The Sharks Are Circling

By AR - On a bit of R&R so I got to watch Parliamentary Question Time on the telly today. What I saw was a tragedy in the making. He's not shark food yet, but a lifeline had to be tossed to Wayne Swan before he floundered his way back to shore... or in this case the front bench. Macolm Turnbull asked the Treasurer a fairly complex question concerning NAIRU, Non-Accelerating Interest Rate of Unemployment, that could be condensed to "what was the government's target rate and would job losses be required to meet it". Anthony Albanese sensed danger and immediately threw him a lifeline, objecting that the question asked for an opinion. The speaker showing fairness allowed the question after some qualification. Swan then completely failed to answer the question, blathering about the "Howard Govt's inflation rate legacy" and urging everyone to watch 4 Corners tonight to see the Liberal party backstabbing.

Joe Hockey made a point of order suggesting if Swan didn't know the answer, "he shouldn't be in the job". Brendan Nelson offered to table the Treasury definition of non-accelerating interest rate of unemployment if it would help the Treasurer and Kevin Andrews interjected that Swan's answer avoided any mention of "NAIRU," using the acronym as a word so that could well have had Swan thinking (and wishing) of the Pacific Solution for a moment. Almost painful to watch, I was reminded of a press conference held by John Kerin back in the early 90s after Keating's first failed leadership bid. A vicious reporter asked what GOS stood for, which back then meant Gross Operating Surplus (I think!!!), and Kerin mumbled something about goods and services or the like. Anyway, he was sacked the next day. Let's see how long Wayne lasts.

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