Tony Abbott must be thinking: thank goodness for the “honeymoon”. It is helping lessen the public impact of some quite serious early problems his government is having.
Abbott is assisted not just by the glow around a new government, but also by the fact many voters are more than usually relieved at being rid of an old one. As for business: it is getting an inside run and likes what it sees as the new administration’s more measured style.
At present the government spends much of its time blaming Labor for all and sundry. But that will wash only so much and for so long. It won’t overcome some fundamental difficulties.
These include a serious, high profile rift between the Nationals and the Liberal “dries”; the prospect of an extended wait before the Coalition’s core promise, repealing the carbon tax, can be delivered (assuming it eventually can); business suggestions that consumers won’t get all the savings Abbott promises when the tax does go; and testy relations with Indonesia in the wake of the revelations about Australian spying.
There have also been the embarrassing disclosures that Coalition politicians (in particular) misused travel entitlements which will lead, when the new Parliament starts next week, to fresh pressure to tighten the system.
All that’s apart from the substantial challenge of getting next year’s budget together in tough economic circumstances and a continued deterioration of revenue, to be documented in the mid-year fiscal update before Christmas.
On the up side, the asylum seeker boats have significantly slowed – thanks to Kevin Rudd’s PNG solution and the Coalition’s hard line – but the progress has been overshadowed by controversy about Immigration Minister Scott Morrison’s secrecy.
There is an element of intractability about some of the issues Abbott is facing in these early days.
If it were not for the honeymoon, the row over US company Archer Daniels Midland’s bid for agri-giant GrainCorp would be producing more dramatic headlines about a “crisis” in the Coalition.