The leadership of Brendan Nelson is already dead. It just hasn’t fallen over yet. On so many fronts Dr. Nelson has failed to make a convincing impact as opposition leader. Of course it was always going to be difficult taking over the reins in the wake of a devastating election loss. No matter who got the job, there was always going to be a period of wandering in the wilderness. And it was always likely that whoever got the job would be a seat warmer for somebody else.
While the Prime Minister has been touring the world talking to other world leaders, Brendan Nelson has been traveling around Australia supposedly listening to the people. His opinion poll ratings have fallen, while Kevin Rudd’s have risen.
While the treasurer Wayne Swan has taken a swipe at the banks over their decisions to increase interest rates independently of the Reserve Bank, Brendan Nelson has addressed a business luncheon of bankers, telling them that people should be more sympathetic to the difficulties faced by banks when they repossess peoples’ houses. Alright, that’s not exactly what he said, but the important thing is that’s the impression he gave.
Now, belatedly, Brendan Nelson has accused the Reserve Bank of going too far too fast in lifting interest rates. While many might agree with him, it’s becoming difficult not to suspect that he is resorting to populism in his effort to make some sort of impact. Whether he’s right or wrong no longer matters, because nobody is listening to him. Even the people who believed he should be given a fair go have lost interest.
It’s interesting that rumours have now been reported that some coalition members are trying to convince Peter Costello he should stick around for one more try.
After all, that strategy worked for John Howard.