Date: June 26 2012
Today's caucus meeting is a significant waypoint for Labor.
The second anniversary of Julia Gillard's coup over Kevin Rudd hangs gloomily over the government.
She has failed to lift the party's support with all her budget hand-outs and she is struggling to find a solution to deaths of boat people.
Labor's hope is that all this will change from this Sunday when the carbon tax and the mining tax begin operating.
A double tax is good news?
The Prime Minister is sure that the sky won't fall in and that voters will see through Tony Abbott's scare campaign against the twin taxes.
Furthermore, she believes the compensation for low to middle income earners will provide an adequate buffer against the rise in the cost of living produced by the carbon tax's massive change in the taxation system.
The converse side of the argument is led, inevitably, by the Opposition Leader, who predicts electricity prices will soar and the mining tax will not raise its designated revenue.
As Parliament limps towards its winter break, tension is building before Sunday. Prices could begin rising immediately as those manufacturers who must pay the carbon tax pass on their costs.
Gillard began handing out compensation payments more than a month ago, trying to assuage the anger that Abbott has been able to foment in the community.
In Parliament yesterday he pointed to Gillard's claim that she had to overthrow Rudd because a good government had lost its way.
''This is a bad government getting worse and every day its failures become more apparent,'' Abbott said.
Labor's support in the polls is lower than it was under Rudd when he was battling the massive campaign by the mining magnates. The Essential poll published yesterday put Labor's primary support at 33 per cent and found 54 per cent of the poll-based respondents oppose the carbon tax and 45 per cent believe it will increase cost of living ''a lot''.
Abbott is refusing to contemplate a compromise on overseas processing of asylum seekers, despite believing strongly in the principle.
Under no circumstances will he give Gillard a win.
After Rudd dismantled John Howard's so-called Pacific Solution, the flow of boats picked up. Gillard took a tougher line and demanded the asylum seekers be sent to Malaysia.
Abbott will not risk Gillard having success in stopping the boats, therefore the parliamentary impasse will continue, the arrivals will continue, and it is likely more tragedies will occur.
Gillard ate humble pie late yesterday when she made it clear on the ABC she was ''open to further discussions'' with the Coalition.
The danger is looking weak by offering yet another compromise and having it thrown back in her face by Abbott. He will come under minimal pressure today from Liberal moderates to relent but the main game will be in the caucus room.
Labor MPs face a long winter of discontent.
Ross Peake is Political Editor, Twitter: rosspeakeCT
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