O what a blessing: imagine what it would have been like if Gordon Brown had remained Prime Minister of Great Britain with the support of the Liberal Democrats – that's what it will be for Australia, since Julia Gillard has retained the Prime Ministership, having to-day finally achieved a majority of one in the House of Representatives. Grumble, grumble...
It remains to be seen how she and her fellow Labor M.P.'s (72 in all) get on with Bandt the Green, Wilkie the left-leaning Independent, and Windsor and Oakeshott the country Independents (the last-named having been offered a Ministry). These men span a range from the left of Labor to its right. It ought not take Abbott as Leader of the Opposition – still very much P.M.-in-waiting – and the Opposition parties (including Crook and Katter, who finally sided with the Coalition) long to start making very telling points against such a cobbled-together alliance.
I am particularly unimpressed with Oakeshott, who gave a tooth-grindingly drawn-out speech on live radio and T.V. rehashing every heart-searching moment of his life before he finally let Australia know who would form government courtesy of his support. While I wish him well, I predict he will turn out to be a right pain.
Yes, in many ways I feel sorry for Gillard, who will find herself having to negotiate each and every bill with a particularly sanctimonious set of cross-benchers: the new Gang of Four!