After what can be aptly described as the most self-destructive episode in the history of the Australian Labor Party – and yes, I say this even considering the splits of 1917, the 1930s, and 1950s – Labor is now electing its new parliamentary leader writes Michael Smyth
However for the first time in its history it is allowing its rank-and-file members a direct vote. 50% of the vote will be comprised of the caucus, and the other 50% will be comprised of rank-and-file members. The reforms that led to this may be referred to as a parting shot at the ALP, or mischief, by a nihilistic Kevin Rudd, intent on making them pay for his humiliation at the hands of Julia Gillard.
This may also be cynically called for what it is; window dressing designed to shield the fact that the ALP rank-and-file do not have direct preselections, and are still beholden to the factions. It does provide the ALP with a rare chance to return to its roots and begin being a party that stands for something other than professional hacks with little or no real life experience outside a staffer’s office, or the union movement.
In August last year I attended a talk by Tony Abbott in Sydney. Aside from the snappy sound bite for the evening news, Abbott settles from an evasive and indecisive stutterer to a rather smooth orator certainly on top of his game. That surprised me and prompted the column: Abbott—more than a 10-second news clip.
Abbott’s deliberation was a likely safeguard to avoid the relentless and spiteful attacks upon his character in parliament by an orchestrated chorus of shrill fishwives and other rusted-on Laborites. Even the Coalition’s resounding victory has done nothing to stop the new opposition’s dog-tired assault upon the man who caused them to haemorrhage so profusely at the polling booth.
Just a day or two after the election, Labor resumed blame upon Abbott for more illegal boat arrivals and has continued to do so confirming an inability to recognise the failed tactic that damaged them so badly. The matter that those boats were already en route during Rudd’s reign exemplifies Labor’s disconnect from reality.
In the few short days since Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister for a second time, it has become clear that nothing has changed.
Once again Kevin Rudd is announcing grandiose plans, but without setting out any details – and he is again obsessing with political games and machinations, rather than getting on and governing in the interests of the Australian people.
If Mr Rudd is serious about fixing up Labor’s failures before the election, then he needs to do the following:
You can give it a slick paint-job, put a fake foxtail on the antenna, but beneath the dazzle remains the same old oil-burning, rusted-out, un-roadworthy clunker destined to inflict cost and heartbreak. A wreck is a wreck.
We must be the silliest country in the Western World. Kevin Rudd, the worst prime minister in Australia’s political history who was ousted by his deputy Julia Gillard and more than half the cabinet having caused “Labor to lose its way” has been reinstalled by ousting the absolute worst prime minister in the nation’s political history. Isn’t there supposed to be a lesson learned? Don’t we go to school to learn what is smart and what it dumb?
This mess will occupy government all the way to the election, whenever that may be. I, like many concerned Australians, want to know who in hell is running the country while this rabble called government is totally embroiled in self destruction?
Meanwhile, illegal immigrants step up their rush, the debt mounts uncontrollably and the unions are the recipients of unprecedented legislation giving them rights to intrude into any business house, factory or private entity at will.
Too many people believe Tony Abbott is a wishy-washy leader. Now, is his chance to show himself as a forceful contender who means business. Only lefties and bludgers will whine.
Perhaps Malcolm Turnbull’s self-appraisal sets him distant, if not at odds with his Party colleagues? Maybe he views them as less sharp and less accomplished in commerce by comparison? Undeniable, however, is his unrelenting quest for success—Turnbull style.
Malcolm’s form has a repeating factor—what he wants and who he wants to be is variable. The goal posts are movable. Hardly the cohesiveness and consistency suited for political policy and the Me, before Us presents as a constant in the man’s character.
Where would Malcolm be today had Kerry Packer not leapfrogged his legal career to various boardrooms of mercantile moguls? Turnbull showed his appreciation by dumping on Packer over a business deal in 1991. Acrimony between the two was palpable.
Turnbull later told Sydney newspapers that, “He [Packer] did threaten to kill me. And I said to him: ‘Well, you'd better make sure that your assassin gets me first because if he misses, you better know I won't miss you.’ He could be a complete pig, you know. He could charm the birds out of the tree, but he could be a brute.”
Turnbull re-launches campaign for Australian Republic
It's been more than a decade since the Republican movement was defeated at a referendum, but now a revival is underway to put a Republic back on the national agenda. This time around Australia's Republicans, including Senior Liberal Malcolm Turnbull, have vowed to engage with the public.
Two musty old parties that boredom and disinterest has rendered indistinguishable in many ways. Such is the sorry state of politics in Australia caused by what is essentially a two-horse race. Horses too haggard for the glue factory.
The remedy is simple but to date unachievable. A few parties have tried to break the vice-like grip held on the levers of power so long held by the Labor and Liberal duo. The Democrats, One Nation, and the Greens were the more recent contenders, only the Greens have survived—for now—for what?
The two major parties are like old furniture, they don’t take kindly to being moved or threatened by an interloper to their patch. In fact, Labor/Liberal, supposed political enemies by nature, will unite in villainy should their positions be threatened by an outsider. Their sense of entitlement has become a genetic imprint.
This assumed inheritance is also a savagely protected right to the taxpayers’ purse and the only change tolerated, reluctantly, is a parliamentary swap from one side of the house to the other. Either way, salaries, pensions, and perks are assured.