Earlier this month, being first with the worst, VEXNEWS reported that â€œenterprising National party strategistsâ€ were contemplating an arrangement with country members Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor where they withdrew their support for the government, brought on an early election to settle the issue of whether we should have a carbon dioxide tax in return for the Nats agreeing to not oppose them in their seats.
At last weekendâ€™s NSW state election, despite the carbon tax not being a state election issue directly, the Nats did extremely well in the area including Oakeshottâ€™s seat and very well in the state seats in Tony Windsorâ€™s New England seat.
Peter van Onselen, the dashing and erudite political analyst at The Australian, reports today that Tony Abbott was asked directly on the weekend whether he would â€œrule outâ€ such an accommodation:
On Sunday, Tony Abbott refused to rule out doing a deal with Oakeshott, offering not to run a Coalition candidate in his seat if he switched sides. That’s a remote prospect now, but if Labor’s position doesn’t improve, Oakeshott may become nervous enough to be amenable to such an offer.
Canberra can be dull outside the confines of a couple of bars on a Wednesday parliamentary sitting night but at the moment the drama is nearly worthy of a day-time soap-opera.