THE PRIME Minister can't win.
Inundated by torrents of criticism, he is putting on a brave face as he battles for survival.
Tony Abbott will today abandon the Coalition's signature policy - the maligned Paid Parental Leave scheme it campaigned on at two Federal elections.
He and his brow-beaten colleagues are hoping that once the policy is binned, it will show strength and his ability to listen to popular opinion.
Abbott is too deep in his hole now and armed only with a bucket, he cannot escape the flow of frustration that keeps pouring in.
Ahead of his 2013 win, the Prime Minister was skilled at turning the screws on Julia Gillard.
She couldn't be trusted. Remember when she promised no carbon tax? She is a liar. A Coalition Government is one that will do what it says. That's what he told us.
The Coalition's strength is in destruction.
The carbon tax, mining tax and the "threat" of asylum seekers have been neutralised.
But a government must show it can build.
And the one key policy that tried to paint the Prime Minister as a builder, not just a man with a wrecking ball, was the world's most generous Paid Parental Leave scheme.
It might have been a cynical ploy to win over well-educated women voters reluctant about voting Liberal, but it worked.
For them, this broken vow will be personal.
Would-be mothers knew it was a long-shot, but plenty - including my wife -- planned childbirth around the prospect of being given extra government help from July 1 this year.
Now it will be scrapped.
After repeating to no end that it would survive, it will today die on national television.
It might be survived by a revamped scheme but even the fairest explanation of changing circumstances won't be enough for the Prime Minister.
Remember how Gillard would say a surplus was "guaranteed" until it wasn't?
The PM will be hoping today's media club speech will reset the clock on his leadership.
It was only weeks ago that he tried to "clear the barnacles" in a marathon press conference late last year.
Any modicum of goodwill was then squandered by knighting Prince Philip.
And that's before we think about the blood of Queensland's LNP that has stained his hands.
For his colleagues treading water alongside, there is no clear case for replacing the PM.
They will be left with the same mess, but will be now be vulnerable to claims it runs a "chaotic" government.
If a ship was in this kind of distress, at least it could radio for help. With the Coalition, it's unclear if anyone would even listen long enough to hear it.
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