At first there was just a subtle hint, an inkling seeping through the disciplined front. But now with the nearing election all but decided (according to the polls) it has becoming more noticable - that air of born-to-rule arrogance the blue blood conservatives are renowned for. To date they've kept it under wraps, especially when it comes to their leader, Tony Abbott, who has been given a Mr Nice Guy makeover while simultaneously being gagged by a phalanx of minders who are positively terrified he'll open his mouth and remind the good people of Oz why he is so unpopular.
While the media continue to focus on a possible Labor Party leadership challenge from Kevin Rudd a beseiged Julia Gillard is unable to get the benefits of her government's policy initiatives across to the public - this of course is exactly what the Libs want ... and have got courtesy of a frenzied press looking for blood. Hammered from all sides the Labor government is increasingly the victim of a witch hunt mentality pervading the electorate. To be sure they haven't done themselves any favours with a number of poor political decisions, but the hatred for Gillard and her government is becoming exponential and unreasonable - to the point that it's becoming a sport.
And so Mr Abbott doesn't have to say anything, just sit there and watch the Labor Party tear itself apart as the voters happily ignore the lack of Coalition policy so that they can drool over the bloodbath happening in the political Coliseum called Canberra.
From this seemingly impregnable position does smugness arise. Costello-esque smirking overconfidence. Swaggering imperiousness. From the smirks and know-all interjections by conservatives George Brandis and Judith Sloan on Q and A last night the Liberal Party (code name for Business Party) has all the symptoms of believing in its own righteousness. It's like a virus that has mutated from caution into conceit. However, before they count their chickens, if there's anything the Australian people don't like it's a smart alec or in the Aussie vernacular a "poser". Beware the underdog Gillard - or Rudd - because the fight is not over yet.