"Influential union leader Tony Sheldon has threatened to withdraw $200,000 in political donations to the Labor Party if MPs dump Julia Gillard in favour of Kevin Rudd, as he joined fellow union bosses to reaffirm the labour movement's support for the Prime Minister … Sources told the Australian that Mr Sheldon told a meeting of union leaders on Tuesday that a 'small minority' of MPs - whom he described as 'd!ckheads' - was continuing to push for Mr Rudd to return to the leadership."
Yesterday the AFR front page proclaimed "Unions shift on Gillard," when in fact the details of the story and every public response to it indicated the exact opposite.
Today, most of the nation's political commentary is saying there will be a leadership change at some point before the next federal election, because that's what unnamed 'senior figures' are apparently admitting to journalists. Needless to say, there is a self-fulfilling element to these articles, as they virtually preclude the possibility that the Prime Minister will be able to restore confidence in her leadership.
So it is with considerable skepticism that we regard today's AFR editorial, which complains that "politics has turned into a dismal soap opera even amid our unparalleled prosperity. This political farce threatens to undercut our comparatively outstanding economic performance. The sooner it ends, the better."
Regardless of the veracity of leadership rumblings, the AFR's brand of editorial activism is not exactly helping.
"Another day, another story suggesting Julia Gillard's leadership is faltering. Again, unlike the reports themselves, the denials are strong, unequivocal and, most importantly, on the record … The journalists don't want to be wrong, whether they make the predictions in public or in private conversations among their peers. They become willing participants in what to many of them is the only game in town."
"There have been plenty of words written in the past two years about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s various shortcomings. Yet whatever her failings, they are matched by the failings of those who put her into power in July 2010, and reasserted their decision in February. Why open the can of worms of Greens preferences when the issue at hand should be policy differences between Labor and the Greens?"
"Earlier this year, when Tony Abbott announced that he'd be prepared to look at extending the child care rebate to nannies, au pairs and other in-home care arrangements, the Government responded with scornful force … Today, Child Care Minister Kate Ellis was all for flexibility and the expansion of the family day care sector. What's the difference? With nannies, the action happens at your house. With family day care, it happens at theirs."