At the very outset of Brendan Nelson’s already rather sorry looking leadership of the Liberal Party, I commented that he was showing distinct signs of morphing into what Peter Beattie was always accused of being – a media tart. Beattie of course was a veteran news manager, whereas Dr Nelson appears to have little grasp of what to communicate. No doubt some whiz kid at Liberal headquarters (if there are any left in the building) suggested to him that he needed to define his profile nice and early, because Brendan Nelson’s favourite topic appears to be himself. I suppose he can’t talk much about what the Opposition stands for, because they either don’t know or want to continue to laud the Howard legacy, and it would appear he doesn’t stand for much – as signalled by anodyne slogans like “putting Australia first”. I really can’t understand why he felt that he needed to address his marital history – I mean, who cares? The Liberal religious right? Anyone else? But I suppose he did have to address his rather promiscuous party past. As Guy Rundle notes, if even Gerard Henderson is lukewarm in his praise, you know Nelson has been bungling it.
It’s surely not a good look for a new leader to spend one of his first big interviews explaining exactly why he’s a liar.
The Libs, of course, could never get their lies straight on that piece of self-inflicted electoral disaster, WorkChoices. Either it was a fabulous new work order which was raising wages all over the show, or Labor tearing it up would lead to a “wages breakout”. As the shellshocked Coalition engage in desperate semantic twists over how much of WorkChoices they will continue to support, we might be about to see a truth breakout – as Julia Gillard promises to examine releasing a rigorous statistical analysis of how WorkChoices actually did impact on wages and conditions – something the previous government to its eternal discredit always refused to do. If the Libs are inclined to go on digging their political grave, the truth about WorkChoices will surely set them free to do so.