Politics Betting: Slip sliding away...?
...it seems the time is ripe for what Mr Abbott craves most of all – a vote of no confidence in the house to try and bring down the government.
As much as Tony Abbott may be humming 'Slip sliding away' under his breath, Paul Bugeja can't see recent events concerning Peter Slipper as bringing on the early election the Opposition so devoutly desires.
We've heard the Leader of the Opposition's call for an election for seemingly endless months now, in fact almost since the day after the dust settled on the 2010 election.
In fact, a Google search for the term "Abbott calls for an election" brings up over nine million pages.
Yup, nine million.
Some would argue he has every right to call for such given a variety of 'issues' that have plagued Julia Gillard's minority government and that potentially call into play its legitimacy to govern.
And with both fiscal and sexual impropriety allegations levelled at the (for now stood aside) Speaker of the House, Peter Slipper, it seems the time is ripe for what Mr Abbott craves most of all - a vote of no confidence to try and bring down the government.
But, quite simply, it just isn't going to happen.
Tuesday's announcement that the Opposition is not prepared to deal with Independent Andrew Wilkie over his proposed pokies gambling reforms is the nail in the coffin of Mr Abbott ever hoping to get the numbers in Parliament to roll the government.
It means that even with Anna Burke sitting in as Speaker, it is nigh-impossible that such a vote will go through as it would take both Rob Oakshott and Tony Burke to vote with the Opposition against the government, something neither seems predisposed to do.
The punters agree.
In the 'next election' market, the odds are short (1.27) around a post-July 2013 election, although, ironically, most of the money is actually on an election in the first half of 2012, which, given we are now approaching May, is a nigh-impossible scenario.
This bodes well for the Gillard government: with still nearly 18 months before an election, it can hope to lay to rest both the Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper situations, bed down the controversy over the MRRT and Carbon Pricing, and try and get a few more runs on the board to improve on its dire polls.
(Interesting to note is The Telegraph reporting that handwriting experts have confirmed the credit card slips Thomson allegedly signed are faked, potentially exonerating the embattled MP.)
Gillard herself remains clear favourite to lead Labor to the next election, although she has fallen back a little in recent weeks from around the (1.67) mark to (1.87). Her nearest rival is Stephen Smith at (4.30).
That's where the good news ends for the PM.
('One Kay Rudd', who has gone very very quiet since his failed leadership challenge, and who vowed he will never challenge Gillard again, sits out at (3.0).)
As for the election outcome itself, it seems punters feel it would be a miracle for Labor to find something to bring the electorate back on board. The Opposition sit at an election winning (1.16) and the ALP are out to (6.0), having been in as low as (3.0) earlier this year.
This is, however, without doubt the value Aussie politics bet at the moment, and punters have not been scared to jump on it, with 40% of the money coming in for Labor.
So, although the odds seem stacked towards the Opposition romping home in late 2013, punters have poured a sizable amount into Labor being the comeback kid.
Eighteen days, let alone eighteen months, can be a long time in politics...