‘A government is only as good as its opposition’.
That old adage has been been thrown around for as long as I can remember and has been cited more times than I would care to count.
And it holds true in Australia’s political theatre.
We clearly don’t have a good government at the helm. This must then imply that we don’t have a good opposition.
Certainly, we don’t.
The Shorten Opposition is so demonstrably soft that I’m half inclined to suggest that the anger and frustration from the March in March should have been aimed straight at them. They are not performing as an opposition should. Simple. The government could (possibly) be a better government if the opposition would be a better opposition. But at the moment they don’t seem capable.
Show me just one Labor voter who is satisfied with their performance.
They have sat back and lazily watched the Abbott Government stagger from one debacle to another. Lies go unchallenged, policy backflips are yawned at, attacks on workers and welfare recipients are waved off as an apparition and they have adopted a ‘ho-hum’ attitude towards Tony Abbott’s gross incompetency.
Where have they been hiding? Why aren’t they saying anything that might hold the government to account? Why is it up to the social media to do all the talking for them? Where were they when people marched in the streets for them?
The political landscape has changed irreversibly since Labor last occupied the opposition seats. It has become meaner, nastier and more viral thanks largely to the previous opposition leader. Labor do not have to go as far as emulating the behaviour of that man – and I hope they don’t – but they certainly need to abandon their wet lettuce approach.
Many have suggested that all Labor need to do is sit pretty and wait for Abbott to fall on his sword (and that fate is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility). The latest opinion polls do not look good for him and Labor no doubt are buoyed by the result, but like every other response to the negative aspects of Tony Abbott; they lack the initiative to capitalise on it.
In fact, in the six months since they ‘won’ opposition they have ignored the chance to take the initiative on any life-line Abbott has gifted them.
They are, collectively, timid in the House and they lack the mongrel outside of it.
As a self confessed Labor voter it’s difficult to sustain my patience. As each Abbott disaster has been left unmolested I reassured myself that the next one wouldn’t be. I took some comfort in the assumption that they might just one day stand up to the wrecking machine. I keep waiting for them to strike, as do most Labor supporters, but I can no longer be tolerant with the constant ineptitude. The tipping point was the dismal interview Julie Bishop gave to the BBC and more to the point; the ‘no comment’ response from the opposition to what was an absolute and monumental stuff-up from the Foreign Minister.
That interview was almost two weeks ago. They’ve had two weeks to respond to what was a massive furphy, or should I say a ‘massive lie’. In the interview she claimed that:
… asylum seekers ”are processed in third countries, and then we look for resettlement in other countries, including in Australia …
That alone should have been enough for the opposition to emerge from their hiding place and shout from the rooftops that her own Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison have repeatedly declared the exact opposite. How many times have the government said something along the lines of ‘they will not be settled in Australia’?
On the world stage our Foreign Minister delivers an outright lie and not once (to my knowledge) has the opposition attempted to not only expose that lie, but hold her and her government to account over it. They’ve had two weeks. They blew it.
In six months they’ve blown everything.
Bill, are you listening?
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