Way back in the dim dark 90s, Paul Keating played a master stoke of political bastardry on John Hewson. The polls (such as they were in those days) were not looking good for a second chance at PM, and Hewson was forging ahead with evangelical zeal, pushing his 15% GST. Keating, with nothing to lose, did a very, very brave thing (in hindsight, but seemingly insane at the time) and came out in direct contraction of his own party's policy which appalled the left and frightened the rank and file members. (Yes, Victoria, the ALP did have them once.)
Keating announced that if Hewson was elected, the ALP would not oppose the passage of the GST through parliament, but that if Labor were elected, there would be no GST. You could hear jaws dropping all over the floor of the house. Hewson was at that moment, as they say these days, rat-fucked. Australians HATE being taxed and don't mind punishing a government for introducing same, so when Keating made that tax fait accompli, Hewson had no solid ground and Keating was re-elected.
I wonder, is the political art of fucking rats at the heart of this migration debacle in which the Gillard government is currently engaged? I can't think of a more deserving ratty arsehole than Abbott, and if it is Gillard's plan to out Ghengis Kahn the little turd, then go girlfriend. She has got him in a bit of a twister hold. The Boltbrechtson Joneses will still hate her - no love lost there, and the ALP left would die before voting for Abbot, so they'll bleed to the Greens who'll still be ALP coalition partners no matter what. The only people who are going to be really disenfranchised will be the swinging voters in the marginal seats who all this bullshit is being played to - the four and a half people and a dog who hold the real power to make or break and election result.
The more Abbott tries to explain why he can't support Gillard going hard on the boaties, the more they think him a soft cock. This can only hurt the Opposition's vote. Already Abbott's polls are down. It appears that by inviting Abbott to support the migration act amendments, she has forced his hand - he's damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't.
Don't get me wrong, I still detest the right wing of the Labor party, never was there such a pack of smarmy suits - Julia included, but if they can manage to shut this refugee debate down (preferably for good) and at the same time divert attention from the passage of the carbon tax, it is a win win situation. Or, just wishful thinking.