St Kevin's Halo

An interesting piece by Chris Uhlmann in today’s Weekend Australian “St Kevin’s halo may choke him”, about our Prime Minister’s rhetoric of “moral sincerity”, includes the comment:

[T]o argue against Rudd on many matters is not just to peddle bad policy, it’s to be a bad person. There is a lot to be said for moral arguments. One of the problems with deploying them is that they are impervious to compromise. And if you lay down fields full of moral landmines to blow up your opponents, you run the risk of stepping on one yourself.

An example of this is given on the very same page in an article by Peter van Onselen, “No shots fired in war on gambling”. Van Onselen quotes Mr Rudd as saying, in September 2007,

“I hate poker machines and I know something of their impact on families.”

Van Onselen goes on to say that Mr Rudd then “promised to find a way to reduce the reliance of state governments on poker machine tax revenue, the nub of the problem.” BUT:

We now know that Rudd hates poker machines so little that the only recommendation in the Productivity Commission’s draft report into gambling (released this week) that his government has committed to act on is to lift restrictions on online gambling sites within Australia. In other words, measures that will add to the gambling industry, not take away from it.

So will the “halo” actually prove to be a noose?

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