19 July 2010
So much for Moving Forward.
Today was all about Workchoices and Peter Costello.
Tony Abbott started the day in a tangle over the meaning of “Dead, buried and cremated”. You would have thought it would be pretty clear.
The problem is, he kept weaseling out of any commitment to maintain the current regulations, only the current legislation. Team Gillard claims he'll bring back the big ‘W' in everything but name, by tweaking the regs. I suppose the Government put in so much work preparing their scare campaign, it would be a shame to waste it just because of a dead/buried/cremated committment.
Abbott saying things like “...obviously I can't give an absolute guarantee about every single aspect of workplace relations legislation. But Work Choices is gone now and forever.” made the government's job easy.
So Abbott repeated the d/b/c line until blue and on live radio, in a rare moment of apparent genuine spontaneity, even signed his name to a piece of paper, for whatever that's worth. (Probably quite a bit on e-bay one day)
And after the faux-contract, the Gospel-truth written-word, about how he had killed-dead the infamous laws, which were aimed at tipping the scales in the favour of small business, Abbott had the rather awkward task of addressing... you guessed it... a massive hall, packed with small business owners.
It was lucky Peter Costello was close at hand to lighten the mood with his best Gillard impression. When you see him gleefully and effortlessly work the mic, you have to mourn the man, who made politics just that little bit more interesting.
Abbott left his doorstop abruptly, when the pack wouldn't let up about Workchoices, prompting some bemused onlookers to ask me “Is that normal? Do they always walk off so rudely?”
And it was off to the mall.
The first “walk-through” signalled to me the real start of the campaign. Pressing the flesh in the food hall, coo-cooing babies and listening very patiently to the, shall we say, more experienced members of the electorate.
Abbott was ambushed by another protester in budgie smugglers, the 2nd in two days, with the same message about the $47b in pledged government cutbacks. This one yelled “Do you like the cut of my speedos?” (geddit?) before being ushered away by the burley men in coats.
It only took less than 30 minutes, from the time we found out where we were going, for the protester to show up. And we were already halfway down the motorway on a 40 minute drive from the city. A well organised counter-Abbott plot is well underway, probably at the behest of the Unions. You can understand now why we have no idea where we are going tomorrow.
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