The final leg of 2023 has proven to be a tumultuous period for the Albanese government, with a series of challenges deviating it from the earlier predicted course of success. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's hopes of a significant reconciliation vote and industrial reform to favor low-wage workers were thwarted by the loss of the Voice referendum and the Senate's partial dissection of the reform package.
High Court's Decision and Political Backlash
The government's woes were further compounded when the High Court overturned the long-standing indefinite detention regime for immigration detainees. The Albanese government faced intense criticism for its initial underestimation of the political fallout and its rushed legislative response to establish a preventative detention regime. The situation was further inflamed by the re-arrest or charging of four released detainees, engendering a contentious political climate.
Positive Strides Amidst Challenges
Despite the turmoil, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek successfully steered the passage of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and the Nature Safety Repair Bill, indicating some positive momentum within the cabinet.
The government's handling of these issues has provided Opposition Leader Peter Dutton with ample political ammunition. This has led to a decline in the Prime Minister's polling numbers, while Dutton is likely to enjoy a more favorable Christmas season. A rejuvenated Dutton, with significant help from the government's missteps, has managed to create a sense of chaos around Anthony Albanese, predicting that he will reduce him to a one-term leader.
The year that commenced with Albanese government ministers describing Peter Dutton as their best asset could possibly end with Dutton transforming into their worst nightmare.