Election '07 - 25 Days To Go
And the topic of the week will be...climate change! (I'll resist the enormous temptation to make a joke about politicians and hot air).
We've got a clear pattern for the campaign. One party launches a theme, the other attempts to trump them, and they slug it out until everyone gets bored and they move on to the next excuse for blather. After tax cuts and interest rates, this week we've arrived at climate change.
Labor got the upper hand early on when it was reported that Malcolm Turnbull asked John Howard to ratify the Kyoto Protocol six weeks ago, but Howard refused. I think the real point here isn't that Howard doesn't really understand or care about climate change - we knew that already - but the amusing lack of cabinet solidarity the Liberals are displaying.
Still, the reason Howard gives for refusing to sign Kyoto is that the agreement doesn't include the world's major emmitters, China and the U.S. But hang on, the reason that the U.S. isn't included is that the Americans refused to sign the thing, just like Australia! And even if countries such as China aren't included, why should that stop us? Our involvement is symbolic. I wish the same logic had been applied when it came time for Australia to decide whether to join the Iraq invasion.
Being the wily political operators they are, the Liberals - or at least their henchmen at News Ltd - have come back swinging. According to The Australian, Peter Garrett's "political credentials were in tatters", after he was "forced" to make a "humilliating" backdown over his "blunder", following a "crisis meeting", where Kevin Rudd insisted he "clarify" Labor's position on climate change - after "Mr Howard and other Coalition ministers began to publicly question the policy".
I think I'm beginning to understand why most people don't read newspapers. Trying to make sense of who's saying what, and what they actually mean, has been like snorkelling in porridge. There's still over three weeks in the campaign, and we haven't even gotten to national security, Work Choices, politicians superannuation, States' powers... what will the next issue of the week be? And when will all this be over?