Pyne and Bishop: positively chummy
Photo © 2012 AAP One/Penny Bradfield
Coalition Education Spokesman Christopher Pyne sees today’s slump in the polls in terms of feeding sharks.
“Labor has reached for the chum bucket ... they throw as much muck and burley as they can and hope that it will distract from the truth, which is that this is a rancid government.”
Does a rancid government make for good chum? That’s not entirely clear.
Either way, comparing the voting public to a school of deluded fish doesn’t exactly scream “positive message”.
Dare we suggest it sounds more like carping?
The latest Newspoll has Labor and the coalition sharing the two-party preferred vote at 50 per cent each, while a Nielsen poll has the Coalition’s lead slipping to 53-47.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard's standing with voters improved in both polls and she has a clear lead over Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in Newspoll.
Federal Labor is treating the poll results with caution, though Craig Emerson suggested the polls appeared to reflect the government's positive agenda and the coalition's negative approach.
Between Pyne and Emerson, it seems that negativity is relative.
Pyne blamed a Labor campaign of personal denigration and vilification of Mr Abbott. "They want to destroy his character."
Pyne’s own attacks on Julia Gillard, Craig Thompson, and any meetings he may have had with Peter Slipper’s accuser, James Ashby, went unmentioned.
Pyne highlighted the Tony Abbott he knew: “Just last weekend (he) went out with his local firies brigade to do a controlled burn-off and spent Sunday leading a blind person to the end of his first full marathon”
Deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop agreed. “Tony Abbott spent Saturday with his local fire brigade volunteering to undertake a fire reduction burn. On Sunday he ran a marathon as a guide for a blind person.”
Those guys should’ve compared notes beforehand.
Greens leader Christine Milne said Australians still had no idea how Abbott planned to plug the coalition's "$70 billion budget black hole".
"Tony Abbott hasn't put out a single policy, not one," Senator Milne told reporters in Canberra.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon welcomed the latest results, which he partly attributed to the ease with which the carbon tax was introduced.
"We finally have a competition," he told reporters, adding it was a good thing for democracy.
"It'll keep both parties on their toes and (there'll be) more accountability all round."
Nationals senator John Williams said the results were an unsurprising side-effect of tough state government spending cuts in NSW and Queensland.
"When you're making budget cuts like (Queensland premier) Campbell Newman and (NSW premier) Barry O'Farrell have had to do, then of course you're going to be unpopular," he said.
He defended Mr Abbott as a "darn good bloke" who shouldn't be condemned for what he may or may not have done at university 35 years ago.
"I mean, fair dinkum. As Barnaby Joyce said over the weekend at the Nationals conference: `Who cares?'"
Asked if the Nielsen poll, which shows twice as many voters prefer Malcolm Turnbull to Mr Abbott, would prompt any leadership tensions, Pyne replied: "Absolutely not."
The Coalition was "100 per cent locked in" behind Mr Abbott, who would lead them to the next election.
You don’t get more positive than that.
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