Peter Beattie suggests Julia Gillard “buys a house in Queensland” as a means of rebuilding Labor in that state. It’s not as whacky as it sounds, but not for the reasons Peter suggests. The punters in the sunshine state don’t need to see any more of the PM; rather she needs to listen to them.
A month living in a pretty fibro in, say, Cairns, would do Julia a world of good. She’d pick it up dirt cheap, although it might still be missing a few tiles on the roof, or indeed the whole roof, but not to worry. Apart from a day trip out to the reef (she’d have no problem getting a ticket, tourism numbers are way down) she’ll have time to pop around to a few backyard barbies where she’ll meet some of the welders, underground drillers, boiler operators and pipe fitters who are on their way to creating our national wealth, and explain to them how her carbon and mining taxes won’t kill the golden goose. She may also care to explain to a large number of her neighbours, many of whom remain unemployed, why their electricity bills are yet again about to go through those same freshly-retiled roofs.
She should also pop down to the local IGA on a regular basis, and see for herself how difficult most people find it to make ends meet. She might find it tactful not to mention the hundred million bucks of their tax money that she daily fritters away on asylum seekers, the mismanagement of border control, wasteful car and ‘green’ subsidies, excessive overseas aid and vanity projects like the NBN.
Also, listening to plain speaking battlers might make Julia realize, as Anna now appreciates, that it’s not about demonizing your opponents. It’s about making a promise one day and breaking it the next.