Update With brilliant timing, I wrote this post the day before Gillard announced that she was in fact breaking her promise, and would not bring the legislation to a vote. Presumably she had already signalled this to the media, which was why the accusations of a broken promise were being made, accurately if a little prematurely. Yet again, Gillard has lived down to my lowest expectations, while Abbott has (of course) been even worse End Update
Regular readers will know that I’m no fan of our current PM and a strong supporter of legislation to limit the damage caused by pokies and other forms of gambling that rely primarily on problem gamblers for their viability. And, having been overseas for much of last year, there may be some political nuances I’m missing.
Still, I can’t see how Gillard can be accused of breaking a promise to Andrew Wilkie on pokies on the basis that she has failed to get the numbers for it. On that basis, for example, Rudd broke his promise on an ETS, not when he dropped the idea under pressure from Gillard and the NSW right, but when the Senate rejected the legislation. And every government in recent history has made election promises then had their proposals rejected in the Senate (the silly idea of a mandate, supposed to require the Senate to acquiesce in government legislation, never had any effect on this). Occasionally, such rejections lead to the PM being criticised for lacking negotiation skills. But I’ve never before seen such a case treated as a broken promise.
fn1. Most obviously, it might be that the government is secretly encouraging other independents to oppose the law. I haven’t seen any suggestion to this effect, but it’s about the only thing that would make sense of the “broken promise” claim.