Crikey readers talk the future of the Labor Party, whether our government acts in our national interest, and a Greens v Fairfax spat.
How to fix the ALP
Les Heimann writes: Re. “Crikey says: will the unions get on board Labor reform?” (yesterday). Your editorial points to support the ALP distancing itself from the union movement. Are you asking the right question? True, past attempts to lessen union influence have failed, and so may this one because it is simply illogical to have a genuine labour party without unions welded on.
The right question is: how relevant is a political party that is based on workers but professes to represent everyone? At the very heart of it, the answer is: not relevant at all. And isn’t that the problem?
Instinctively voters sense the internal dilemma that is the ALP right now. We the voters know that the Liberal and National parties are essentially for individualism and self-progression. We know the Greens are sort of “left” and genuinely follow an intransigent “the whole is more than the individual” philosophy. The PUP is a passing indulgence that at core is even more “Right” than the Liberal Party.
So it’s like a “Cheneyism” — you have to know what it is you don’t know you need to know when it comes to the ALP, and because most don’t know they vote elsewhere.
The ALP can solve it all quite easily if the oligarchs now in control wish to; just return the power to the members. Solely the members and allow a fully democratic party where everything is open.
Then have unions and anyone else be part of the open party in a one vote, one value party. Equally have a platform that genuinely represents an all-embracing view of Australia — economically and equitably. Be a centrist party with common-sense policies. Either that or let us witness the birth of a new party: a Social Democrat Party that would do what the ALP isn’t.
Pulling back the curtains
John Richardson writes: Re. “Lockheed wins out over taxpayers in the F-35 procurement nightmare” (yesterday). While Bernard Keane and a few others might actually care about the wisdom of the F-35 procurement deal with the US, most would understand that at a more fundamental level, the real transaction has nothing whatsoever to do with building a world-class air defence capability but everything to do with our giving in to the protection racket run from the Potomac on behalf of the US military-industrial complex.
It might come as a shock to Keane to realise that many Australians have long understood that our country is not run in our nation’s interest. In the words of Frank Zappa:
“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre.”
NSW Greens convener Hall Greenland writes: Re. “Greens v SMH over ad” (yesterday). Contrary to yesterday’s Crikey report, the Greens NSW did not condemn The Sydney Morning Herald for “censorship” over that paper declining to run our “Clean up NSW politics. Vote 1 The Greens” advertisement. Likewise it is not correct that we insisted the ad be on page one of the ICAC supplement. Our representatives are now talking to Fairfax about improving the processes for future advertising. And for future reference, in order to confirm the truth or otherwise of allegations and assertions concerning the NSW Greens you can always phone me as NSW convener for on-the-record comment about what the Greens NSW has or hasn’t done.