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This isn't about Peta Credlin, it's about Tony Abbott's terrible decisions.

Smart, highly competent and thick skinned. So why is Peta Credlin’s job on the line?

It is 4.45am as her alarm screeches in the pitch black signalling it’s time for another day of rolling controlled chaos.

As she turns it off and sits up in the freezing cold she briefly questions when was the last time she’s had more than four hours sleep in a row.  Last night wrapped up around 1am after returning phone calls and reading briefing papers.

Almost instantly her phone beeps with a torrent of morning emails to read and then it rings. It is the early morning media conference call to go through the national headlines.

Today will be another huge, yet normal day.  Travel to three cities, followed by an international flight for a major conference of world leaders.

It would be nice to take 60 seconds this morning to have a quiet coffee and look out the window at the icy Canberra street, but time never stops for the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff.

“This is Peta Credlin’s world. Not just five days a week. It is her world seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.”

This is her world.

Not just five days a week. It is her world seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

It is her world before eating, drinking, or going to the bathroom. It is her world before seeing her own friends and family.

Yes she is very powerful but there is little glamour or perks. When you work for a Prime Minister it is your whole life– for every living, breathing moment you exist.

You do not survive in a PM’s office unless you are smart, highly competent and very thick skinned. Clearly, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin is all of these things. So why is it that her job is now on the line?

“So what is this really about? This is about a Prime Minister making a lot of poor decisions.”

 Related content: Peta Credlin deserves better than this.

I don’t think it is because she is a woman. While it was a clever distraction for Tony Abbott to cast the criticism of his Chief of Staff in the gender light it is fanciful to suggest the reason his office is under siege is because his COS is a woman.

I do not think it is because of the much publicised fact Peta Credlin is married to the leader of the federal Liberal party.  Welcome to Canberra, people.  That how it rolls.

I do not think it is because of her “controlling management style”. News flash – she is the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister. It is her job to be controlling.

And while the parliamentary press gallery and Government MP’s always want to see less control from the leader’s office, it is unrealistic.  Leadership from the Prime Minister’s office is critical and a strong central government message is essential.

“As a political adviser all you can do is present your best advice to your boss. It is up to the elected official to make the final decisions.”

 Related content: Is Tony Abbott really up to being Prime Minister?

So what is this really about? This is about a Prime Minister making a lot of poor decisions.

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Decisions like the recently announced review of our industrial relations legislation;

Or the budget cuts to the ABC and SBS;

Or the indexation of the aged pension;

Or the scrapping of Medicare local offices after saying they would not be closed down;

Or the promise for no new personal taxes broken with a personal deficit levy;

Or the GP co-payment saga;

Or the Iraq trip stoush with the media;

Or the backflip on paid parental leave;

Or the attempts to make university more expensive;

Or the review of the child care system and the potential means testing of the child care rebate;

Or the brutal cuts to sole parents’ welfare.

In politics, when things go wrong heads must roll. Government MPs and Ministers want a scapegoat and they do not want to look in a mirror to find that person. Sometimes power sees leaders lose the ability to self-reflect.

“Calling for Peta Credlin to resign is unfair and unjust. She is clearly being set up to take the fall for the Prime Minister.”

Many of those blaming Peta Credlin for the mess the Government is in suggest it cannot be Abbott’s fault. After all, he was the strategic genius responsible for toppling two Prime Ministers and then winning government.

But let’s be real.

A drover’s dog could have won the election against Labor. Labor took care of its own electoral destruction. Tony Abbott had little to do with it. He just had to keep quiet and show up on election day.

It is a very different job to be Prime Minister of a Government, versus leading an Opposition. It is a job that Tony Abbott is clearly finding very challenging.

Leadership reveals your true colours.

As a political adviser like Peta Credlin, all you can do is present your best advice to your boss. It is up to the elected official to make the final decisions. After all, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Calling for Peta Credlin to resign is unfair and unjust. She is clearly being set up by those around her to take the fall for the Prime Minister.

Using her as Tony Abbott’s scapegoat will not change a single bad policy decision that has been made or improve the Government’s standing with the public in the future. It will not change the poll results.

It would be a pointless act of political survival designed to give Tony Abbott a few more news cycles to turn things around.

And lets be honest: the chance of him being able to do that without Peta Credlin around, is minimal.

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