Tuesday 21 Aug 2018 | 20:23 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 21 Aug 2018 | 20:23 | SYDNEY

Relax, we have a Government


Sam Roggeveen


7 September 2010 17:08

The breathless media coverage of our 17-day political interregnum puts me in mind of The Simpsons character Kent Brockman, a TV reporter covering a mutiny at a children's summer camp:

Ladies and gentlemen, I've been to Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and I can say without hyperbole that this is a million times worse than all of them put together.

Well, our long national nightmare is over. Labor, with the support of three independents and one Green, will form the next Government of Australia.

A couple of events in the last 24 hours suggest that this arrangement might be slightly less precarious for our foreign policy than we might have thought.

The first is Bob Katter's decision to side with the Coalition, which means that at least one strong anti-free trade voice has been marginalised, even if the Greens' attitude to free trade is less than enthusiastic.

Then there's the 'pairing' arrangement agreed in the package of parliamentary reforms announced yesterday, which ought to help allay Kim Beazley's concern that the Prime Minister and ministers will find it hard to leave the country to attend to business overseas.

The big unanswered question is the role of the Greens in forming the Labor Government's foreign policy. The Greens' participation in our debate did very little to clarify this issue.