Battle of the bridesmaids

13 August 2010

Written by: Lawrie Zion

While Australia holds its breath about who will finally move into The Lodge on Sunday week, another curious contest looms: who will be this country’s next Leader of the Opposition?

This is not an easy question to answer, and not just because an element of intrigue still lingers over the outcome at the ballot box. On the Labor side there are, of course, any number of well-qualified contenders. Rudd and Crean have both been there and done that, but we’re entitled to wonder: if the real Julia’s career just happened to move a little backwards, would she stick around as ALP leader?

Some might query whether her lack of direct experience of acting in the role of Opposition leader would help or hinder. Or would a Labor loss mean that the gig would go to a Roxon or a Shorten or an Arbib? Personally, I think some background in sustainability might be an asset. So even if nobody seriously expects the party to hold on to its next leader for a full three years I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tony Burke putting up his hand.

On the Coalition side, it’s even harder to figure out what might happen. There are those who think a pair of Bishops would be better than an Abbott, and a Julie/Bronnie code share would certainly be more surreal that the duality that is Julia. Others might be willing to contemplate Joe Hockey, but I’ll leave that to them.

The real wild card in all of this is, of course, Malcolm Turnbull. He’s got form on the board as Opposition leader – well, he did until he lost out by one vote to Abbott. And having changed his mind about quitting parliament not so long ago, it would seem odd in the extreme if he hadn’t contemplated – circumstances permitting, of course – returning to some kind of Liberal leadership role. Or – as the Chaser team teased this week – perhaps Labor?

 Or maybe even the Greens?

Lawrie Zion is editor-in-chief of upstart. This piece was first published on the Election Predict 2010 site.

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