Julia Gillard looks set to bring back the biff:
JULIA GILLARD likes to box. A trainer goes to The Lodge twice a week, holding up the pads while the Prime Minister slugs away. ”Boxing’s fun,” she said in a Friday interview. Tony Abbott boxed in a more serious way – he won a blue at Oxford. His time as the Opposition Leader has been one long exercise in hitting hard.
The leaders will shape up in the House on Tuesday, the start of the spring parliamentary session. As Gillard jabs Abbott she is also fighting those in Labor who want her replaced – against whom, for the moment at least, she has the upper hand.
The Prime Minister was always going to enter this session in one of two situations: struggling on the mat, floored by polling and the carbon tax and vulnerable to the Rudd forces, or on her feet with fists swinging.
A calm start to the tax and last week’s lift in Newspoll (to 33 per cent Labor primary vote) have encouraged Gillard, and worked against her internal critics.
Kevin Rudd still waits, but caucus isn’t calling – at least as yet. Of course things might change within weeks. But she does have a chance to consolidate: it’s up to her to make best use of it. Some Rudd backers fear the ALP vote will increase enough to preserve Gillard, but not enough to stop an election wipe-out.