It’s hard to resist the sense that somehow, Julia Gillard's prime ministership is cursed. She has started the year in the same way as she finished 2011. All the focus on her leadership and its ineptitude, while Tony Abbott, an unpopular, facile opportunist, makes merry with her flaws and offers nothing of substance.

The decision to breach the agreement with Andrew Wilkie was Gillard’s, taken fully cognizant of its political impacts. The Australia Day debacle appears to have been one cooked up in her office, without her knowledge, raising significant questions about how it operates. That senior people within her office, up to her chief of staff, knew about the actions of Tony Hodges from soon after events at the Lobby but seem to have left her none the wiser is a remarkable failure, badly letting down the Prime Minister.