Monday, May 24, 2010

Gittins today - How Rudd got into the mess:

Kevin Rudd has his back to the wall. He's no fighter, but he has little option but to stand and fight for his bitterly resisted resource super profits tax. With luck the experience will help turn him into the more substantial figure we need to lead us.

All Rudd's instincts - and those of the Hollow Men on whose counsel he relies - must be to ditch or greatly water down a tax he now discovers has proved hugely unpopular with the miners and which an economically uncomprehending business community doesn't like the sound of.

For a man who's always searching for a soft cop - those "reforms" that are riding high in the opinion polls, such as health care and, formerly, action on climate change - this must have come as a great shock to him.

But Rudd has no choice but to stand and fight. Having instantly shredded his credibility with his cowardly decision to cut and run from his emissions trading scheme when its popularity slipped, he simply can't afford another blow to his reputation.

If that's not enough, there's this: almost all the nice things he's promising to do if he's re-elected - cut company tax, help small business, further subsidise superannuation and the rest - hang off the resource tax. No tax, no goodies.

Normally, a prime minister has room for tweaks to placate the vested interests, but this time Rudd has none. His credibility is too low.

And the precedent of weakness he set with all his cave-ins to miners and other rent-seekers over the emissions trading scheme means giving the miners something this time would be more likely to further incite their greed than calm them.

Rudd is a weak man fallen among thieves. He may be from Queensland, but his moral compass now comes courtesy of Sussex Street. I'm sure he remains convinced of his own uprightness, but clinging to office comes first.

Actually, for a bunch that puts political expediency above all, Rudd's cynical advisers have made a succession of bad calls...

Continued at SMH

Related Posts

. Okay so no-one likes to part with profit, but the mining fight is becoming a spectator sport

. It's not a tax, it applies to more than super profits, so how did so many people get it so wrong?

. So this idea of a super tax on mining profits... who raised it with the Henry Review?


LJKH said...

I wish the RSPT had come before the ETS and our lily-livered PM felt he now had no choice but to tough out introducing a price on carbon.

And yes you Greens, it was shite, but it was a basis, and you have nothing to be proud of.

Patrick said...

I wish you guys would stick to writing about the merits of policy. This inside-baseball, gossipy rubbish is just a waste of pages.

derrida derider said...

Gittins is right - Rudd's problem is not that he'll do anything to get re-elected; John Howard, after all, was even more motivated that way. His problem is that he has no idea of why anyone would vote for him so he doesn't know what it takes to get re-elected.

For electoral success managing the daily news cycle is nowhere near as important as framing the longer run issues - something Howard understood. Look at the way the little b***ard ran his culture war to see what I mean.

It's about strategy, not tactics, you fools.

carbonsink said...

Good piece from Gittins (for a change).

Rudd will cave on the RSPT just like he's caved on everything else.

The GFC was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for great reform in this country. It was license to spend, and spend Rudd did, but all we got was school halls, a tax break on 4WDs and a reinflated housing bubble.

We could have had the Green New Deal. What a waste. What a crushing disappointment this government has been.

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