Mood: accident prone
Topic: aust govt
Tonight the ABC broadcaster 7.30 Report NSW edition has effectively rolled out interference on the Opposition, Green Party and Big Media negative theme criticising Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on a range of matters.
The intervention was achieved via a rare interview with the PM's wife Therese Rein on a very controlled basis in her preferred setting of a disability service radio station. She presents as very intelligent, engaging, probably more calculating than immediately obvious, and also compassionate person in relation to employment of disabled people, as daughter of a paralympian father. As loyal as ever to her politician husband she vouches for his sensitive nature while everyone else knows him as a workaholic hard arse.
Rein is chalk and cheese compared to the tedious wife of former PM Howard. On the other hand Rein has an element of kooky eccentricity in her personality that somehow gels with her husband. A certain blinkered perversity one might expect at holy roller Christian campus prayer meeting, or perhaps out of a bottle of prozac - always seeing the positive when reality is far more nuanced with shades of grey. In common with Howard they are both slaves to their respective party machine.
The placement tonight is orthodox spin to neutralise the strained testy interview over refugee boat interview by Foreign Minister Stephen Smith immediately preceding, after the Tamil boat deal seemingly unravelled in federal parliament earlier today.
What the appearance of the softer Rein tells us is that the Prime Ministerial machine is rapidly burning their political capital to stay ahead of the hunting dogs of national politics. Essential even for a high polling PM as he is nominally non factional, and must avoid any circumstance that might cleave consensus in his favour.
These huntings dogs are the criticism around diverse intractable issues:
- Tamil refugees marooned off Indonesia refusing to go ashore with provincial governor refused to force them raising the prospect of an international diplomatic problem;
- Government party figures are publicly challenging PM Rudd on lack of compassion for the same Tamil refugees such as Julie Irwin MP and Paul Howes of Australian Workers Union;
- inflation figures are up and rate rise scheduled for Melbourne cup day
- West Atlas oil spill at 5.88 million gallons is now half as big as the infamous Exxon Valdez disaster which reached 10.8 million gallons, still thankfully in the open ocean, but with no obvious solution for 70 days now.
- Telstra are refusing to buckle down on the hyperbolic $43 billion national broadband network 'plan' given existing infrastructure as potential commercial competition and 1.3 million shareholders to represent.
- shaky climate change legislation prior to Copenhagen conference in December.
Any one of these policy areas have the potential to shrink Prime Minister Rudd, not least because Australians have this quite nasty streak of cutting down any tall poppy. Ironically we wonder if the easing of the economic crisis will mean Rudd can no longer count on being everyone's 'mummy' political leader anymore.
Having created the bread Kevin Rudd is a Little Red Hen surrounded by various greedy farm animals who now want to help him eat it: Meaning he's achieved prime ministerial authority, but many others in his own party want to elbow their way into the exercise of that discretion.