Barnaby Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:
Line crossed as Gillard cracks under election strain
It is the time when former senator Steve Fielding dressed up as a bottle, it is the time when former senator Len Harris dressed up as a knight in armour, it is the time when former Senator Andrew Bartlett went bungee jumping and it is the time when current Prime Minister Gillard gave a speech on blue ties and abortion.
It is less than 100 days to an election. This is a time when those behind get jumpy and desperately try anything to get a disengaged electorate to listen.
What is different this time is that it is not minor party leaders jumping for the spotlight, it is a sitting Prime Minister.
If the Prime Minister wants to play the philosophical civil war card, because the electorate and her own party have given up on her, then she will achieve nothing more than the disdain of the electorate at the end of her political career. To say that people were disgusted and gobsmacked by the pure unadulterated parochialism and naivety of this ploy is an understatement.
The vast majority in politics get furious when conscience issues are used for personal political appeal. When debate is called for on the sensitive issue of abortion, it is a conscience issue that both sides co-ordinate together on bipartisan approaches for either side of the debate.
There are very strict, but unwritten, rules of engagement and Ms Gillard broke the lot. Virtually all people have strong and indelible views on this, but how many have pulled this arrow from their quiver during this campaign? None but Ms Gillard.
The anarchy that has beset the nation is further illuminated by Mr Tony Windsor, who states that he will only work with Ms Gillard. One could be so bold to suggest that the nation might come first before personalities.
If Mr Windsor does pull the trigger, that is the end of the referendum into financial recognition of local government. Section 128 of the constitution requires that a law to amend the constitution be passed not less than two months before the referendum. On the current election timetable that law must be passed by June 25 because pre-polling opens on August 26.
Therefore, any election before September 7, in effect, would mean that this referendum would not occur. I thought the recognition of Local Government was part of the independent’s, so-called, “deal”.
As the government has basically ceased operating, it goes to show the good job the bureaucrats do as the wheels of service to the public continue. The issue is more with the private sector.
This nine-month Labor caravan of confusion, otherwise known as the 2013 election, has destroyed business confidence. As National Australia Bank chairman Michael Chaney pointed out on Tuesday, Labor’s decision to hold such a long election campaign has created a perfect storm of consumer pessimism and economic instability.
A lack of business confidence translates into a lack of investment, and an inability for the economy to change gears. As the mining boom tapers off, we need other sectors of the economy – like agriculture, construction and tourism – to pick up.
But no one is going to take the risks necessary to make this change with the “who knows what they’ll do next” crowd that we have in Canberra.
We need a fluid economy. Instead we have a deadlocked government. The general public has gone from not listening to the Prime Minister to disdain.
If you watch people’s faces at waiting rooms, there descends a set look and audible groans as Ms Gillard creates a parody of her office on the rolling news coverage.
We are a better nation than this. As John Howard used to point out there are many more things that unite us than divide us. We have been blessed to generally have leaders that have stressed consensus over division.
Bob Hawke was another example. Indeed, when Julia Gillard first became Prime Minister she claimed that she wanted to govern in the consensus style of Hawke. That’s just another promise that she has failed to keep.
It is disappointing that people, complete strangers, have no hesitation in offering free character assessments of the Prime Minister of Australia. It is not that they disagree with her beliefs, it is the way she keeps returning to the bank of public trust and discerning acumen and dragging it through the mud.