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Queensland

Mar 27, 2012

Rundle: time to work out what a Labor Party is for

In the aftermath of Queensland -- a place that, like Vietnam or Dresden or Hell, has become an event -- it's worth revisiting a debate that's been going on round Leftish traps, regarding the ALP in power.

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In the aftermath of Queensland — a place that, like Vietnam or Dresden or Hell, has become an event — it’s worth revisiting a debate that’s been going on round Leftish traps, regarding the ALP in power, and in the next election. This has centred around two strategies, based on differing perceptions of the party’s character and chances:

1) Grit your teeth, ignore the crap and support the ALP at the next election. Why? Not because of its centre-right policies per se, but because it holds certain things in place, making it easier for a real regeneration in changed circumstances. Thus what remains of Labor’s capital-labour settlement — what’s left of arbitration, Fair Work, etc — not only retains some protections for workers, but also maintains the principle that forces other than the market alone should set the conditions for work, and the framework within which wage and conditions are set.

The carbon tax is slight, but a real commitment, on a global scale, to collective action against climate change. Medicare was politically untouchable in the Howard era, but no longer is. And so on. Labor’s sneak victory would mean that it is as arrogant, out-of-touch and short-sighted as ever before, but that’s the price of the ticket. Should the federal Coalition suffer a loss under Tony Abbott, the above institutions can be preserved through a period in which the failures of a red-in-tooth-and-claw market have not yet become visible to sufficient numbers.

Meanwhile, the Coalition will be in fresh crisis, having tried a liberal leader (Malcolm Turnbull), a conservative leader (Abbott) and a petrol-station Mr Blowie (Brendan Nelson). It will be devoid of real talent and charisma in its front bench, vicious infighting will begin, generating either an unelectable conservative putsch — even as we speak, Mr Mirabella is laying out his “first gentleman” suit and choosing cufflinks — or a leadership more in line with the distinctive political mix of Australian life, for the inevitable point when it returns to power. Labor will thus have had an epochal, framework-setting win.

2) The worst thing that could happen for Australian politics in the mid-run — i.e. the next 15 to 30 years — is for Labor to somehow eke out another victory in 2013. The party with no real program, save for the aggressive neoliberal agenda of its Emerson wing, would use whatever combination of knavery and fluke got it a victory to decisively avoid any encounter with real reflection that might lead to a durable 21st-century political program. The party would be incapable of leading rather than following, should society continue an easy-money-fuelled rightwards drift, and it would have no credibility should China cough and fall over sideways, and our pitifully underdeveloped condition reveal itself. In this scenario, the Left should actively desert Labor, throw its energy towards the Greens. Labor is most likely cactus anyway, and then participate in Labor’s soul-searching and reconstruction during its decade out of office.

Following the Queensland defeat, there is now a third possibility — that Labor will suffer result 2), and be turfed out, but be subject to process 1), learning nothing and drifting on. There is the junk analysis — such as Bill Ludwig’s comment that Australians don’t like women in power — and the flummery, such as Peter Beattie’s comment that Julia Gillard should buy a house in Queensland. There is simple denial, such as the “it was time” analysis, always a bogus one, especially to explain a wipe-out. Then there is plain and simple magical thinking, which lies at the centre of it — Anna Bligh’s comment that though she was pretty sure the public turfed her for the surprise asset sales move, she “knew in her heart it was the right thing to do”.

Good God, where to start? With Beattie? Move to Queensland? What, so the electorate can throw rocks at two women whose policies and conduct they hate, rather than one? Yeah, that’ll work. That is one right out of the Bligh-on-MasterChef box: “Here’s something I prepared earlier — the fire sale of the electricity grid. Mention it? Did I not? Oh.” Where does this pitiful delusion come from, that people won’t vote Labor simply because they don’t know their leaders well enough? Beattie is the rule-proving exception among these political professionals, a man who retains a sense of how most people see the world. For the rest, keep them away from the people they might well vote for, for the same reason you don’t take the kids for a look-round the abattoir on the way to Sizzler.

As to Ludwig’s comment about women, well, yes the public won’t vote for them, if they keep getting given a chance at power only when things are in crisis, and a shit sandwich has to be delivered. Were some of the women in question to have refused this obvious raw deal, they would have been labelled as “scared of power”. When they take it — from both personal ambition and a sense that the precedent has to be set under any circumstances, they are then declared to be the poison in the chalice. Marvellous.

But above all, what is most significant is that absolute refusal to question either the wisdom, politics or necessity of the asset sales, one of the single most politically destructive moves in the history of Australian politics. Labor had a more solid relationship with sections of its electorate in Queensland than anywhere else — a relationship grounded in its ancient history but forged above all by the decades-long fixed electoral dictatorship of Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

The sense that Labor, the majority choice, was excluded from power by a fix, gave Queensland Labor an extra dimension of solidarity with its base, just as that was withering away elsewhere, under the impact of the wholesale reconstruction of economic and social life in the 1990s. The asset sales move, which treated Labor’s own supporters with utter contempt, and communicated to them that the party’s loyalty was to a technocratic elite, could not have been more precisely designed to f-ck up that relationship if it had been designed in the LNP skunk-works room.

Everything about the way the asset sales were handled — from Bligh’s remark that they were “not negotiable” to the mixing-in of profitable and loss-making assets in the sales basket, to the needless internal war created by the process — was a disaster created by one thing only: the notion that there is an abstract, depoliticised and technocratic series of decisions to be made, within a fixed framework, and that politics is what happens beneath that. Doubtless many of the arguments about refinancing public works were rational, but the non-negotiability was based on the assumption that that was the only possible good that people might see. The alternative possible good — the idea that it is inherently good for large-scale infrastructure to remain in the people’s hands — was simply discounted.

Bizarrely, a partial privatisation program could have been won, if it had been proposed to Labor’s base and the state as a whole, and argued for, as part of a social-democratic (or social-market) bigger picture. Pushing it through as a whole destroyed the remnant idea of a Labor social contract in the state, and any notion of trust. Given the shift to the Right, Labor’s neoliberals will continue to deny that the asset sales played any part. But the reports from exit polls and polling booths appear to be in no doubt that it did (which is why I feel it is at least plausible to write this assessment from half a world away).Why did Bligh, a life-long activist and member of the Socialist Left, take the decision to become the agent of such neoliberal aims, and adopt a crash-through-or-crash strategy? The question is the answer. The social-democratic left collapsed intellectually before it collapsed politically, unable or unwilling, at the heart of the party, to rethink new ways of managing a progressive politics after the failure of large-scale state ownership.

Bligh is an ex-student politician, turned community activist — and like many of that breed, one suspects, rather thin on the intellectual front, and perhaps impatient with anything that isn’t very action-oriented and piecemeal. There has developed on what remains of the “Left” in Labor a resolute anti-intellectualism with regards to politics — the sense that anything deeper than a two-page policy/spin document is a “w-nk”.

That has proved particularly disastrous for Labor for several reason. The first is that it has been willing to open itself to two leaders — Mark Latham and Kevin Rudd — who did have ideas, and then simply adopted them, in the spirit of “we’ve got to have some text to put in the leaflets”. But both men held their ideas as a distinct and individual body of insights, preferences and obsessions, not as the representation of a larger current of thought. The intellectual-political core became an expression of their personalities, not of the ideas themselves, such as they were.

But this has also proved disastrous because the only people in Labor or around it with a consistent body of ideas are the neoliberals — the Craig Emersons, Marn Ferns, Michael Costas, and a host of less-public figures. They’re either schooled in economics faculties — in the same way that a burr-headed rivet is “schooled” in a press — or they came to it through the long failures of centre-left politics. The latter group sell it like a new faith, the former are simply incapable of thinking outside of its percepts. They steamroller whatever vestigial and instinctual opposition practically minded people of a leftish disposition might put up.

Increasingly, many such people in Labor see any intra-party remnant opposition to neoliberalism as “the real enemy”, and direct more energy against that, than outside of the party. That state of affairs means that the party membership boundary no longer describes a single entity. The division between the neoliberals and what remains of social democracy in the party is greater than the fiercer political splits of the ideological faction years. Whatever the difference between a (Catholic) Right and a Socialist Left, neither thought that the market should define human being, social institutions or public culture.

The ALP neoliberals, out of fascination at the alleged (and illusory) Promethean power of a virtually unlimited market to lift the world to a higher state of being, are utterly indifferent to any more rounded conception of existence, the role other institutions — the state, NGOs, community networks, voluntary organisations, etc — might play in it, and how a social-democratic party might find ways of working through mediating non-market, non-state institutions. So now neither Right nor Left in the party have much time for genuinely new ideas, and they fuse with a clique of professional spin doctors, some of whom have gone from failure to failure across several continents, spruiking a pseudo-scientific expertise as the reason they should be hired afresh.

We have seen such a mix of delusion, bafflement and before — the pyramid cities of the Lambayeque Valley in Peru for one, whose inhabitants believed they could hold off the approaching conquistadors if only they could tear enough hearts out of living chests. High-priestess Bligh’s asset sales was a mild re-enactment — a state in a country in a resources boom believing that the answer to a mild deficit was to privatise the heart of state-owned infrastructure.

The belief system that makes this sacrifice appear rational is an imaginary one; the consequences are all too real. For Labor to be anything at all over the next two decades, it will have to begin a parallel strategy — first, drafting some sort of next-term program it could take to the people in the next election that would project a genuine idea of how life could be better, and from what basis that springs. But it should also lay the ground for the work it will have to do in opposition, when it most likely ends up there — to work out what a Labor Party is for, as something more than an outpipe for global capital. For the men and women of action, such a process will undoubtedly seem like a “w-nk”. But in Queensland now, there’s not a lot of action and sod all to do. There’s a reason the now-deserted Lambayeque Valley is known by the locals as Purgatorio, and it’s a long-walk through.

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103 comments

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bird7755
Member
hi there, I think this sums it up Guy….Labor need a cohesive ideology framework then you do your compromising on the top 50%. They need to win the argument from a values basis and connect the economic and social – people have been brought up only to think about the economic administration of the economy so they need to start from this basis and then say, OK, a 2 tiered education system affects the economy – ie show the linkages and then win the war on taxes. Most studies have shown that Australian’s are more social democratic than economic libertarian… Read more »
Microseris
Member

Labor has moved further and further to the right and become a party with no core beliefs or principles. It now simply stands for the gaining and retention of power.

At least Liberal stand for something – money.

Stiofan
Member

Absolutely nailed it right there, Guy!
This pretentious piece of leftish drivel shows that you are as irrelevant to modern Australian politics as Anna Bligh. I haven’t encountered such a meandering piece of pseudo-intellectual pseudo-science since the Marxist Summer School at Sydney Uni in 1979.

James K
Member
I am still confused: if people do not want govt owned assets sold off… why did they vote for the coalition that has that as a standard plank of their economic policy? Here in Vic. the libs are talking about selling off the Port of Melbourne. Under Kennett they sold off 300 schools, the public transport system, the utilities (Qld was slow on that one)… and more. Some jails were privatised.. the list is long. The coalition are philosophically committed to less govt activity and more private business activity. That is their core belief. And so Queenslanders – who oppose… Read more »
Suzanne Blake
Member

Increased taxes, increased incompetence, dishonesty, “wealth redistribution”, ICAC events, jai led MP’s, more dishonesty, Union control and working families working to keep them in power at the trough

puddleduck
Member

Which begs the question… why are the right wingers still in the ALP? Why don’t they join the Libs?

Jimmy
Member

This article lost me at “The worst thing that could happen for Australian politics in the mid-run — i.e. the next 15 to 30 years — is for Labor to somehow eke out another victory in 2013”.

With Abbott promising to repeal everything that Labor has achieved in the previous 6 years and looking like he will send the country into recession and lurching quickly to the right there is no way that it could be a good thing for Labor to lose the next election.

James K
Member
I agree. as a greens supporter, I do find it sad to think that all the most progressive thinkers and slightly left of centre minded folk, have tended to desert labor for the Greens. It has left the Labor party in the hands of the right and they are useless and misguided. (Nothing bias about my comments is there!) But the success of the greens in growing support by politically active and ideal progressives, might just be one of the reasons why Labor has drifted so far right. Or maybe that was happening first and it caused more to leave… Read more »
Suzanne Blake
Member

Dont worry yourself Jimmy,Labor won’t eke out anything. The brand is damaged for a generation

Michael James
Member
I am with Stiofan, what a load of self-referential,. self-aggrandising cr@p. “Queensland is now an event” Oh really? Then what did the almighty thumping that Labour in NSW received become? There the swing was 16.5%, worse than even last weekend’s well deserved shellacking. Perhaps its that the electorate, having placed ALP governments in power across the entire nation and federally, is swinging away to the conservatives, to a point that eventually the country will mostly be under conservative government. Then eventually, slowly and inexorably, the pendulum will swing the other way. All governments have a use by date, about three… Read more »
blue bubble
Member

The reasons behind the asset sales were mostly well founded, just poorly explained. QR freight is almost exclusively about coal, as was Abbot Point. The long term viability of that required significant capital injection (better provided by the coal miners directly) and was slightly in conflict with the ALPs other agenda of tackling climate change. OK idea badly executed.

Jimmy
Member

Michael James – Very said.

SB – When Rudd won in 2007 people said the liberals faced a decade in the wilderness and yet almost got back in after a term. To talk of damage for 25 years is just absurd, but that is you isn’t it.

And as ofr the extent of the damage, let’s look again in 12 months when the terror’s Abbott predicts from the Mining and Carbon taxes have not occurred.

Chris Bell
Member

I am an economist who believes that, while capitalism maximises the pie, it does nothing to ensure that it is shared fairly. Also in its pure form, it has nothing to say about external effects such as global warming, loss of biodiversity etc. Where do I go if Labor disintergrates?

twobob
Member

The Left should actively desert Labor and throw its energy towards the Greens.
Asset sales was the clincher that stopped me voting for labor.
That was years ago.
And I do agree with PUDDLEDUCK. The infiltration of the Labor party is complete and its downfall is assured, UNLESS it removes the neoliberals completely from its party and reclaims the social justice mantra that it was created to provide.
I doubt that it can.

Bo Gainsbourg
Member
When Labor started in on privatisation, they copped not just the wrath of their base, but they reinforced the fury that people all round the country felt for their repeated privatisations in NSW and other places. To suggest that it was the only economic option as Bligh, Emerson and others no doubt have and will really sums it up. This is a party that prides itself on delivering neoliberal right economic policies that people hate with a passion. No other policy initiative can cover that up. The right must be overjoyed that Labor does it on their behalf and then… Read more »
PK93
Member
To suggest that “neo-liberalism” (in the idelogical sense of the word) is the root of Labor’s problems is the height of bollocksry. NBN, Fairwork Act, carbon pricing, mining tax, disability insurance, private health care rebate threshold, GFC response, social care pay claims etc etc how on earth does this represent a party that is beholden to a belief in the “Promethean power of a virtually unlimited market to lift the world to a higher state of being, are utterly indifferent to any more rounded conception of existence, the role other institutions” or that the “market should define human being, social… Read more »
Jimmy
Member

Twobob – It all depends on how left you are, I am more with Crispy and while I like the job the Greens are doing pulling the ALP a bit further left I can’t go as far as they do on a whole range of issues.

Suzanne Blake
Member

@ twobob

If your fellow extreme lefties agreed with you, the Green vote would have gone UP, it went DOWN 1.1% at last could.

So where did they go? to Katter or vote informally?

botswana bob
Member
I see this stuff all the time: What does Labor stand for? Its well known what the ALP stands for: its an organisation dedicated to advancing the careers of union hacks–Craig Thompson–and party apparatchiks. The once great reform party has let the light on the hill go out, as the careerists, who have all the attributes of dogs save loyalty, pack its parliamentary ranks. Just look at the current PM: this careerist started to plot against Rudd–the bloke who got them back into office after a decade–the day after the election, signed an agreement on pokies reform than shredded it… Read more »
gikku
Member

so if Gillard is wiped out, how long will Abbott last? a term? 18 months?
He is not the messiah, just a naughty little boy.

Peter Murphy
Member

James K: The National part of the Liberal National Party do not and never wanted privatisation in the first place. The only things that Campbell promised to sell off were the shares in QR National.

cpobke
Member
This is a very engaging piece (as evidenced in the responses!) and i enjoyed reading it. Its great example of evocative polemic (i don’t intend that as backhanded compliment). Its not so good that Guy tends to dehumanise/demonise those who hold a different intellectual view to him. This is unfortunate as I imagine the people he is refering to are neither horrible nor stupid (belted rivets or irrational zealots). It also got a bit unclear for me whether the main argument is that privatisation is the reason for the loss in Queensland, just generally a bad idea, or whether the… Read more »
CliffG
Member
Excuse my ignorance and stupidity but Labor stands for workers’ rights.It opposed and defeated Work Choices. It stands for lower paid workers, achieving a 25% pay rise. It stands for action on climate change. It stands for lower tax rates for the lowest paid, raising the threshold by over three times. It opposes middle class welfare, removing rebates from those with enough income to pay their own and not burden the taxpayer. It stands for some of the profits from mining not going into the already overloaded pockets of bloated billionaires but to the people of the nation whose minerals… Read more »
DF
Member

If the ALP keeps implementing the neo-liberal policies of the conservatives, eg privatisation of public assets, people might as well vote for the conservatives and be done with it.

Jeremy Sear
Member

Here’s hoping lefties vote for the party that represents them, the Greens, and the people in the centre the ALP’s pitching at realise that the carbon tax bullshit from News Ltd is just that, scaremongering bullshit, and treat the “promise everything” Coalition with the contempt they deserve. Australia could do with another minority government.

Jimmy
Member

Cliffg- Abbott stands for Abbott becoming PM, he will fill in all the blanks (like an economic policy) after that.

DF – Look at the policies implemented by Labor int the last 4 year and the policies Abbot is taking to the next election and tell me which is better for the country.

It amazes me that the ALP is routinely criticised for being to far to the right and for being a socialist govt that is only interested in wealth redistribution.

Michael James
Member

Cpobke, demonising the ‘other’ is becoming a staple of Rundle’s work, for example his immediate tarring of the shooter of several people in France as a Right Wing Extremist ™, despite having absolutely nothing more to work from than his own prejudices.

Bit awkward that the shooter turned out to be an Al-Quaida zealot. Oh dear…

As I said, its becoming a Rundle stock in trade.

John64
Member
“time to work out what a Labor Party is for” It’s too late Guy. You work out what you stand for in Opposition. Not in Government. “Meanwhile, the Coalition will be in fresh crisis, having tried a liberal leader (Malcolm Turnbull), a conservative leader (Abbott) and a petrol-station Mr Blowie (Brendan Nelson). It will be devoid of real talent and charisma in its front bench” You mean like how the Labor party is? After having tried a Labor leader (Rudd), a do-anything-for-power leader (Gillard) and… sorry, who’s next? The only person they have with any charisma is now Carr but… Read more »
David Allen
Member

Just to get things straight. As of now, the LNP has 49.81% of first preferences. All others i.e. those NOT voting for LNP, 50.19%.

Source: Qld Electoral Commission.

PK93
Member
Jimmy, that last line nails it. The know all sanctimones on the right see, or atleast assert, Labor as “beholden to the greens” “crypto-socialist” etc Their counterparts on the left subscribe to the conviction that Labor is “no different to the Libs” blah blah blah whinge moan squeal THey can’t both be right and, infact to anyone capable of relective nuanced, thought are both totally wrong What’s truly amazing is how shamelessly the gutless, spineless, careerist print and tv journos push both points without a hint of professional embarassment. That insufferable morally untouchable Tony Jones is capable of premising questions… Read more »
Coaltopia
Member

Hey Blue Bubble, did Labor really sell-off QR National to divest Queenslanders from being owners in a dubious business?

I doubt it, but I’d be happy to hear evidence to the contrary. You’d have to ask, why then, were they so pro-coal development?

I find it difficult to tell these LibLabs apart.

Tim nash
Member

Bligh is an ex-student politician, turned community activist — and like many of that breed, one suspects, rather thin on the intellectual front.

Guy, I like reading your articles but this comment in particular makes me think your a total wanker.

You should know better and If you probe around your journo ‘intellectual’ mates you might be surprised who was a student politician and community activist.

Crikey prides itself ongreat journalism.

I want to get my bearings after the election, not this opinionated bullshit.

purcell garry
Member
Gaz Botswanna bob is on the money. The rot begins and ends with the Nsw right. Three decades ago the party was invaded by the self serving careerists with third rate economics degrees, black suits, shaved heads, sunnies and phones jammed in their ears; the likes of Bitar and Arbib; know nothings whose only aim was to be parachuted into a safe seat. In the 80’s and 90’s they were behind the Hawke/Keating sell offs; in the noughties they surrounded Carr and his feeble successors with all sorts of attacks on the public domain. Eventually they emerged as the dead… Read more »
PK93
Member

“Cpobke, demonising the ‘other’ is becoming a staple of Rundle’s work, for example his immediate tarring of the shooter of several people in France as a Right Wing Extremist ™, despite having absolutely nothing more to work from than his own prejudices.”

I think you’ve nailed it there “despite having nothing more to work from than his own prejudices.

Problem with these sanctimonious fools on the left is that they are far from harmless. They are ultimatley un-examined egoists who provide fodder for their reactionary opposites.

James K
Member
CliffG – spot on. Susanne Blake – crazy exaggurations with no arguments, as always. Down and out in Saigon – what planet are you living on? Are you really going to argue that the Liberals will NOT continue to privatise govt assets in Qld??? Okay… heres a deal: when they do sell off the next item, will you publically acknowledge how they are doing that? Will you help convince others to vote against them because of that scandalous behaviour!? After all they have not promised to sell off anything. If they do… they are …. not quite backflipping… but …… Read more »
Crocodile Chuck
Member

The parties in the United States and Australia are some of the oldest on Earth-and the most irrelevant. Let Labour die-it stands for nothing, and faces its existential crisis.

I’m a fiscal conservative, a libertarian as regards personal behaviour, and a strong green when it comes to the environment (and, ‘inter-generational equity’)

What is the party for me?

To ask the question is to answer it.

Let a thousand flowers bloom!

Jimmy
Member

PK93 – The other interesting thing is that critics have been saying the Qld result shows voters won’t accept leaders who li ed to them, yet Howard got away with his “non core promises” and Abbott clearly won’t/can’t keep hte majority of his. It is the fact that the “shamelessly the gutless, spineless, careerist print and tv journos” are so unwilling to prosecute Abbott for his statements that makes this an issue.

calyptorhynchus
Member

You seem oddly disturbed by the events in Qld and still emotionally wedded to Labor.

As someone who has never been a Labor supporter I support the Greens on all occasions, whilst still recognising that they have not yet realised the gravity of the ecological crisis (they still think its possible to have growth, bless ’em).

In the even more deluded world of two (right-wing) party dictatorship we live in I, naturally, prefer the Labor Party to be in power because of the two it is slightly less right-wing.

CliffG
Member

Abbott’s no Hitler, I hope, but Germany allowed an elected leader to “fill in all the blanks once he was in”. It’s mighty risky!

Coaltopia
Member

Yes Calyptorhynchus, it really is about “less worse” option isn’t it?

Schnappi
Member

Well put CLIFFG,
Cannot see abbott lasting the next 17 months,he has wasted parliaments time,and is not only looking unhinged,but is acting like someone who has lost the plot.His latest apology was insincere as one would ever see,know many liberals who will vote for anything but abbott,also seeing others say this over a lot of the internet.

Michael de Angelos
Member
Labor is still a good brand despite moving to the right (but not nearly as much as elsewhere around the world) and Ludwig is correct. Not only has Gillard had a hell of a time as PM and the way in which she got the job, as though Fraser’s takeover or Abbott’s turfing of Turnbull by a mere one vote are acceptable-she has worn a cross of being a woman and that is, no matter what we are told, a typical Australian chauvinistic trait. Combined with a rampant media that now demands, absolutely demands that politicians court it’s patronage. Not… Read more »
CliffG
Member
Garry Purcell you surely don’t believe the Liberal Party or the National Party don’t have backroom aparatchiks, do you? Why does Nick Minchin pop up from time to time, Peter Reith, Morris, Textor, etc and then there are the many whose names we don’t know or hear. “Labor’s faceless men” is a meaningless cliche in politics 2012. Go read David Marr’s “Quarterly Essay” on Rudd when he was deposed and it was much more than aparatchiks. He was in disarray. Not to have removed him would have been a catastrophe for the country. And do a quick mental comparison between… Read more »
Schnappi
Member

In support of JAMES K ,newman has appointed as director of the premiers dept,grayson who is known as a government sales expert

Jimmy
Member

Cliffg- It’s not a risk I am willing to take but it seems many voter like to leave the thinking to Bo. lt and co.

Schnappi – There is still hope, especially if people start looking at his policies and they realise the Mining & Carbon taxes aren’t bad at all.

PK93 – See Calyptorynchus for further evidence.

mikeb
Member

@Cliff – absolutely spot on. I’m convinced that no matter what Labor achieves between now & the election will be ignored by the media because it’s much more interesting to talk about perceived failures rather than tangible successes.

What does Abbott represent? The power at all costs, trash the country if required attitude that is par for the course in the grand ol’ U. S of A.

I’ve got no idea of what the cause of Labors problems in QLD were but suspect that all Labor will be put into the same basket.

michael crook
Member
Privatisation was definitely the main factor in the ALP loss. Helped by a very strong very early campaign led by the ETU (see Queensland first before Bligh sells it), with corflutes and bumper stickers, it was a campaign that sealed the fate of the Bligh government long before polling day. I do not think that Bligh initiated the privatisation or believed in it, she just knew that if she wanted the job she had to do what the Ludwig controlled AWU faction wanted. That is where the real power lies. For 20 years a so called union with more interest… Read more »
Flowenswell
Member
CHPOWELL is absolutely right. There isn’t nearly enough diversity or competition in Autralian electoral politics. The very idea that a minority government is somehow unworkable or dysfunctional goes a long way to showing how complacent the two major parties, (and particularly the political commentariat in regard to analysis) have become in terms of policy-making and governing. It’s true that Abbott probably doesn’t need to esatablish a decent policy platform in order to very likely win the next election. He can rely on a typically two dimensional analysis from the media to render the only other viable government as useless and… Read more »
paddy
Member

I’m normally a huge fan of your writing Guy.
But this piece of confused mayhem reads more like an ad for Red Bull than a coherent article.
Needs less fast stuff and more blue pencil mate.

Edward James
Member
Labor with some determination is on the way to being broken up. The party members have been doing as much damage to the political party as the party has been doing to the Australia. The LNP was the best tool to sweep as much Labor dead wood from Queensland as possible. The voting public know what they werte doing. They were sending a message to elected representatives generally stop lying to us stop abusing your trusted positions, and start exercising your influence in the best interest of you constituents. What is being done to Labor nationnally can just as easly… Read more »
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