Chris Berg has some advice for the Liberals in The Age:
Every government says the opposition is being negative. Negativity is only a problem if it looks opportunistic. A cohesive philosophical vision is a shield against such charges.
And claims that Abbott is unpopular because he is too effective a critic of the government … well, that’s like saying in a job interview that your biggest weakness is you care too much about your work.
Personal unpopularity is not a barrier to success. Australians don’t want to be seduced by their politicians. We are not romantic about the prime ministership. Quirks are appealing. Gaffes are easy to forgive.
But right now, the Coalition has to start looking like a government, not a pressure group.
The way Gillard has framed Abbott is quite extraordinary. Here is Grace Collier writing in the AFR:
[Gillard] has a non-traditional personal life yet has managed to cast her opponent – a traditional married man – as a creepy weirdo.
Our very own Jupes:
… a man who is a volunteer lifesaver, firefighter, teacher’s aid in remote Aboriginal communities, runs marathons for charity, competes in Iron Man triathlons and has a wife and three kids is less fit to be Prime Minister than [Gillard] …
Gillard can get away with it because Abbott hasn’t articulated a story to why he should be PM and not Gillard. As Chris points put, however, Abbott has previously articulated such a story in his Battlelines book. The challenge, as I see it, is that Abbott is a big government conservative while the budget constraint now calls for a smaller and more fiscally prudent approach to government. To get the budget back into surplus government needs to cut whole programs and not just trim spending.