Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist May 2013 Contents Australian Pharmacist May 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 21
Remember your days as a student when
silly behaviour at the end of year revue
was not only tolerated but applauded?
Sadly, pretty much since the beginning of
this year, the Australian Government has
turned into a very unfunny student revue.
The low point was Kevin Rudd's
challenge-that-wasn't for the PM's job.
Encouraged by his supporters, who said
he had the numbers to reclaim his lost
job at the top, he made his move -- only to
stand back at the last minute making
very hollow public statements about how
having given his word not to challenge,
he wouldn't. Hah!
Sadly, for the ALP, the episode cost
it a number of first-rate politicians in
the Rudd-backers who were obliged
to resign their roles and return to the
That's now a dark blot on the pages of
the ALP's history. And that wasn't the
low point of the government's fortunes.
Since then, PM Julia Gillard seems to have
lost control. Even backbenched former
ministers now feel they have the right to
criticise their own party and voice their
own opinions about policy -- in their
electorate's (read their own) interests of
course. Now the pie has been opened,
a whole chorus of blackbirds is chortling,
but each is using its own songbook.
The good ship Gillard is leaking faster than
she can bail it out and the Opposition is
enjoying the spectacle. All the good work
and sound Labor policy is being forgotten
and the electorate seems to be more
interested in watching the wreck sink than
in what the government has done for the
country and what it still could do.
Ms Gillard is doing her best.
The superannuation policy is popular
with the vast majority not affected by
it -- not all of whom are rusted-on Labor
voters -- and her trip to China shows she
has the style and stature to stand tall and
receive the respect of the leadership of
the world's most populous nation with
the second largest economy. She's playing
a very tricky game well from the middle
ground, it appears, considering our ties to
the US and the fact that the US and China
are jostling for influence in the region.
Meanwhile, no one appears to be
questioning Opposition Leader
Tony Abbott about his party's alternative
view of running the country or what his
policies are. It's certainly difficult to know
how he would handle a trip to China.
What a song and dance!
By Mark Thornton
Interviews with Mr Abbott seem to be
simplistic affairs in which, no matter
what he's asked, the answer is: 'This (fill in
the blank) is another example of a bad
government going worse/telling lies/
wasting money/missing opportunites/
Indeed, as Fairfax economics editor
Tim Colebatch points out: 'Even the book
Abbott waves on television, Our Plan: Real
Solutions for all Australians, is mainly a
statement of aspirations. It sets out very
few concrete policies, and most of those
come from his 2009 book Battlelines. He
sees issues through a prism of private
sector good/public sector bad. His loyalty
is to private schools, private hospitals,
private transport and to private provision of
'Since student days, he has defined himself
more by what he is against than what he is for.'
There is no need to stick his neck out
and actually commit to anything except
repealing what Labor has introduced.
Why bother to take a stand on anything
yet when no one is asking questions about
it because they're too entertained by
Why mention a health policy, or actually
have an idea about what to do with the PBS
or e-health, for example, when government
will pretty much be guaranteed to fall into
his lap unless he does something extremely
daft -- and despite dropping some clangers
in the past, even he won't do that now.
The Opposition just has to wait until the
ALP's dreadful revue is over, the curtain
finally and mercifully drops, and the
cleaners move in to mop up the rotten
tomatoes and cart the remnants of the
formerly proud government out to the
Mark Thornton is a Canberra-based journalist
and was a member of the Federal Parliamentary
Press Gallery for many years. Any opinions
expressed are not necessarily those of PSA,
its Board or staff.
'The good ship Gillard
is leaking faster than
she can bail it out
and the Opposition
is enjoying the
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