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Crikey Says

Apr 7, 2014

Crikey says: how Labor lost the West

What did Western Australia tell Canberra on Saturday? Bernard Keane and William Bowe on the Senate re-race. Plus elections in India and Afghanistan, an uncertain logistical nightmare. Did the Australia Network spruce up for Tony Abbott? Crikey is on the gas (battle)fields in NSW. Philip Nitschke's new legal fight. And all the online advertising Hoopla.

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Ah, Labor Party infighting. You missed it, didn’t you? After a disastrous WA Senate re-election result over the weekend, outgoing ALP red-bencher Mark Bishop took a swing at just about everything on ABC Radio’s AM this morning, from the mining and carbon tax to industry policy. Here’s part of the spray:

“This is a disastrous outcome for the ALP; I think it is virtually unprecedented … I don’t think it is a one-off event. There is now a continuum in Australia going back 10 or 12, or 14 years. Where there have been swings of 3, or 4, or 5% at successive elections. We hold three seats out of 15 and the simple reason is that, in this state, we speak a language that is either not understood by voters, or, if understood, rejected …”

Bishop is frustrated but still too polite, it seems, to mention the man Labor had speaking its language. Joe Bullock sat atop Labor’s ticket and rode to victory over the top of a colleague he cruelly ridiculed (Louise Pratt), his fellow Shoppies union heavy (Bishop) and a party now significantly worse for wear. As Crikey‘s Bernard Keane writes:

“For those of us who used to argue that the ALP comes out, in net terms, ahead because of its links with unions — that for every Don Farrell or Craig Thomson there’s an Ed Husic, a Doug Cameron or even a Bill Shorten — Bullock is a killer example of what is wrong with Labor. And he’ll have six years on the red leather to keep demonstrating that.”

Bishop, to be fair, noted Labor needs “to be a lot more open, we need to be a lot more democratic”. No kidding.

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