Disdain, distrust and desperation

Simon Benson
Daily Telegraph

RESERVE Bank board member Heather Ridout is not alone in her despair over the leadership debacle dragging down the federal government and Australia.

My poor mum has had a gutful. As political barometers go, she is unrivalled. When she called on Monday night, pleading for an explanation about what was going on with Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, the answer that would have calmed her eluded me.

“Can’t they just sort it out?” she asked. “I’m sick of it. Bloody Abbott’s no better.”

Sadly, I could only confirm her concerns that Canberra was the capital of buffoonery, by quoting the words of one Labor MP: “I hate Rudd. I hate Gillard. What the hell do I do?”

Trying to understand what is going on, one simple political truth has to be remembered. Labor members who are undecided will eventually make the decision based on the least virtuous of considerations – who will save their seats.

It’s not rocket science. Self-interest is a powerful motivator.

Many of Labor’s marginal seat MPs came into office after the changes to superannuation for politicians. When they lose their seat there is no pension parachute for them. And many may struggle to find lucrative careers in the private sector.

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