The Sydney Morning Herald's chief political editor, Phillip Coorey, quotes a Labor MP on Craig Thomson, a fellow Labor MP currently under fire due to serious accusations of criminal stupidity in his previous life as a union boss. From the article:
And of course, Craig Thomson. The whole affair is a millstone to drag down Gillard. No matter how implausible his denials become and how unpleasant any new revelations, the government does not have the luxury of sacking him.
Why not? Because it's a minority coalition hanging in by only one seat, and his seat would likely fall to the Opposition in the ensuing by-election. Bye-bye government.
And survive he should, because the only mechanism to force him out is a criminal conviction and there is no investigation under way.
Survive he should not if he is guilty of horrific malfeasance. That no investigation is (at the time of writing and to my knowledge) under way is something I regard personally as curious in the least. But let us get on to that quote:
"Mate, if he f---ing murdered someone, we'd try to keep him in until 2013,'' a Labor MP said.
At which point an election would be constitutionally mandatory. If we take that statement at face value, it says nothing good about the government's moral compass. Julia "No Carbon Tax Under A Government I Lead" Gillard must be feeling the heat by now, and I restate my belief that the government is in zugzwang. Thomson certainly is.
Former Hawke/Keating Labor MP Graham Richardson is said to have had the motto "Whatever it takes". It seems that attitude has rubbed off.