Putting 1975 in the shade. Presumably common sense will apply in the Senate when that chamber gets around to considering the Government’s emergency financial package. Surely the minor parties will in the end bow to Kevin Rudd’s wishes and give him what he wants? For not to do so would plunge Australian government into an almighty crisis and a three month period of dangerous inaction while the Government waits to submit its legislation a second time and the world financial crisis keeps rolling on. This thought that a Government elected with a massive majority just 15 months ago could be stymied by an intransigent upper house is almost too frightening to contemplate.

Sure, the non government parties have every right to criticise a major proposal like this one. All wisdom does not reside on the Treasury benches and it is legitimate for others to suggest alternatives. A sensible government would hopefully consider them but in the end under our form of parliamentary democracy governments at a time of crisis should be able to govern.

This elementary notion seems to have escaped the attention of Liberal Leader Malcolm Turnbull before he made his rash decision to oppose outright the $42 billion worth of spending proposals that the Rudd team deems to be necessary.

Parliamentary crisis?

What constitutional crisis? We’re tabloids with a great picture!

First heard the “f” word. Patrick B. de Fontenay, a former director at the International Monetary Fund and now an adjunct professor at the ANU’s Crawford School of Economics and Government, while expressing agreement in a radio interview this morning with Paul Keating that the IMF needed reforming, had one interesting reminiscence about the former “world’s greatest Treasurer”. Mr Keating, it appears, has the distinction at the IMF’s Washington headquarters of being the first and only world leader to use the “f” word during official discussions. All I can say is that the good professor was lucky not to be a journalist getting a phone call during those far off days as “f’s” were just warm up words!

Hypocritical Turkish delight. A week ago the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stomped off the stage at Davos after proclaiming that Israel knew only too well how to kill people in Gaza. Yesterday back in Ankara Mr Erdoğan held talks with the Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha who has been accused of being one of the main instigators in the recruitment of militias that are fighting ethnic African groups in Darfur. Not surprising really, I suppose, because when Erdoğan visited Khartoum in 2006, he declared that no genocide had taken place in Darfur and last year Turkey came under pressure for twice welcoming Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir, implicated by prosecutors of the International Criminal Court in the Hague of orchestrating the killings in Darfur of some 300,000 people since 2003.

The need for a trigger. There has been one major failing in the political tactics of the Rudd Government during its short time in officer: it has failed to orchestrate a trigger that could be used to call a double dissolution. How handy it would be now to have the ability to really call Malcolm Turnbull’s bluff and trot straight out to Parliament House to get an election called the moment the Senate rejected the economic stimulus package.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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