Tony Abbott's in the doldrums. But younger Australians are the big losers, writes Bernard Keane. Plus the looming debt trap for students. The waves that could flood Australia's economic recovery; the clues from Chinese steel mills. A new political era in India: Crikey is on the ground. Ukraine's separatism may have a life of its own. Plus the right-wing Hack at Triple J.
In June 2010, then-prime minister Kevin Rudd was ahead 52-48% on the two-party-preferred vote, according to Newspoll. He was ahead of the opposition leader as preferred PM, although Rudd’s net approval rating was poor at -19 points.
Days later he was dumped by Labor for being too unpopular.
Fast forward to today’s Newspoll. Tony Abbott is behind on the 2PP vote by 45% to Labor’s 55%. Abbott lags behind as preferred PM and his net approval rating has sunk to negative 30 points.
Put another way, Abbott could only dream of polling numbers as good as Rudd’s when he was knifed.
It has now undeniable that the Coalition government has botched the budget process. Broken promises, inconsistent rhetoric and cuts which disproportionately hit the poor and vulnerable have led to widespread anger and unhappiness in the community. The practice of promising one thing before an election, and doing something else afterwards, did not work for Gillard and it is not working for Abbott. All MPs would do well to absorb the message that voters should be given more credit. We deserve to be treated with more honesty and more consistency.
If the Coalition wants to lift itself out of the political death zone, it must learn from this episode. If not, Abbott will go the way of Rudd — and sooner than he might think.