Menu lock

Comments & corrections

Sep 16, 2013

Labor’s moral victory

Crikey writers talk Bandt's Greenstown, how western Sydney was saved and what's to like about Labor.

Western drama

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “The landslide that wasn’t: how Labor kept its Sydney heartland” (Friday). As a resident of Sydney’s notorious west, I think your analysis of why Labor held this heartland misses several key points.  Notably, it overlooks the Liberal victory in Reid. However, the most glaring error is Angelo Risso’s assertion that Labor “needn’t have worried”.  On the contrary, fear of a rout ensured the party fought hard.  In particular, the ALP targeted migrant groups. This extended to making phone calls in Mandarin to voters merely because they had Chinese surnames, risking alienating people whose primary language was English or Cantonese or something else. Labor even recruited students from China as campaign workers. In contrast, Andrew Nguyen, the Liberal candidate for Fowler, complained that Tony Abbott gave him the cold shoulder. Of course, it is hard to advocate “stopping the boats” standing next to one of the original boat people from Vietnam.

In addition, Labor had some good candidates. Julie Owens in Parramatta, for instance, has campaigned tirelessly for three years. The Liberals have limited local branches, which give them slim pickings when they try to find candidates. In western Sydney they ended up with businesspeople, or the children of businesspeople, with little political knowledge and skills. And this is how the west was not won.

Plenty to like about the ALP

David Edmunds writes: Re. “Don’t blame Abbott — the Left loves to lose” (Friday). Jane Caro poses the question at the end of her piece on Friday apropos the ALP: “What’s to like?”

The answer is: the response to the GFC, including the schools expenditure, the huge increase in infrastructure expenditure, the whole education project including the accountability measures encompassed in the My Schools project, the NBN, paid parental leave, the carbon price, the minerals tax, the additional health expenditure including mental health, and the NDIS, just for starters. That is not bad under the cloud of the GFC in just six years.

I agree with her dislike of the asylum seekers policies, but have yet to hear a better idea, and they certainly tried quite a few.

Her critique based on the salesmanship of the ALP is, I think, unfair. All political explanations rely on the media to explain what is going on. Progressive political parties will always have difficulty, as the establishment media invariably fails to present new ideas in a sensible context, and this was particularly evident over the last few years.

The criticism of the ALP for scurrying away from the great moral challenge is also unfair. The policy was predicated on being part of world action, and in any event a modified policy was implemented later, albeit messily, but in accordance with the policy statements made by the prime minister in the lead-up to the 2010 election.

The test of ideas is the extent to which they become part of the fabric of our society. Caro claims the Liberals fought for their ideas and they won. They actually went to the election with the whole suite of ALP policies, even including the maintenance of a deficit in the medium term. There were just two exceptions, the ETS and minerals tax, and they did not fight on these policies, but rather on the idea of competence  To the best of my knowledge they introduced no new ideas, simply gutted some Labor policies and accepted some without amendment.

As a progressive government the ALP did all right, and perhaps would still be there if not for the Rudd influence.

Postcards from Greenstown

Robert Darroch writes: Re. “Bandt’s Greenstown, the last hipster holdout in our dystopia” (Friday). Bravo, Mel Campbell. A very good piece — refreshingly so. More, please

We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola

1 comments

Leave a comment

One thought on “Labor’s moral victory

  1. CML

    @ David Edmonds – You were doing very well until your last sentence! Joel Fitzgibbon on The Insiders yesterday nailed it:
    1. The destabilization of the Labor Party started in June, 2010 with the sacking of Kevin Rudd;
    2. The so-called destabilization since that time, attributed to Rudd was a beat-up. Everyone in the party was doing their bit, not just Rudd. When Barrie Cassidy hectored Fitzgibbon about ‘three journalists who have already admitted they had been back-grounded by Rudd’, Fitzy asked who they were. All from Murdoch’s biased lot, it seems, and I believe nothing that comes out of the Murdoch press;
    3. Rudd’s ‘influence’ has been acknowledged by the current parliamentary party as positive. According to Fitzy again, there were perhaps up to twenty MPs at the caucus meeting last Friday, who were adamant they would not have been there without Rudd’s return to the leadership and subsequent election campaign. He talked of the Labor Party’s private polling, as well as that in the public domain;
    4. Finally, what you didn’t say about the the first ETS scheme introduced when Rudd was PM, is that it was twice rejected in the Senate by both the GREENS & THE COALITION. The Greens, in particular, were a disgrace over this issue, as I believe it should have been introduced and amended over time, just as the current one has been. Now we are headed for repeal of the legislation – all because the MSM, and especially Murdoch, never wanted it to happen. So, they set about destroying the person who made that statement you quoted: Climate change is ‘the greatest moral challenge of our time’. It seems they did a good job convincing you, and many others on these blogs.
    Fools all!