Feb 15, 2013

Keane’s week in review: damnation, despair in Labor’s ranks

Labor has begun the parliamentary year poorly, and many backbenchers are in despair at their chances later this year.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

A mood of despair seemed to settle over Labor’s parliamentary ranks this week. It could be sensed last week, but it got worse and worse as this week went on. The government is back to where it was before its, and Julia Gillard’s, mild recovery late last year.

That recovery was well-earned. There were no tactical ploys, like luring Peter Slipper into the Speakership at the end of 2011. It was obtained from the smooth introduction of the carbon price, from fewer mistakes by Labor, from a more authentic performance from Julia Gillard and from effective targeting of Tony Abbott.

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23 thoughts on “Keane’s week in review: damnation, despair in Labor’s ranks

  1. Gavin Moodie

    It is now evident that just replacing Gillard with Rudd wont do, since Swan is mediocre and key to Labor’s performance. Yes, Rudd has criticised Swan, but it was Rudd who appointed Swan Treasurer while claiming that he would choose his own Cabinet without direction from the factions.

    So Rudd will have to organise a team – difficult for someone who clearly isn’t a ‘team player’ – including at least a replacement Treasurer and possibly also a replacement Deputy.

  2. klewso

    Modern Labor seems to have no narrative beyong “What would Rupert say?”

  3. John Bennetts

    “…a cross on which to nail their opponents.”

    Yes, Easter is close, but we could do without this particular cliche’d reminder.

  4. Steve777

    I see Malcomn Turnbull is talking up a Rudd comeback. He obviously doesn’t think that restoring Kevin Rudd to the Prime Ministership will help Government, so it is amazing that anyone on the Goverment benches still thinks it would.

  5. David Allen

    Steve, perhaps if KR was resurrected (Sorry John) Turnbull might anticipate he’d instantly become odds on favourite to beat Abbott. The Libs would then panic, reinstall Malcolm, and we’d get our dream match.

  6. JMNO

    You are right, Bernard. what I don’t understand is why Labor doesn’t seem to have any staff who can write a decent narrative for them. There would be plenty of takers for the job(s). The Libs have been much more savvy media performers.

    And this is asking for comment from Gavin Moodie: why do you think Swan is mediocre? I know he is a poor media performer and talks in technocratese which is a turn-off. But do you think he has not been a good treasurer?

  7. klewso

    At the moment Priority 1 amongst Coal-ition and fallow travellers is “Divide and conquor”. When he was PM and leader they hated him and did everything they could to drag him down – now, they can use him, he’s “poor wounded Kev”?
    Labor doesn’t help it’s cause at all being rudderless – and Rudd is only two thirds of one of those.

  8. The Pav

    I really struggle with the concept that press gallery has any capacity for menaingful comment given an inability to understand the electorate.

    The Mysogonu Speech’ was totally underated and sent all the oundits scrambling to justify their mistake and now they say the early poll call was a disaster which is again at odds with the polling.

    Could the media just report the facts and not confect stories of crisis/leadership challenges etc.

    It seems the media wants to make the news and be the news instead of doing its job. If you wantto be the news quit reporting and stand for parliament but i=until then just report

  9. Gavin Moodie

    I think Swan’s performance as Treasurer has been very mixed. A+ for the response to the global financial crisis. I don’t know his responsibility for the mining tax marks 1 and 2, so I set that aside. But his handling of the budget surplus has been poor over several months.

  10. CML

    I think if they reinstalled Kevin Rudd, he should put a front-end loader through the existing ministry, only saving those who are good performers in lesser roles.
    How about Anthony Albanese, Chris Bowen, Jason Clare, David Bradbury, Tanya Plibersek, Mike Kelly, Greg Combet and possibly, Bill Shorten? That’s just a quick wish-list. I’m sure there must be others on the backbench who would make a better fist of things than the likes of Wayne Swan et al!

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