Peter Dowding, barrister, political commentator and former Western Australian Labor premier, writes:

Simon
Crean’s stunning victory in the Hotham preselection has provided
another challenge to the Bomber, the outcome of which will be closely
watched. Having refused to give his support to long-serving member
Simon Crean, Beazley based his position on the principle of allowing
the “democratic process to run its course”.

No mention of the
fact that the party no longer had anyone with the ministerial
experience nor the substantial role that Crean has played in policy
development for the Federal party. Crean may not be electable as a
Prime Minister but no-one who observes the federal political stage
would dispute the importance of the knowledge and the depth of his
experience – except of course the “roosters” who have been involved in
destabilising every prime ministerial aspirant since Hayden.

But
the Beazley principle that we should all allow a “democratic” process
to sort out the survival of the fittest for the ALP has at least two
fundamental flaws.

The first is that there is almost no ALP
community in which to sort it out. The legacy of the Smiths, Swans etc
as Parliamentary and party functionaries has left the ALP with almost
no foot soldiers.

The discomfort that these and other
factional activists feel with the process of listening to other voices
has debilitated the party so badly that there are few opportunities for
members to speak and even fewer members who bother any more to seek
that right. Imagine being required to give your ballot paper to one of
these guys to fill in and being asked to feel part of the “democratic
process”.

The second is the embarrassment of a roll call of the WA Federal Members. In his state, Kim has such luminaries as:

  • Former losing premier of WA Carmen Lawrence – you may remember her
    for that, you probably will not recall her for anything to do with a
    shadow portfolio or indeed anything useful politically. The Fremantle
    seat is, after all, thought of as pretty safe;
  • Mark Bishop – a Senator from the Shop Assistants Union – yes
    that is the Union that seems to have benefited more than its members
    for its deals with some of the larger retailers;
  • Stephen Smith, shadow minister for leadership change and
    destabilisation – actually having the shadow responsibilities for
    Industry, Infrastructure & Industrial Relations – but God help
    infrastructure and the poor old workers;
  • Having sat back and let Peter Cook get the chop, Beazley is
    supported by Senator Glenn Sterle, whose contribution to the Canberra
    debate has, to say the least, been underwhelming.

So dishonesty, disloyalty, and dissembling have come back to haunt Kim,
and of course the poor old ALP. Perhaps it would be best if he allowed
his principle to make a clean sweep of positions in the Federal ALP f

Peter Fray

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