Who needs enemies when you’ve got a Party Room
Update 2pm: Now Bob Katter’s office says he was only “speaking figuratively” about being punched on election night.
Update 12.15pm: Bob Katter has just claimed he was punched on election night, but it’s not clear if he was suggesting it was by a member of the Coalition.
Update 12pm: Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan has outed himself as the maker of the “it’s the devil” call to Rob Oakeshott. Fairfax’s Phil Coorey says it’s one of the Senator’s “standard jokes” when he rings people.
Tony Abbott’s pitch to the country independents is looking a bit flimsy this morning. He’s got one unnamed Lib MP making “devil” calls to Rob Oakeshott’s family, the Nats are jumping up and down saying “what about us?” and over the weekend it emerged Alby Shultz took it upon himself to ring Tony Windsor and give him a piece of his mind.
The Coalition is carrying on like a bunch of school girls (apologies to schools girls everywhere) who don’t actually want to form Government.
Throw in a WA Nationals MP who won’t rule out sitting on the cross bench and the Federal Coalition is making the NSW ALP look like a well-oiled machine.
Oakeshott this morning said the circus was making it difficult for Abbott to negotiate an outcome to the hung parliament situation.
“I do get the sense that they are making this a very difficult process for Tony Abbott to negotiate in good faith on. So I’m not sure whether Tony’s to blame, someone else is to blame or no-one is to blame – whether these are just Rambo-type operations going on from rogue members,” he told ABC’s Radio National this morning.
“We are being asked to have confidence in the ability of either Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott to run a stable parliament,” he said. “Now that includes managing troops.”
He has a point.
Abbott came out of the election campaign looking like someone who’d found discipline. While Labor spent the first few days after August 21 tearing itself to shreds over the result, Abbott was the leader who looked like he could provide the “stable government” the independents said was their number one priority.
But as the negotiations enter their second week, he’s lost that advantage.
Now Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce is saying things like: ‘‘I’m happy to work with any person who wants to make Australia a better place,” as if he’s doing everyone a great favour by toning down his attacks on the independents.
Between his own Party Room, and the demands of three independents who think they’ve turned into quasi Prime Ministers, Abbott must be tempted to tell them all to bugger off.
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