The myth of Rudd’s execution

Niall Clugston writes: Re. editorial (yesterday). Calling Kevin Rudd’s removal an “execution”, as your editorial does, is false. The fact is Rudd himself called a leadership spill and then didn’t even stand. It was really yet another instance of the weak character of federal Labor, which is most amply exemplified by the mining tax fiasco.

Let’s not forget that the original respected RSPT was not ALP policy, but Treasury policy. The government defended it by putting out a video of a Powerpoint presentation. They were effectively defeated by mining magnate Andrew Forrest wearing a fluorescent workshirt.

The watered-down version has churned up this wishy-washy government, but now when the froth has drained away it has left not a single grain of gold in the prospector’s pan. And that’s really the story of federal Labor, whether following Rudd or Gillard.

ACT election aftermath

Martin Gordon writes: Re. “Bad blood sees Labor well-placed to win the ACT” (Wednesday). There is no great divide in Canberra contrary to what Katy Gallagher says. The reality is that the outer suburbs are like outer suburbs elsewhere in Australia, with higher Liberal and ALP votes, and much lower Green votes. The Green vote is heavily concentrated in the inner north, and slightly higher in more affluent inner suburbs. There are several suburbs where the Motorists Party outpolled the Greens. The high Liberal vote in Tuggeranong has parallels in Gungahlin too, just as it did in 2004 federally where economic issues were major issues.

One expects some jostling over percentages and so on. But based on trends in later votes it is more likely the largest party in vote terms will be the Canberra Liberals. Possibly also the largest party in seats terms, but the highest Labor total is potentially eight and lowest seven. The Greens will have one or two. That Green total could be or include Caroline Le Couteur. The “so-called progressive vote” has shrunk below 50% too.

Whilst there is an assumption that the ALP and Greens will combine, there are precedents for otherwise. Whilst the Liberal and Greens have different priorities, they are not in competition for the same voters as the Greens and ALP are. If the Greens merely always want to pair up with Labor the ALP has no incentive to offer anything to them, and the Greens won’t be able to deliver much either. Longer term if the Greens are seen as an appendage of the ALP people will question why they should support the Greens at all. Lastly the influence of the Greens only matters if their vote can deliver a result opposed by the other major party. The more the major parties cooperate on, the less scope the Greens have to influence anything.

In 2008 Senator Bob Brown urged the Greens to take the offer of ministries with the Liberals in the ACT. In 2012 (with only one member) shutting the door makes even less sense.

We need to define bullying

Gavin Greenoak writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday). Bullying used to be the delight a big person enjoys in the infliction of pain on a smaller person. But this term “bullying” seems now to extend to anyone who does not suffer fools gladly, or has to raise his or her voice when for the fifth time the meaning of a principle must be stated against interests which would corrupt it.

Sometimes, “the tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction” (William Blake), and I am sure that the Crikey readership would benefit from a dedicated piece on what this term now means in a variety of contexts.

Clarke and Dawe to get shown the door?

D. Taylor writes: Re. “ABC satire duo to be shown the Clarke and Dawe?” (yesterday). It’s outrageous! Fancy dropping Clarke and Dawe! Sally Neighbour is likely to cop some un- neighbourly comments from regular ABC viewers if she goes ahead and drops them.

Clark and Dawe are critical of both sides of politics — so there’s no likely claim of “political bias”. What is she thinking of? One wonders whether the “right wing” on the ABC Board is flexing its muscles — or some of the spineless staff are bending before the wind of a possible Abbott government tsunami of cut backs and sackings!

Peter Fray

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