AT A SMALL and sedate gathering of friends last night, the old year ended as it should, with folding money clutched for luck at midnight’s stroke and a toast to what Australia needs most of all just at the moment: an election.
May it happen soon, and may it see this appalling government’s press enablers proven wrong once again. The wisdom of the moment says Gillard’s crew is safe until 2013, its hold on government cemented by the shabby deal which installed the even shabbier Peter Slipper in the Speaker’s chair. Don’t bet on it.
No OdourEater is large enough to dispel the stink of this Slipper’s rorting, so expect the next parliament to be an endless knife fight of calls for investigations of his expenses, ethics and publicly funded private pleasures. Gillard’s only option will be to apply the gag, to close down debate and have her way by force of numbers alone. It will not be a good look, her rabble’s every arrogant refusal to provide answers a reminder that this a government which puts a much higher premium on its survival than the national interest.
And then there is that other Prince of Pong, the brothel-creeping Craig Thomson, who must sooner or later take a break from changing his new baby’s nappies and report for parliamentary duty. He will be gone before too many months have passed -- gone, perhaps, from backbench straight to dock. He’s another of the reeds too thin to support Gillard’s hope that, if she can only hang on long enough, the public will grow accustomed to the stench, come to regard it as the norm and vote her back for another term. As game plans go, that one is right up there with the belief that her carbon tax will lower global temperatures.
Fasten seat belts, it’s going to be a wild, wild year.