I can’t say I’m eager to say anything positive about Kim Beazley after the fiasco of 2001, but I have to agree with what he has to say here and with the unstated message that it’s time to dump Simon Crean as Labor leader. Beazley attacks the last round of tax cuts, endorsed by Crean, and Crean’s promise not to increase the Medicare levy. (I haven’t been able to confirm the existence of this promise, but it’s implied in various press reports)
Having said that, I don’t retract my endorsement of the Caucus decision to reject Beazley’s leadership challenge. Beazley had the chance to put his thoughts into practice in 2001 and he squibbed it. Not only did he not propose an increase in the Medicare levy, he even vetoed any change to the absurd tax subsidy to private health insurance.
After beating off Beazley’s challenge, Crean needed to get off the fence as far as tax and public spending is concerned but he’s failed to do so. As a result, he remains a purely negative figure as far as the Australian public is concerned. In effect, he’s reproduced Beazley’s small target strategy.
So I’ll modify the ABC (Anybody But Crean) view, and say that Labor should go for ABCEB (Anybody But Crean, Except Beazley).