Line in the sand

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The more things change, the more they stay the same.

That’s basically the best way to sum up the last three years of Australian politics.

We’ve had the leadership merry-go-round, we’ve had the bizarre world of the Independents who hold the hung Parliament together, and we’ve had debates over the smallest of issues that somehow become major talking points.

In the space of a few days this week, everything came to a head.

The leadership via the ballot on Wednesday night, the issues surrounding the Independents via the resignation announcements of Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, and the small issues focus via, of all things, knitting.

The last three years have been nothing short of a nightmare.

It’s been an embarrassment to us as a nation, and we can only hope that the events of this week mean we can move on to bigger and better things.

Let’s hope that this is the line in the sand that allows us all to put the last three years behind us.

To be honest I really thought the ship had sailed for Kevin Rudd some months ago, but the speculation just wouldn’t go away, and in typical Rudd fashion, neither would he.

It’s unbelievable, really, that we find ourselves back with Kevin Rudd as the Labor leader, three years after he was knifed by Julia Gillard.

He has returned the favour in a twist that no Law And Order episode could ever match.

Will he save Labor from losing the election? Probably not, but it’s probably made a few Liberal candidates put the printing of their new business cards on hold just for now.

Rudd will definitely save seats for Labor. Whilst he may have been vehemently disliked within Labor during his time as PM, he always had the ability to do the one thing Julia Gillard never could: connect with the people.

I had coffee with Kevin Rudd in, if I remember correctly, 2009.

It was at the Heritage Cafe inside Westfield Penrith and he was the kind of guy who grabbed you; you wanted to believe what he was saying even if every fibre of your being was telling you that you shouldn’t.

Ms Gillard had that same ability, so I am told, when one-on-one, but it never translated to the wider public.

When speaking to the nation, it always felt like she was the teacher at the front of the classroom and you were the student.

Kevin Rudd meanwhile is the naughty kid up the back of the classroom who gets everyone’s attention.

Rudd is not the shining light that could win the election for Labor; that candle burned out some time ago.

But it is an opportunity for the Party to move on from what has been a disastrous three years, and create a newfound unity that has been sorely missing in the past few years.

It is certainly a greater challenge for Tony Abbott; the problem for Labor is that Abbott could very well rise to that challenge and only re-affirm much of the support he already has in the polls.

One thing is for sure: It’ll be a lot different in Canberra between now and the end of the year.

Hopefully, we’ve seen the last of topics such as knitting dominating the day’s politics.

What a ridiculous, overblown story that was – who gives a rat if Ms Gillard posed for some PR pictures for the Women’s Weekly.

For God’s sake, it’s a glossy women’s mag; she wasn’t knitting the thing while sitting in Parliament.

Are we really shocked that a politician took part in a stunt in an attempt to boost their popularity with a certain demographic?

Hello, that’s what shopping centre visits and baby kissing is all about and you’d struggle to find a politician who hasn’t taken part in that kind of thing during their career.

I really hope that the whole knitting episode was the final straw in the Canberra press gallery’s obsession with non-issues. If it’s not, we risk going to this election with voters focused on personality politics; totally misinformed about policies and the real issues.

It is not just the politicians who are to blame for that; it is those delivering the message, too.

So, here we are. Kevin Rudd back in charge of a train that left the tracks long ago.

One gets the feeling the soap opera is far from over.

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