Behaving like a prime minister should
If Labor falls, what kind of prime minister will Tony Abbott be? The kind who stands in front of offensive placards about his opponent (''ditch the witch/bitch'')? The kind that makes jokes about Italian cruise ship disasters in which more than a dozen people died (''Well that was one boat that did get stopped, wasn't it'')?
Then there was the handpicked quote sent to the media recounting Abbott's dismay that Gillard just ''won't lie down and die''. Should leaders of civilised democratic nations really wish death on their opponents? And how dignified is it to bolt for the doors because someone wants to vote with you, and you don't like them? On the other hand, you have to admire Abbott's commitment to values - he's unwavering on that, at least. While young people (yes, a generalisation, but most of us have grown up with liberal teachings of fairness and equality) may disagree with his opposition to gay marriage, we get that his stance is based on his faith. Meanwhile, no one can really understand why Julia Gillard would refuse to endorse same-sex marriage - she's atheist, so is it a personal issue? Perhaps she doesn't want to look like she's riding on the coat tails of President Obama's endorsement. Regardless, it doesn't paint the PM in a good light to give no reason for her ''no'' answer.
That's the maddening problem with Labor now - they have implemented and are implementing good policies (the National Disability Insurance Scheme, for one), they listen to experts (climate scientists), and they haven't resorted to the kind of attacks that Craig Thomson has endured - was Liberal senator Mary Jo Fisher ever hounded like this for her encounters with the law?
Labor just cannot communicate its strengths to the public, or defend its weaknesses. They cannot lay the smack down when they have a strong argument. Why is no one hounding Chris Pyne about his suss meetings - and answers about said meetings - with Speaker Peter Slipper's staffer James Ashby? They let the opposition run circles around them - throwing prostitutes and cab charges and then watching the ensuing chaos.
Whether you approve of his tactics you have to be impressed how, with little policy and costings, and the ability to put his foot in it on a regular basis, Abbott has the Coalition with a 54-46 lead on Labor in Newspoll's latest two-party preferred poll.
However, the same poll found that Abbott's personal satisfaction rating has dropped to 31 per cent (compared to the PM's 30 per cent), while his dissatisfaction rate is at an all-time high of 60 per cent (matching Gillard's).
If Abbott is going to be our next PM, which seems inevitable, I hope he is willing to change to behave like a prime minister should.