiracy) is, of course, the latest twist in the increasingly twisted Sunshine State local government amalgamation saga.
This brouhaha is now part of The War on the States rather than an issue to be considered on its merits.
And there are some strange discussions taking place in Rudd’s office, if Glenn Milne is to be believed.
A trial balloon was floated in Milne’s column in The Australian:
Now though, there are elements within the Queensland ALP that also want Rudd to act. As they watch the party bleeding on the ground and the election drawing ever closer there are some who believe Rudd should not only take Beattie on, but that he should use the party’s own rules and platform to do so.
Milne goes on to outline a rather tortuous strategy whereby Rudd could convene a meeting of Labor’s national executive to overturn Beattie’s decision – using a combination of pledges in the ALP platform and federal party rules.
Milne’s leakers also seem to have bought into a conspiracy theory that Beattie is trying to undermine Rudd so as to fly in to Canberra after a Howard win to be the ALP’s saviour.
This is nonsense.
Beattie’s statement on the weekend that he wasn’t about to depart in a few months was directed at Howard. He’s trying to keep his adversaries off side, and off balance. The likelihood is still that he will be gone next year, but not to Canberra.
The Ruddsters appear to be unclear as to whether they should be campaigning against Beattie or Howard. The proposition that the ALP’s machine could be used to overturn a democratic decision of the Queensland Parliament should give pause to those who think this would be a master stroke in the defence of local democracy. Thirty-six faceless men and all that…
It would also be a neat way to actually start a war with Beattie.
One imagines saner counsels will prevail, but Howard may have unwittingly exposed another flaw in Rudd’s armour — and not the one he hoped to provoke with this wedge. Rudd’s office is heavy with policy wonks and media spinsters but light on hard headed political strategists – and this has just been demonstrated by the silliness revealed in Milne’s column.
The incident also demonstrates the continued nervousness in the federal ALP camp about the election. Beazley’s leadership, denials notwithstanding, was premised on a two-election strategy. A Rudd defeat would call into question his leadership – since he has given so much promise that victory is around the corner.
Team Kevin07 should learn to hold its nerve.