It’s appeared to me that the federal opposition has had the politics all wrong since at least Lehmann’s Brothers went bust in September 2008, and that their message on the CPRS is all over the place as well.
This isn’t surprising after having had trouble defining themselves and a coherent message since the 2007 election. There’s a general assumption that the Rudd Government would have to stuff up in a really major way to lose the next election. However, what is surprising is how they havn’t read the politics of the GFC well. On the other hand, perhaps they have read it well but don’t see an alternative.
As I see it, the politics of the GFC is that people want averted a major recession or depression, and that going into debt is ok if necessary. In the public domain it isn’t clear how a major recession / depression can be averted without much greater immediate government spending, leading to higher debt.
While the opposition has a political point in asking how the debt will paid back, this is by far a very distant secondary point to the immediate recession, and ignores numerous other governments acting in a similar way. The Opposition has also fudged how it would react to the GFC, although it has hinted that it would act in a very similar way just that the level of debt would be lower.
The Opposition’s reaction to the CPRS is unclear. I wouldn’t be surprised if a rejection of the CPRS by the Senate will lead to a double dissolution election, at which the Opposition could be easily painted as obstructive and out of touch. It’s not in a good position at the moment.