Tagged with ALP

The Labor leadership, and why Shorten should fuck right off

Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition? Really, Labor, this is your response to the election loss?

This may come as a surprise, but if you’ve been banging your head against a brick wall for six* years and your head hurts, it’s almost certainly not because you haven’t been doing it hard enough. If you pick Shorten as the next Labor leader (or Albanese, or Bowen, or Swan, or Burke…) you might as well hang out a sign saying “we are useless and we will never change.”

You’ve had a bit of a loss. As unpleasant as that might me, it’s also a rare opportunity to try something new, see how it goes. Pick a leader who represents generational change, give them the authority to reform the party, and craft a new story about who you are and what you stand for. Shorten is up to his neck in the leadership dramas of the last few years, and no-one will take you seriously with him at the helm.

There’s plenty of alternatives. Plibersek would be brilliant, then there’s Dreyfus, Butler and Clare, although the last two don’t have Cabinet experience. Any of them would come to the leadership with (relatively) clean hands.

Get your shit together, Labor. Your primary vote is so low now it consists almost entirely of people who are so rusted-on they wouldn’t vote for another party if their lives depended on it. Stop bashing the Greens and focus on your real enemy. Find a leader who will reconnect with the base, emphasise your considerable strengths, and break away from the back-room squabbles of the past.

In other words, not fucking Shorten.

* actually, 17 years

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At least she’s consistent

Julia Gillard, last night on the 7 PM Project:

The night before on Q&A:

At a press conference on 2 August:

At least she’s consistent – consistently useless. Interesting to see how similar the answers were on the last two nights: she’s well drilled.

Gillard’s repeated argument that “there are a variety of community views on this topic” doesn’t hold water – the fact that some troglodytes in the Labor Party aren’t in favour of gay marriage does not justify perpetuating discrimination and unequal treatment. The ALP should discover some conviction about this issue and at least open the issue up for debate instead of constantly closing it down with this unsustainable, empty, unimaginative nonsense.

Until Gillard finds a way of answering this question in a more inclusive and open way, she will continue to fall in respect within the LGBT community.

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Gillard ascendant

julia10.jpg

Managed to get internet access again last night just as the rumours started to circulate of a Labor putsch, and a scant 12 hours later, Australia has a new Prime Minister – the first woman in the Lodge, the first atheist (that we know of), the first redhead (I think) and the first from the left of the Labor Party in my lifetime. This is good news for Australia and for the Labor Party.

Following this news from Syria, it’s hard to think how I would explain the change to Syrian observers, who have been living in a one-party state since the 1950s, and under a hereditary presidency for the last half century. Syria has a lot going for it, but a healthy democracy isn’t part of it.

I guess we could argue the toss about whether a party-room knifing represents a healthy democracy or not, but instead I’d like to nominate a few things I hope Prime Minister Gillard will achieve during her time at the helm of the ship of state.

Given her background, I’d expect a focus on workplace relations and social justice issues to be central to her ethos, just as foreign policy and managerialism were hallmarks of Rudd’s. I hope we’ll see a new conversation about asylum seekers and new approaches to meeting our responsibilities ethically and compassionately. The detention centre on Christmas Island must be closed, and the hysteria taken out of the national debate through some real leadership in this area.

Climate change is the other big challenge and I hope the new government will go back to tors and redevelop their emissions trading proposal in a way that makes real reductions in emissions and sets the foundation for a zero-emissions Australia. Meaningful investment in alternative energy is desperately needed and the coal lobby’s influence in this area must be shunned.

On health, I hope the ALP goes to the election with some real game-changing proposals for health reform, beyond the paper-shuffling of the recent reforms. A national dental scheme would be welcome. I’d welcome the junking of the 30% health insurance rebate, but I suspect that’s a bridge too far.

On communications, the proposed national internet filter should be immediately junked, and if possible I would like to see Senator Steven Conroy locked in a small, windowless room where he can do no further damage.

For me personally, I want my relationship to be recognised, properly, formally and at the federal level, through same sex marriage (unlikely) or a national civil partnership law. If nothing else, I want the debate on this issue to move beyond the rote recitation of the “one man, one woman” shibboleth.

And for Julia, I hope she can provide the leadership, and the resistance to factional influence, that the ALP and the country needs. Watching Kevin Rudd’s presser last night in my hotel here in Aleppo, I noticed he referred to unnamed forces influencing policy on climate change and refugees – which I took to mean that he had been frustrated in these areas by factional forces. The ALP needs a strong leader who can keep the factions in check, and keep the party to its promises. Whether Gillard is that person, I guess we’ll know in due course.

Finally, to Kevin. I will confess to a mote of sadness in the way that Rudd was deposed. Like a lot of Australians I had tremendous hopes for him in 2007 and it has been heartbreaking to see those hopes dashed. Rudd brought tremendous energy to the role of Prime Minister and carved out the beginnings of an enhanced foreign policy agenda for Australia – I hear he has said he will recontest his seat at the election and will serve on the front bench if asked. I hope Julia makes him foreign minister. It’s a job he could excel at.

Get the merchandise! Visit my RedBubble store for Julia 10 and PMILF T-shirts, hoodies and stickers – they’re going like hotcakes!

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Contenders

With Iron Mark sentenced to wander forever down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, the battle for the leadership of the Labor Party is hotting up. Although the Three-Time Loser remains the only person to have formally declared his candidacy, there’s much talk about Rudd, and, to a lesser extent, Gillard as potential challengers.

The blogosphere is all a-titter at the thought of a contest for The Ultimate Prize of Australian politics (OK, technically the Prime Ministership, not the leadership of the ALP, is The Ultimate Prize, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here). Nic White at The 52nd State has a useful round-up of who’s backing who among the cream of the Australian bloggerati.

I’m a bit saddened that no-one seems to be thinking very creatively about the possibilities: White’s tally board has Gillard on 6, Beazley 5, Rudd 3. The only person outside this triumvirate of true believers to get a guernsey is WA Senator Chris Evans (who?). It’s hardly a Melbourne Cup field, so I decided I’d cast my eye over a few of the ALP’s less likely leadership contenders. Continue reading

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