Putting Labor back together again

Roger Kelly writes: Re. “Leadership is a distraction, Labor is broken” (yesterday). I have, over recent years, been constantly appalled by the commercial press (and occasionally Crikey) contributing to the “Hate the government” diatribe, delivering an unceasing torrent of opinion-as-news. In my life, I have never seen such a willing and acid campaign as a matter of degree. It can’t have escaped the writers, mimicking each other, that this could legally be called subversive. When does it cross the line and what is the definition of sedition? As far as I know it still exists, while fair-and-balanced fades beneath competitive sensationalism.

Having said that, I maintain that Labor needed to hear what Bernard Keane said — pretty much all of it was on topic and target. However it should probably have shown some deference to the fact that Labor has been governing from a minority position in both houses and yet has achieved. I feel that had they held a stronger position, they would at least have room for a battleground addressing some of these badly needed reformist issues.  They have had very little freeboard for navigating any reform under constant fire. Our Prime Minister has to take cover if she wears glasses!?

The fair question is would they have done it?

Matthew Broadbent writes: Can we just please acknowledge that it is far harder for a party trying to strive for a balance between business, labour and the environment, such as the Labor Party?

It is a much simpler and easier message to sell when you are at one extreme, for example the Liberals (smaller government, lower taxes, less intervention, fewer environmental regulations, whatever they are currently, it should be smaller/less). Labor is not broken, but it is far harder to sell a message of balance, particularly in a media environment that is so concentrated and pro-Liberal. To suggest Labor is broken, stands for nothing and has done all it needs to do is juvenile. You only have to look at what the far Right of this political landscape are proposing to know that there is a mountain of work to do just holding on to gains over the past 50 years, let alone confront the policy challenges of climate change, an ageing population and eroding taxation bases just to name a few.

Kevin Conway writes: Bernard Keane is wrong, the Labor party is not broken.

As has happened many times over the years, the Labor Party must go through a renewal. It happened during the late teens when the party split over conscription. Many deserted and went to the conservative side. The party drew on policies for the common man and moved forward. Again in the 1950s the party was rent asunder by the split with the DLP/QLP. The party spent time in the wilderness until the late ’60s when again under Whitlam the party came together under policies that were progressive and in tune with the times.

Now the party along with the Liberal Party is affected by professional politicians who are not good communicators. There are plenty of members who are, people like Doug Cameron, Bob Carr, Claire Moore, Graham Perrett. The party is going  through a transformation as we speak. Thousands of members have linked into a variety of party websites supporting the Bracks Carr Faulkner democratic reviews. Nationally the party has adopted many of the recommendations and the pressure is on for more changes.

As before the Labor Party is going through a transformation and will come out of this stronger and more attuned to the public needs. Community feedback indicates that Labor may be back in Queensland sooner rather than later as constant objections to the slash and burn policies of the Newman government hit home at the heart of ordinary Australians.

Peter Matters writes: Labour RIP or Lazarus? >Independent journalists do not help their cause by repeating the Tony Abbott-Rupert Murdoch ditty like a needle stuck on a groove in a vinyl record.

We all know the government’s mistakes — Abbott and Murdoch made sure of that. However, by Abbott’s obsessive, malicious harping combined with Murdoch’s spin being — as usual — effective, the electorate has been very successfully brainwashed and the polls confirm it.

Spin and abuse aside, facts will confirm, that while Julia Gillard was pitchforked into the Prime Ministership without preparation, was subjected to unparalleled abuse and generally faced difficulties incomparably more brutal than any other Prime Minister in our history, she — a mere woman — and her government actually performed much better in Parliament, legislation and administration than anybody had any right to expect.

Now, if Gillard can be persuaded to attack the Abbott-Murdoch axis with all guns blazing as well as pointing to her genuine achievements, she will call their bluff and the 15% advantage, i.e., an 8% swing,  will disappear within one week, the government will be re-elected and the Labor Caucus, who are at the moment running around like a mob of sheep being chased by a pair of nasty sheep dogs long past their best, will suddenly recover their humanity.

Roy Ramage writes: It is abundantly clear that all sense of responsibility has left the Labor Party. Just when we need our elected members to put their shoulders to the wheel and don the increasing responsibilities of public life, we get this collective bout of orifice gazing. The burden of responsibility includes politicians, multinationals and bankers. However our growing disdain for such people is easily earned as they are so consistently, predictably and multi-dimensionally useless. When all else fails — write a book. Who the hell is going to read it?

Lucy Sussex writes: Several days ago I was merrily commenting that if some saurian monster ate the entire Canberra Press Gallery, would anyone notice? I stick with my opinion, though it would probably be unkind to the saurian monster concerned, unless it followed with a chaser of Mylanta.

Peter Fray

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