It has been a delightful two-week break from the political grind for Julia Gillard, for her harried and panicky Labor colleagues, and for the millions of us who might rather watch the men’s 10-metre diving.
Gillard’s had cover, and it has paid off. She took a Queensland holiday, kept pretty quiet and fared better out of the Olympics than Australia’s swimmers, scoring a five-point boost in last weekend’s Newspoll to reach a six-month high of 33% of the primary vote.
Now the Games of the XXX Olympiad are wrapping up and Labor’s cover is blown. Parliament resumes on Tuesday. As Bernard Keane writes today, Labor takes some wins out of the winter break, while the opposition has made some uncharacteristic mistakes:
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“When MPs gather in Canberra after the end of the winter recess next week, the political landscape won’t look like many thought it would when Parliament wrapped up amid fury and anguish at the end of June … the winter break certainly didn’t play out according to opposition plans.”
Labor now has a chance to turn around the toxic political debate, and Gillard has a chance at making her leadership stick.
But savvy punters might prefer to place their bets on Steve Hooker in the pole vault tomorrow morning.