Campaign countdown: the failure to communicate
It’s been a long week for the Prime Minister. He’s gone from more shocking poll results, to being bashed around by mining magnates in Western Australia and will head to Queensland today to face more of the same.
Perhaps though he can take the weekend and reflect on his communication skills, because lately, despite his arguments to the contrary, they’ve been lacking.
Think about this: if the consultation process over his mining tax has been as good as the Government claims, why was yesterday the first serious meeting between Kevin Rudd and Twiggy Forrest over a month after the policy was announced?
Following their talks yesterday Forrest says that Mr Rudd now “open to a process, so let’s give that a chance”, but why has it taken Rudd so long to meet such a central figure to Australian mining like Andrew Forrest?
Today The Australian is reporting that a senior Government Minister, Trade Minister Simon Crean, is now even questioning Rudd’s approach.
Crean has said that the Government was working to “fix” its initial lack of consultation with the mining industry, a statement that has added to some leadership tensions given Crean’s close association with deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
But there seems to be confusion as to when the Government might offer a compromise on the tax.
The Herald-Sun’s Terry McCrann claims that Government will put an offer on the table as soon as today, with The Age hinting at a similar olive branch from the Government to miners on the tax, but doesn’t give specifics beyond industry rumour that the Government is considering change the level of profit the tax kicks in from six to 11 or 12 per cent. But both papers also reports this is not going to be enough of a compromise for the industry.
Meanwhile with Kevin Rudd heading to Queensland today to sought out more mining types, the SMH is reporting that while BHP boss Marius Kloppers is keen to distance himself from the attacks on Rudd over the RSPT, but has “not seen a path this time how sense is going to prevail as of yet” on the tax.
Michelle Grattan in The Age today points to Rudd’s predicament, asking what it is he can actually do having already announced the tax and facing a mining industry who will be unhappy with the compromises: “But the big question remains: what will he actually do?”
Another man suffering from Mr Rudd’s communication shortcomings is the Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett.
According to the SMH the two aren’t even talking, with Rudd straining towards one of his Kevolquiasms, claiming it was up to Barnett to pick up the phone and “have a yak”.
While there is certainly some political point scoring from the only Liberal Premier in the country going on, the fact is Rudd needs Barnett to sign off on his new federal health deal before he can claim it as a success.
All the while Tony Abbott is travelling around, yesterday and today in Queensland, talking to voters and attempting to play the small target. A pretty relative term when it comes to Tony Abbott.
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