A Hole Comments
Careering On In Politics
Tony Abbott was arguably Australia’s best Opposition Leader but he didn’t cut the mustard as Prime minister.
This has led many respected commentators like myself to question whether it’s unreasonable to expect anyone in this era of specialisation to be both an outstanding Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.
Tony’s CV would have looked far more impressive if he’d just led the Coalition in opposition and allowed a specialist PM like Malcolm who wasn’t all that flash as Opposition Leader to take over when the Coalition got into government.
The more I think about this the more merit I can see in it. It’s just like having specialist captains for the Test, ODI and T20 teams.
It is almost certain however that ego considerations would deter leaders of political parties from openly embracing this breakthrough thinking.
And let’s face it the First Bloke never looked comfortable in The Lodge.
Unfortunately Abbott was never going to be content with being lauded as the Greatest Ever Opposition Leader and so wasn’t going to be deterred from demonstrating as Prime Minister why he is such a strong argument for job specialisation.
While this innovative thinking would undoubtedly bring higher standards of government to Australia it would need one or two critical reforms to guarantee its implementation. Foremost among these would be raising the status of Opposition Leader to the same level as Prime Minister through a pad of equal prestige to The Lodge and the same pay grade.
In addition parties in power would need to run a Ministry of Opposition so that their specialist Opposition Leader is afforded the opportunity to stay in practice.
I don’t really know what to make of Bill Shorten. He doesn’t rate that well as an Opposition Leader but on the other hand I can’t really bring myself to view him as a specialist Prime Minister. It seems that ever since Keating the Labor Party’s prime ministerial development policy has concentrated on quantity at the expense of quality.