So it’s on. “When I became the Leader of the Opposition on 28 January,
I inherited a front and back bench of considerable talent,” Kim Beazley
announced this morning. “After five months, I firmly believe we need to
make better use of that talent.”

In other words, he’s going to move some of it from the backbench to the front.

“Today I have given notice to the Caucus Secretary to arrange a Special
Caucus meeting for 6pm today. The purpose of this meeting is to
announce my intention to re-shuffle the Shadow Ministry. I will
announce the full reshuffle tomorrow. This afternoon, I will be
discussing with Caucus my intention to expand the Shadow Ministry by
two. I will also be discussing my intention to have those positions
filled by Lindsay Tanner and incoming Senator Annette Hurley.”

Wot? No Bob McMullan?

This, of course, is all Labor Party etiquette. Caucus, not the leader,
chooses the front bench in the ALP. The leader merely allocates
portfolios. The front bench Beazley has had to work with was the result
of factional deals designed to prevent a catatonic Mark Latham curling
up completely into a ball after the election defeat last year. They’re
obviously irrelevant now. The Bomber has decided to strike. He has no
choice. His party is in despair. He wants to blast them into submission.

That’s what makes the final par of his statement so interesting: “I
will also be announcing structural changes to the way the Federal Labor
Party does business. These changes will enable Labor to be more
flexible and be able to generate better policy for the Australian

Is the Bomber going to drop the big one? Does this involve taking on
the factions? This parliamentary session might just end on a more
interesting note for Labor than anyone anticipated.