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The now inescapable situation is that the Labor government not only has a completely ineffective leader: it also has nobody who wants to challenge or is likely to challenge until much closer to election time. Given that an early election is unlikely because no independent can risk it, this is bad news for Australia, both politically and economically.

Further, while the RBA’s belated cut in interest rates is welcome, it reinforces already existing doubts about the much publicised government view that economic growth next year will return to trend – 3.25%. This in turn will reinforce doubts about the attainability of the promised budget surplus. Any benefit from lower interest rates will take time to flow through and, given the political situation, is likely to be negligible.

So, batten down the hatches.

Des Moore

Gillard & Our Government
letter published in The Australian, 2 May 2012

JULIA Gillard deserves admiration for her courageous statement, made in the lead up to May Day (otherwise known as International Workers Day), that she intends to take on a Liberal Party of billionaires at the next election.

That would, I think, be a case of one versus three and will undoubtedly appeal to the many non-billionaires who will support an underdog with her back to the wall.

What is missing is the holiday that occurs in some other countries on May 1. But perhaps that will feature in the election program along with the implementation of the philosophy advanced by her predecessor involving the saving of capitalism through social democratic policies. We anxiously await the first instalment in next week's budget.

Des Moore, South Yarra, Vic

Julia's going: it's a matter of time
article by Dennis Shanahan published in The Australian, 2 May 2012

JULIA Gillard's leadership of the Labor Party is now in name only. It is ebbing away as her staunchest supporters abandon her in despair.

Even those who helped oust Kevin Rudd two years ago concede they made an error and that it is only a matter of time for the Prime Minister to go.

Exactly when that change will occur is unclear, but until it does, politics and disregard and disappointment are strangling the Labor government.

The Labor leadership is now an empty shell. Gillard has lost public support and internal party support, and her agreement with Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson in the parliament faces months of uncertainty as the federal police investigate allegations of Cabcharge fraud against the Speaker.

Despite the leadership vacuum, no challenges are planned, nor are challengers prepared to come forward.

Rudd, now the choice of some who opposed him in February, is sitting pat. He's abiding by his public undertaking not to challenge, and is being urged to stick to that vow.

After moving too early, Rudd has time and opinion on his side.

All of this is not a result anyone in the Gillard government wants, but MPs who supported the Prime Minister just over two months ago against Rudd, MPs who organised numbers for her and argued that a change of leadership was madness, are now walking away in despair.

"There's a terrible inevitability about it now," one former senior Gillard supporter told The Australian. "No one wants this, but the public aren't listening to her any more."

The concern is not just the disastrous polls stuck below 30 per cent primary vote for Labor, it's also the job ahead with a leader who has lost connection with the electorate.

There is a real fear the tough budget - planned three years ago as a political and economic masterstroke - will do more damage than good.

Even Labor's independent and Greens partners are undermining the budget strategy and threatening parts of it.

Wayne Swan is trying to sell the good economic news, including a big interest rate cut, but is being swamped by tawdry politics and errors of judgment by others.

The Gillard government now has a leader only in name, without faith from the public or MPs, as the political assassination of Rudd two years ago continues to haunt Labor.

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