Crikey Says

Nov 29, 2012

Crikey says: critics should worry what the PM’s doing now

It's getting hot. Especially if you're in Victoria and SA today. But also in federal Parliament over the AWU scandal. In the Queensland LNP where another MP walks. In Murdoch HQ with Leveson's verdict due tonight. And in the battle between the current and former Qantas chiefs. Remember the sunscreen.

There might be one argument (and it's been made by many) that finally draws a line under Julia Gillard and the Slater & Gordon scandal: with so many instances of incompetence as prime minister, why are we more concerned about whether she was an incompetent lawyer almost two decades ago? The Prime Minister has skillfully and successfully corralled support for important legislation in the term of this Parliament. There have been many wins in an incredibly difficult environment, more than critics and probably voters will ever give her credit for. But there have been plenty of missteps too, instances of bad political judgement and hollow policy follow-through. It has not been a good week for the government. While Labor delivered most of the recommendations of its independent panel, the asylum seeker debate this week cast nobody in a good light. It presented legislation to enshrine important reforms to the education system without allocating a single dollar or devising any real strategy on how to work with the states to deliver it. Gillard's Mental Health Commission put out an inaugural report widely condemned by the sector for ignoring recommendations on reform. Today, legislation to establish a national disability insurance scheme goes before Parliament despite no long-term funding commitment and no sign of agreement on delivery. Meanwhile, Gillard's slavish devotion to traditional alliances in the Middle East almost resulted in a full-scale party room revolt. Maybe for the first time, Labor is in serious danger of not delivering on what it promised. As Parliament rises for the summer, critics have plenty to pick apart in the government's agenda and the performance of the Prime Minister. Which we would have thought is much more important than 20-year-old legal documents.

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3 thoughts on “Crikey says: critics should worry what the PM’s doing now

  1. JMNO

    One of the Wentworth Group of Scientists – can’t remember which – said that the Gillard Government seemed more interested in cutting deals than standing up to vested interests and this would be my criticism of them as well. Policy directions are good but I am left thinking, ‘if only they’d gone that bit further, how much better it would be’. Perhaps it stems from being a minority government and having to negotiate everything rather than operating from the strength of having a healthy majority.

  2. zut alors

    Agreed, the PM has shown some poor judgement and failed to take bold steps in certain areas (asylum seekers in particular, her most shameful chapter). But the PM’s shortcomings pale in comparison to the limp individual heading the Coalition.

  3. AR

    Gillard’s point, that the tories have blown the last week of Parliament on tendentious mendacity about a non issue 20 yrs old, is valid.
    Look at how much important legislation this government has passed – let’s have MORE minority governments rather than the dictatorships like the Rodent’s last, mad policies due to control of both Chambers.
    The final day was as perfect an example of priorities as could be written by a satirist; this morning, important legislation to benefit the most vulnerable in the nation and where were the tories? I don’t know but I know where they were not – in Parliament.

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