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Let’s get this show back on the road

January 30th, 2012

Looking at the latest TV news I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I’m sick of the confected outrage surrounding the Australia Day incident. On the other hand, if this is what it takes to make the Labor Party realise they have to go back to Kevin Rudd, and sooner rather than later, then I suppose I can live with it.

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  1. BilB
    February 3rd, 2012 at 11:05 | #1

    Socrates,

    You are failing to remember that as an election approaches the poll numbers for parties draw closer together. As people focus there minds on the future their real values come through and the midterm expressions of disenchantment fade away.

    The reality is that Abbott has not got a snowballs chance in hell of winning an election. he has fired all of his shots already, every one of them a negativity message for which the Australian public have had a gutful. The Coalition, our very own Slitherin, should be dumping Abbott now to have a shot at government, but they will not. So Australia’s Crab and Goyle will face the electorate in the coming contest.

    I’ve said it many times, the best management team from the current stock of politicians would be Christine Milne and Julia Gillard working together. Kevin Rudd is indeed a powerful performer, but he just does not inspire, and in today’s political world where the media have such a biased influence (and the possibility that the SMH may take on an entirely new complexion) inspiration, wit, and dogged tenacity are everything.

    Julia Gillard’s approach has done a spectacular job making real policy progress in the most hostile of political environments, and she has grown politically in the process. Yes there have been missteps, but nothing of any real consequence in a global sense, pokie reform aside.

    Labour will win this next election comfortably, and Kevin Rudd’s team support will be a very large part of that success, as he well knows and is worthy of great respect for his understanding.

  2. socrates
    February 3rd, 2012 at 12:49 | #2

    BilB

    I am fully aware of debates about “the narrowing”. I would still observe there are many counter arguments. Leaders rarely survive negative opinion polls about their own popularity as bad as Gillard’s are now. In a sense, it is only Abbott’s own polarising nature and quite poor personal popularity that sees Labor as close as it is.

    I am not anti-Green, so have no objections to a Milne-Gillard alliance, but I fail to see how that changs the overall equation. it is difficult for the Greens to win in the lower house, so if Labors 2PP number remains 46 or worse, they are sure to lose. I hope I am wrong, but I fear not.

    As for Abbott, neither you, I, nor many of the posters on this blog like him. He is an antagonistic religeous zealot. Yet reliable polls still say he will be Australia’s next PM, unless things change. I think a significant number of people do NOT think that much about who they vote for, which is why it pays to spend in election campaigns. It only takes a 5% shift to change the result.

    I am not trying to sound like a “fan” of Rudd. I am just trying to look realistically at the evidence of their performance as both leaders and election campaigners. The evidence says the people of Australia prefer Rudd to Gillard on both counts.

    I won’t try to debate you about Gillard’s personal nature but, in my view, while tactically skillful, she has turned out to be a far less socially progressive leader than I had hoped.

  3. Alan
    February 3rd, 2012 at 13:41 | #3

    The narrowing is a myth. We heard about how the narrowing would leap on its white charger and ride to Howard’s salvation from the time Rudd became opposition leader until the day he was elected prime minister. This happy event existed only in the minds of Howard’s friends in the media. It showed no sign of ever turning up in a poll or in the election.

    Now we have another embattled conservative prime minister (I chose that adjective carefully) and the best her advocates can come up with is peering over the horizon and listening hopefully for the sound of hooves drumming on the highway.

    We were told that Gillard’s electoral standing would improve when the carbon bill was announced, when the carbon bill details were announced, when the carbon bill was passed and on other occasions too numerous to remember. It is not going to happen. Keeping Gillard leader is a surefire way to make Abbot prime minister. I will be fascinated if anyone can come up with a progressive justification for that.

  4. BilB
    February 3rd, 2012 at 14:37 | #4

    This

    “conservative prime minister ”

    amuses me greatly. I can remember when critics attempting prevent Gillard obtaining the leadership were calling her an ultra left winger, near communist.

    I think Alan you are forgetting how low the polling suggested before the carbon bill’s passing.

    I think that there is a lot of highly selective memory going on here. Tony Abbott relies on people having shocking memories. That is the only thing working in his favour.

  5. Alan
    February 3rd, 2012 at 14:49 | #5

    I am not trying to be amusing.

    Gillard identifies herself as cultural traditionalist and that is her justification for opposing marriage equality. Her economic policy largely consists of returning to surplus because, well, because. Her education policy consists exclusively of test scores and ever greater bureaucratic supervision of schools and universities. Ditto the welfare policy, particularly as it effects indigenous people. She has maintained the Intervention and is trialling extending its strictures to welfare recipients generally. She opposed the carbon legislation as a Rudd minister and proceeded with it only as the price of green/independent support in the house.

    In foreign policy Gillard is probably the most pro-American prime minister since Harold Holt from issues like Afghanistan to Wikileaks to agreeing to US military basing in the Northern Territory. Her approach to refugees consists largely of asking what’s the fuss with Malaysia’s habit of caning its citizens for any number of victimless crimes including homosexual acts and purely religious offences.

    This is the picture of someone who is either deeply conservative or so pragmatic as to lack any moral compass.

  6. February 3rd, 2012 at 15:54 | #6

    You overcome that “deeply conservative” bit by going back to Kevin?

  7. Alan
    February 3rd, 2012 at 16:29 | #7

    On all those issues except marriage equality Rudd ranges from somewhat to a long way to Gillard’s left. I’d prefer a candidate like Whitlam or Dunstan but the caucus does not have a lot of people like that anymore. While Rudd may be personally autocratic (although all prime ministers are, at least to some extent) but he does not have Gillard’s authoritarian streak. And he would have a chance of winning the election.

  8. alfred venison
    February 3rd, 2012 at 18:03 | #8

    dear Alan
    for what its worth, i agree with you completely. i’ve said my two-bits about gillard earlier so i’ll just note here that imo people who reckon she’s a raving socialist are either (1) lying, or (2) don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  9. February 3rd, 2012 at 18:38 | #9

    Wow. Laura Tingle notes:

    “The debate now is whether you can go back to Kevin and not have a walkout,” a senior figure says, ar­guing a number of MPs would resign from the frontbench, or even resign from Parliament rather than work with the Queenslander again. “You have to understand that moving to Kevin means instantaneous election. The only way Kevin is going to keep people in line is with an election campaign.”

    So the threat of an early election is now being waved in front of MPs who have quietly withdrawn from Gillard’s camp but can’t commit themselves to Rudd.

    http://afr.com/p/national/desperate_labor_mps_turning_against_6WlIZxAGKfSHAXWLoI9nzL

    For all of those who say “So Kevin was a bit autocratic, but aren’t they all..” just don’t seem to take seriously how intensely many feel about how what it was like to work for Rudd.

    The Tingle source supports my claim – a Rudd re-installation is going to be like the Peacock – Howard personality based power wars for the next few years, especially with Labor losing a quick Rudd led election. It would be a Labor disaster.

    Or: I could be wrong…

  10. February 3rd, 2012 at 19:30 | #10

    Well put, Alan, with one slight technical disagreement.

    The PM isn’t a “conservative” she’s a “neo-conservative”.

    So was Howard. So is Rudd, Abbott, and most of both front benches. So is Obama.

    Any amount of hair-splitting doesn’t change that. This is a problem of a failed, dangerous and discredited ideology which has a tight control over our political class (ie: major parties and media), and the UK and US too.

  11. Alan
    February 4th, 2012 at 00:06 | #11

    In the dying days of the Hawke leadership a number of MPs were alleged to be ready to leave the parliament rather than work with Keating. None did. Ditto the dying days of the Hayden leadership. Ditto, weirdly enough, the dying days of the Calwell leadership.

    If the best argument to keep you leader is ‘I’ll push the big red button if you don’t', you are in very deep doodoo. And consider the actual argument ‘Kevin is such an autocrat that I will destroy the Labor government if you don’t keep me as leader’. Slight contradiction perhaps?

  12. Alan
    February 4th, 2012 at 05:39 | #12

    Philip Carney doesn’t seem nearly as impressed by the Labor grandi elettori insisting that Rudd has two heads and fangs.

    But the most powerful poll result came when the Herald-Nielsen pollsters asked people how they’d vote if Gillard were replaced with Rudd. The effect was dramatic – it would have lifted Labor’s primary vote by 15 percentage points, putting Labor in a commanding lead and transforming politics.

    and:

    But over the summer break, caucus support for Gillard has crumbled from within. Rudd has done nothing to assist. Indeed, he’s been out of the country for most of the time and pledging loyalty to Gillard for the rest. So it’s entirely Gillard’s own work.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/every-which-way-its-rudd-20120203-1qxlh.html#ixzz1lLhVYPoc

    15% shows the transforming power of education in how silly the Julia forever crowd really are. Hartcher also notes that all the third candidates together do not enjoy as much electoral support os Gillard, let alone Rudd. NSW Labor burned through two future leaders in a single term. Does anyone really want Shorten to go the same way?

  13. Donald Oats
    February 4th, 2012 at 15:56 | #13

    The leadership duo that I reckon would be brilliant is Greg Combet for PM and Christine Milne as deputy, or vice versa. It won’t happen in my lifetime, but I reckon it would be a damn interesting combination. Both of them are highly capable individuals, and both of them can mount a sustained rational argument for the party’s causes. Both are capable of extending their debates beyond the now standard “He said, She said…” form of debate enshrined by modern media journalism. Even where I disagree with them, I can at least appreciate the merits of their arguments—when journos allow them the latitude to provide an argument in the first place!

    Kevin `Rewind’ Rudd as the PM could have worked under a double dissolution way back when the CPRS was being blocked by the dunderheads on the opposition benches, but I have very little faith in his capacity to hold a team together in the current situation. Too many MPs will spook, and subsequently run spoilers in the media. Rudd showed promise in the initial instance, but Rudd and the front bench failed to take tough decisions where it mattered; another Rudd mis-calculation was the hiring of ex-Liberals for plum posts in the sadly mistaken impression that they would play fair. The Liberal MP Alexander Downer was a great beneficiary of Rudd generosity: one look at Alex Downer’s regular op-pieces in The Advertiser newspaper, and you can see that naked animosity and antipathy are genetically ingrained traits for neo-con politicians.

    A look at people, such as John Hewson (ex opposition Liberal coalition leader around ’93, facing a Keating-led ALP government), demonstrates that vitriol towards all ALP politicians is not an essential trait for Liberals; some Liberals are capable of political analysis without childish spite in situations where a non-Liberal politician is involved. I’ve heard Hewson provide insight into various issues, and while he will occasionally give a lashing to some poor politician of ALP or Greens persuasion, on the whole he tries to stick to the issue and not the person(s) behind the issue.

    Of course, Hewson was derided by many on his own side, even while the election campaign was underway, so respect for the opposing party was treated as a negative thing whenever he displayed it. Hewson’s attempts at providing an honest and factual answer to media questions was another behavioural trait which proved inscrutable to his own political party. It was ironic that a TV journalist brought his campaign to a juddering halt with a simple, but perhaps a little unfair, question about GST on a birthday cake. His flat-footed response gave his opponents in the media—and also his enemies, on both sides of politics—a field day.

  14. BilB
    February 5th, 2012 at 13:23 | #14

    Good choice Donald Oates,

    Greg Combet would be an excellent leader. And it is for that very reason that he is not foolish enough to provide a challenge. He is comfortable doing an excellent job where he is, in team mode. But now that you mention him I can envisage a time and circumstance where he steps forward. I also like Doug Cameron. If Labour was on the back foot and unable to break out of a malaise I can envisage Cameron slashing a way through a forest of stupidity to make a clear path forward for Liberal thinking. But it is Milnes solid ability to analyse and patiently present reality in a listenable manner that we need in our leading team now and in the near future. I don’t believe that I have ever heard Milne waffle or resort to exact endless repeats as all others need to do.

    We’ve got the right people. We jsut need to allow them the space to work.

  15. Alan
    February 5th, 2012 at 13:42 | #15

    If we have to have all this speculative stuff on all the wonderful alternatives to Rudd, could it at least be restricted to people who are members of the right house and the right party? Milne would perhaps be flattered but as I understand it she is not at present a candidate for the deputy leadership of a party she does not belong to.

  16. BilB
    February 5th, 2012 at 14:19 | #16

    I beg to differ, Alan. The Greens are a pivotal part of the Labour Coalition. Remember the Liberal National Coalition, and its leadership make up?

    We are talking here about talent, not political hackery.

  17. Alan
    February 5th, 2012 at 14:48 | #17

    Umm, no. Labor has a confidence and supply arrangement, not a coalition, with the Greens. It would take both vast talent and vast political hackery to transform Milne from senator to MHR and from Green to pale and faded pink.

  18. BilB
    February 5th, 2012 at 17:15 | #18

    You can call it what ever you like, Alan. Without the Greens Labour has no chance of concluding any legislation at all. I’d call that a Coalition, and Milne is a pragmatist.

  19. Alan
    February 5th, 2012 at 17:22 | #19

    There is a Labor/Green coalition in Tasmania with a common programme and a Green deputy premier, and Green support for agreed government bills. The Labor/Green agreement in the federal parliament is not a coalition, there are no Greens in Cabinet, there is no common programme. Both sides said they were not in coalition when they signed the agreement.

  20. BilB
    February 5th, 2012 at 17:36 | #20

    And yet they coalesce for mutual advantage. If it looks like a…and works like a…. and acts like a…, then it is a……. Just don’t tell anyone.

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