Bill Shorten emboldened by Mediscare election campaign 'lie'


If Medicscare was an election campaign ''lie'', Labor leader Bill Shorten appears emboldened by it.

His new claims in the past couple of days - that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering a snap election - have to be one of the most outrageous follow-ups possible.

It beggars belief.

Only two hung Parliaments in the country's history and no snap election in the wake of either of those.

And with Mr Turnbull's good mate John Key, New Zealand's prime minister, having worked with various ragtag minor parties over the past nine years, it is impossible to believe anything other than the party that gets the most votes (the Coalition undoubtedly) will attempt to work with like minds.

A trend offshore, in NZ certainly, is that voters don't like to give a party absolute power. Having coalition partners means the more extreme ideas get shelved.

With good management that doesn't have to mean a stagnant economy or legislative program - again look at NZ's rise up the GDP charts.

Mr Turnbull already has to manage the similar but not completely aligned aims of two different parties. Working with another one should not be beyond him.

However, he'll need to be strong and smart to make sure the things he really cares about have the numbers to get through. That's probably his biggest barrier. Already Mr Turnbull has had to champion policies you'd have picked he'd previously have rejected on a conscience vote.

The tail can sometimes wag the dog in multi-party politics. But this dog (Mr Turnbull) will need the biggest bite if he's to survive a full term and have any chance of being re-elected.

A couple of other election thoughts:

*Worst performance of election night live TV coverage? Channel Nine political editor Laurie Oakes. At his comforting best in front of the tele-prompter, the live show turned out to be a trial. He was slow to understand the live numbers as they flashed across the screen and explain them. Time to step back?

*Worst photo of the election campaign? Every one where the smiling candidate had a gang of nodding fools behind them.

****Bryce Johns is editorial director of Australian Regional Media:

Topics:  bill shorten federal election 2016 federal politics malcolm turnbull medicare

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