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Australian Current Affairs

Australian government is the world’s laughing stock; a leadership challenge with no challenger


Julia Gilard

Julia Gilard

This morning, the Australian Prime Minister called a leadership ballot for her own position at 4:30 pm the same day. No warning. No time for challengers to prepare. No time for the party to ready itself.

It is difficult to find an international policy angle to all of this, except to say what an international laughing stock this makes Australia.

The only major OECD economy to emerge from the GFC without going into recession; unemployment at 5.4%; economic growth for 21 straight years; a free and happy people; a relatively benign international security environment.

Yet despite the fact that governments around the world would kill for the kind of problems Australia has, our government can’t seem to run itself or even decide who should lead it. It must all be very puzzling to outside observers.

If there’s a silver lining in all of this it is that the process played itself out peacefully, within the rules of our democracy.

There were no troops on the streets, and no demonstrations. Still, this constant leadership instability (which both sides of Australian politics suffer from) must be corrosive to our democracy and our economy.

Australian National University political scientist John Wanna said Labor’s leadership spill today, which Prime Minister Julia Gillard won in the end after no challenger stood up, will make the government look shambolic to voters.

“It makes them look completely dysfunctional,” Professor Wanna said.

It also showed that Kevin Rudd‘s supporters hadn’t done their homework or spent enough time garnering support in the caucus.

“They had no more commitment from anybody to boost Rudd’s position, otherwise he would have challenged,” Prof Wanna said.

The ongoing leadership speculation was hurting Australia’s international image.

“We look the laughing stock to the world,” he said.

“We did extremely well in pulling through the financial crisis without having higher unemployment, and ever since then we’ve torn ourselves down.”

Voters were increasingly bored with news about possible leadership challenges, which may translate to lower poll numbers for the government, he said.

“I think they think this government can’t govern itself,” he said.

“Although they’re doing some policy things, they just look as if they can’t manage their own affairs.”

Source: The Interpreter – “Our long national nightmare continues”
Source: 9 News – “Australia the world’s laughing stock”
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Australian government is the world’s laughing stock; a leadership challenge with no challenger

  1. Well said Craig!

    Posted by Through My Eyes | March 21, 2013, 22:36

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  1. Pingback: Five ministers, three whips, parliamentary secretary resign; Australian government in turmoil | Craig Hill - March 24, 2013

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