Complacency could be Shorten’s Achilles
BILL Shorten’s press conference on Friday morning at Parliament House saw him confidently detail what his team has done as it prepares for next year’s election.
He also took aim at Scott Morrison and the Government’s failures.
To be sure, the final sitting week was a messy one for the coalition.
The Opposition leader, however, started by saying Labor was “emerging” as an alternative government.
Talk about a late arrival. After five years as Opposition Leader and an election due in just five months, Shorten thinks he and his team are only just emerging as a viable alternative government?
He’s either too humble or unprepared. I suspect it’s simply part of expectation management.
It’s pretty obvious that unless Morrison orchestrates the biggest comeback in Australian political history, Shorten is our PM in waiting.
I’m hearing Morrison is starting to lose his cool with staff and colleagues as the pressure mounts.
There will be more polling this coming week that might be an early, unwanted Christmas present for the PM.
Labor now refers to Morrison as the “current PM” to highlight the leadership churn before now, and the lack of authority Morrison really has.
The only challenge for Shorten is making sure he doesn’t overtake John Hewson’s unwanted infamy in 1993, as having lost an “unloseable election”.
Which brings us back to expectation management. Shorten needs to avoid complacency among his team because winning well will be a key to governing well.
Win with the thumping majority Bob Hawke did in 1983, and Shorten can take risks and govern with substance. Win the way Kevin Rudd did in 2007, with just an eight-seat majority, and the risk is that a new Labor government is too timid, too easily bullied by the Greens and the Opposition, and therefore misses its opportunity to govern effectively.
With the parliamentary year over, expect to see more of our political leaders over the summer than you ordinarily might.
An early budget in April followed by a May election means Morrison will want to use the summer to try and generate momentum, while Shorten won’t want to take the pressure off a Government that is down and out.
Of course, voters would prefer just to enjoy the nice weather free of such lobbying.