For the Gillard Government : Just Do The Right Thing

During the give-and-take panel discussion at Lowy today, Laura Tingle of The Australian Financial Review hinted at a view within the federal government that it is likely to lose the next election and might as well devote itself to good policy. This Götterdämmerung option – you can see I’ve just returned from seeing the Wagner Ring – might be the most intelligent way to rebuild support. Policy success, after all, is the way to political success.

The Government cannot back down on an emissions trading scheme. Get the thing in place and challenge the Opposition to dismantle it. Challenge them to fund their tax cuts without the billions in revenue that will flow from the ETS and the revamped mining tax. Take the advice Paul Keating once gave to me: “Stand in the middle of the expressway and dare them to run you down.”

In any case, I'm more optimistic about the prospects of a government recovery.

Thoughtlines with Bob Carr