December 9, 2007


A realistic beginning: IN its opening days, the Rudd Government is revealed as firmly centrist, modestly reformist and seeking a balance between the Howard era and its own quest for a distinctive policy and style. (Paul Kelly, December 08, 2007, The Australian)

The new Government has symbolically strengthened Reserve Bank independence, won the Bush administration's diplomatic approval, toughened at the margins the ministerial code of conduct and moved to ratify Kyoto, while downplaying expectations of dramatic policy shift.

The early impression is of a Government that wants to be busy and focused, avoid shocks and surprises, and honour its election pledges. It is thinking for the long haul.

There is no headlong rush to Whitlamesque reform, no declarations that Australia will change forever.

While energetic, Rudd is careful and takes his time with decisions that demand policy work. He and Treasurer Wayne Swan come across as realists, aware of the inflationary challenge to the economy and keen to develop a sustained response. It is a sign of contemporary Labor that it seeks an even more independent Reserve Bank. Paul Keating's famous declaration that he had the bank in his pocket is yesterday's fashion.

If the Democrats could figure out that the voters want them to be likewise Clintonesque they'd be dangerous in '08.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 9, 2007 8:52 AM
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