Two of the big guns of Julia Gillard’s Government confirmed this morning that they will not contest the next election.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, one of the most prominent faces of the Labor Government under both prime ministers, and Higher Education Minister Chris Evans will resign from Cabinet.
It’s big news. Roxon, particularly, is one of the most prominent public faces of this Government, having pushed through one of Labor’s signature accomplishments, the plain packaging of tobacco products. And Evans has been the leader of the party in the Senate for eight years.
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It must be hard for a conservative politician to make a decision he or she knows will distress heartland followers. John Howard upset a certain hardcore group of loyalists – even within his own cabinet – by banning semi-automatic rifles after the Port Arthur massacre.
It is even harder when Labor politicians make decisions that might appear to lack compassion, because they are supposed to be the party that cares about social justice.
But there seems to be a greater willingness to find excuses for Labor politicians, as Melbourne barrister and civil libertarian, Robert Richter QC, demonstrated on Lateline Thursday night.
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