Well, pundits were shocked and taken a back a couple of days back when Nick Xenophon decided that a hasitly drafted 42 Billion dollar bill possibly needed a few tweaks before being rolled through both houses.
Okay, so predictably the senators from the greens sided with Labor on this one which left Xenophon with the deciding vote. Since he decided to side with the coalition, the bill was stalled. Why did he stall the bill ladies and gentlemen? Well, to save the Murray-Darling of course.
Now, those of you who aren't from the eastern side of Australia may have a bit of trouble knowing what the Murray-Darling is, so it's basically a huge (well, less huge these days) river that runs from Queensland to South Australia and provides drinking water for a heck of a lot of people, so more investment in saving it was probably a good idea.
To do this, they had to trim 50 dollars off the 950 dollar bonus. Hey, I'll give up 50 dollars I didn't actually have to support the Murray-Darling, no worries. Personally, I like the move and applaud Xenophon for holding out just a little more, but I do have deep reservations about one man having so much power.
It was a demonstration of the power Xenophon could potentially wield in the senate if conditions played out right, and one has to question whether one man having so much power over legislation is beneficial to a constitutional monarchy such as ours, but perhaps that discusion is best held for another time.
The other big talking point out of this is the coalition's tactics in trying to block the initial bill.
It was always going to be an uphill strigle, and they were always going to take a battering in the press because they were coming up against, and this is very important, free money.
Within days of Turnbull registering his reservations, the great unwashed were too quick to cry out "Turnbul's blocking mah money!" and fair enough too. If someone threatened to take away money of mine, I'd fight for it like a hobo for a piece of meat.
Meanwhile, the press were banying about a quote from the IMF regarding the recession basically amounting to 'when in doubt, always spend too much than too little regarding this recesion' which is an absolutely true statement.
Various coalition figureheads went on TV and radio to try and find the flaw in this statement, saying it was irresponsible to land the future generations of Australians with a massive debt. The Rudd plan would accure 200 billion in debt, the Turnbull plan would accure 180 billion in debt, but more on that another time.
Now, in my first post I said the coalition was doing the right thing in trying to hold up the bill, and I stand by this assertion. However, the coalition played this so wrong it's not even funny.
When presented with the IMF quote, they danced around the point so comically it was akin to children dancing around a maypole. Instead, what they should have done is say "Yes, that statement is absolutely true. What we're trying to do is remove the doubt from the equation by putting it under a magnifying glass".
That probably would have worked. Instead, they chose to lambast the Labor government for irresponsible spending (which may or may not be true). So when presented with the oportunity to bash to incumbents, the coalition went for the jugular.
Somebody should tell the Liberal party that the days of old political tricks are over and it's going to take more than bashing your opposition to land a punch these days. It takes logic and bashing to win over constituents.
'Till next time