Nanjing Night Net

Underdog just raring to unleash the Mongrel within

JUST one day after the Liberal Party impetuously decided to elect him leader, Tony Abbott has not had time to develop a plan.”I have an instinct rather than a plan,” he confesses cheerfully.The overriding instinct guiding the alternative prime minister so far? Combativeness.Malcolm Turnbull was an aggressive Opposition leader.But Abbott, the onetime Oxford boxing blue, is so full of fight he sets a new benchmark.Until now, the Opposition was anxious to avoid an election on Rudd’s emissions trading scheme. Turnbull was afraid the Coalition would be smashed if it blocked Rudd. The scheme, according to this week’s Herald poll, has the support of two-thirds of the public.The Rudd Government loomed big and imposing. Turnbull, trembling, negotiated terms. He was happy to agree with Rudd and pass the scheme into law.Yesterday we saw a role reversal. The Abbott Opposition exuberantly killed the scheme in the Senate. He wanted to follow the instinct to fight.And Abbott has dared Rudd: “I am not frightened of an election on this issue.”Now it is the Government that is hesitating. Does Rudd really want to call a double dissolution to win his emissions trading scheme? Does he want to take the risk?Julia Gillard yesterday issued an implied threat to call an election. But this is the third time the Government has issued deadlines and ultimatums to the Opposition on the matter.The Government threat is reminiscent of the scene from the satirical movie Team America, where the UN sends its chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, to warn the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il, to submit to inspections.”Or else what?” challenges Kim.”Or else we will be very angry with you … and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are.”The Rudd Government is risk-averse. Yesterday’s declaration was a play for time. Now Rudd will weigh the risks – and the polls – with extreme care.Abbott, by contrast, is raging with political testosterone. Yesterday he told the Herald that, in addition to the stoush over the emissions scheme, he was prepared to fight the Government on two more of its biggest policy initiatives. The Opposition would campaign to re-introduce the individual work contracts known as AWAs, on proviso that there is a safety net for workers.And the Abbott Opposition was prepared to fight Rudd over any move for the Commonwealth to take control over hospitals from the states.He knows full well that the odds against him are enormous. He wrote in July that an election on an emissions trading scheme was, for the Coalition, “a fight it can’t win”.But he is an underdog who, as Mark Latham said yesterday, has “mongrel” in him.
Nanjing Night Net