Just the latest little straw for Gillard's Labor colleagues
Labor MP Kevin Rudd during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has told us all that we are going to court for a political divorce but don't worry, it is on September 14 and between now and then we will just get along in bliss as the air of speculation to the tenor of our relationship has been cleared.
Well, Prime Minister, do not be surprised if the whole nation just skips down the road to have a tea-and-biscuits chat with their solicitor as they await this purgative event. Do not be surprised if your colleagues take this as the latest little straw that ultimately breaks their confidence.
The only way that Labor can now change the election date is if they change their leader. For many in Labor who are about to lose their seat and salary, that is a live possibility. The current discussion by Gillard is incredible. Don't worry about ministers leaving, that's normal; don't worry about Craig Thomson, these things happen; don't worry that we are $262 billion in gross debt, that's under control; don't worry about the little fire at the back of the plane, it helps keeps the passengers warm.
Meanwhile, above the Mad Hatter's tea party is the recently smiling Kevin Cat. In the past couple of weeks the former elected prime minister and current backbencher had the unfortunate luck of being photographed for the front page of The Courier-Mail in new gloves, business shirt, new RMs and a chainsaw that looked like it was more suited for roses than flood debris.
Mr Rudd is from Queensland and he is coming to help Julia get through these difficult times; no, don't look at me like that, it's true! I saw him in the press conference after the ecumenical service stating that he is just interested in being a happy little vegemite and everyone should have a cold shower. Those corroborated reports about key backers stacking up the numbers for a comeback are just malicious gossip. No one should doubt Kevin's loyalty to Julia.
In the meantime, dairy farmers are slowly getting ground out of business. The same politicians who apparently can change the weather and cool the planet cannot apparently put this same omnipotent gift to use stopping exploitation masquerading as dollar-a-litre milk. Maybe the major retailers are more powerful than nature; well they are when you look at Wayne Swan and Gillard's respective responses to both issues.
Small businesses tell all, that the high street is under immense pressure from large retailers and now internet sales from overseas. The interest rates they pay are higher than the comparative rates from the competition that is just down the road at the post office from any country that can send a parcel.
The Prime Minister is correct in that there are so many issues that need to be discussed and we should not be completely overawed by an election campaign. The question is, of course, why did she unnecessarily call the date of the election, thereby naturally starting the campaign? Why is it that in the last week we have seen our debt go up by more than $2 billion, yet this is just par for the course?
Imagine what damage that would do to Canberra if we cut $2 billion in a week but this Green-Labor-Independent alliance gets us, week by week, deeper and deeper into trouble.
Imagine if the ACT was lumbered with the ''captain's pick'' in the same manner that the Prime Minister whipped out someone who was not even a member of the Labor Party to be the Northern Territory Senate representative. I think the territorians would be ropeable and this paper would be leading with responses. It is so random and nonsensical. It just cannot go on like this.
The biggest issue will be to make sure in this Gillard-inspired political year of pandemonium that the people we are truly supposed to serve, the people of Australia, are not forgotten. These people are not big corporations or big unions or high-profile pressure groups or well-financed sectional interests.
These people are individuals, and they want their right to prosper as an individual and as a family with their property and person protected: protected by succinct yet minimal laws that are focused on the right of the individual.
The father with a tinny wants to take his daughter fishing and does not want the government in the boat with him.
Barnaby Joyce is the Nationals' Senate leader and the opposition spokesman for regional development, local government and water.