I don’t follow Australian politics too closely, and I didn’t have a dog in the Rudd-Gillard fight (Rudd won). I think the object lesson here is that rolling a sitting Prime Minister is an absolute last resort, a nuclear option that you exercise when their political career is over, not something you do opportunistically when their polling dips after they try and implement core party policy, which is what happened when Gillard rolled Rudd. It left her with a wounded but very-much-alive mortal enemy – who possessed the cunning, vicious egotism you generally find in Prime Ministers – inside her own party, and it doomed her government from the beginning.
In New Zealand terms it’s depressingly easy to imagine a similar outcome if David Cunliffe managed to somehow become Labour leader and then Prime Minister. He’d introduce, say, Capital Gains Tax there’d be a huge backlash from organised capital, and he’d get rolled with the first low poll. Maybe the Rudd-Gillard disaster would be a disincentive, but I doubt it.
Also, 3rd Degree had that Bain story! Via David Fisher at the Herald:
David Giles peered closely at the photograph on the screen of his computer.
On the thumb of Robin Bain, dead 19 years, were parallel marks of a kind he recognised instantly.
As a boy in the Waikato he would shoot rabbits and possums with a .22 rifle, the same calibre of rifle used to murder the Bain family.
After firing a magazine full of bullets, he would disengage the clip which fed more rounds into the rifle. Taking a bullet, he would push it into the top of the magazine using his thumb and then use the digit to fix the bullet in place. Doing so dragged the thumb across the top of the magazine – parallel metal sides which carried a light coating of burned gunpowder residue from the back-blast of the shots just fired. As the thumb came away, it carried twin lines from the gunpowder and grime on the top of the magazine.
Mr Giles told TV3’s 3rdDegree show he knew instantly what he was seeing on his computer. Robin Bain carried the same marks on his thumb any shooter would have after reloading the magazine on a recently fired rifle.
I’ve always thought that David Bain was guilty – mostly because the defense counter-factual in which Robin Bain killed his family, took off all his blood-stained clothes, put them in the wash, put on some different clothes then committed suicide – didn’t really make any sense. But now, after a privy court declaration of a mistrial, a re-trial with a not guilty verdict, the Binnie finding in favor of Bain and now forensic evidence suggesting Robin Bain fired a rifle, I have no idea what happened, and my inclination is that the taxpayer owes David Bain an enormous sum of money.
Update: Debate about the Bain case always reminds me of the Errol Morris short film about Umbrella Man.