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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. alfred venison
    January 30th, 2012 at 21:06 | #1

    dear John Quiggin
    yes, that’s what i’m quietly hoping emerges.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  2. BilB
    January 30th, 2012 at 22:00 | #2

    Good grief, JQ. Kevin Rudd does not have the charisma to win another election. When he starts talking people glaze over and start thinking about gardening. It is not that he is not capable, sincere or acting in the best interests of Australia, it is that his deliveries have the leadership qualities of an Anglican Sunday Sermon.

    Gillard is hitting more balls than she misses and is doing well enough to earn a second innings.

    The pokie thing was a huge mistake which I cannot fathom, and will be the backdown when it is reversed that I will welcome. Wilkie will win that battle, in due course.

    The rest of it is Abbott’s sour grapes, pure and simple. The man is a gutter snipe school yard bully with nothing of substance to offer, that is what Howard liked about him…Abbott made a lot of noise and offered no threat to his, Howard’s, political dominance. Abbott is the Peter principle’s highest achievement…in Australia.

  3. January 30th, 2012 at 22:22 | #3

    Bears pointing out that recent Rudd v Gillard (52/30) polling has him down from 60/26 last year and Labor voters split between the two. Regardless of how appalling Gillard’s tenure may seem the idea that a Rudd Restoration is a clear winner needs much closer scrutiny than it’s currently getting.

    Caucus antipathy aside there isn’t any guarantee that he has learnt anything (he’s forgotten nothing, that’s a given) apart from Don’t Listen To Arbib, particularly viz. his leadership and office style, both substantial contributors to Labor’s mid-’10 morass in their own right.

    Add to this the spectacle of another #spill, the policy shifts, his need to re-establish relationships with the crossbench (not to mention the possibility of a rush to an election to get past that) and there’s reason for wondering if it might not be better in the longer term to let Gillard take the party to a defeat (now a gentler prospect than in the 61-39 dog days) and do the bloodletting afterward.

  4. Alan
    January 30th, 2012 at 22:29 | #4

    At #2 we see a classic Gillardism. Capability, sincerity and acting in the best interests of Australia do not really matter. What really matters is, drum roll, the rhetorical skills of a politician who cannot communicate in anything but cliché and whose speeches consist exclusively of a grab bag of bland recycled nostrums fuelled only the latest market research.

  5. BilB
    January 30th, 2012 at 23:03 | #5

    Alan,

    Of course “Capability, sincerity and acting in the best interests of Australia” are all essential ingredients of high office, but winning elections is as well. I think that Gillard as enough political momentum up to breeze through the next election. But certainly a “a grab bag of bland recycled nostrums fuelled only the latest market research” is as affronting as a monotone lecture with endless detail. Gillard would do well to rethink her content, even get better speech writers, before the next election.

  6. Sam
    January 31st, 2012 at 01:00 | #6

    I don’t see how Rudd would be any better than Gillard.

  7. January 31st, 2012 at 03:53 | #7

    How is it Gillard’s fault that one of her press officers goes rogue or that professional Aboriginal activists show their true colors by monstering her and burning the flag on the most spurious of justifications?

    Obviously Gillard has to go because she actually gets things done rather than engage in an endless navel-gazing exercise.

  8. Happy Heyoka
    January 31st, 2012 at 07:17 | #8

    I think “confected outrage” is pretty accurate – from what I’ve seen it was no more aggressive or unlawful than a few of the Murray-Darling scheme protests or perhaps Alan & Angry’s Excellent Carbon Tax rally at Parliament House.

    But seriously, Kevin Rudd? That schism almost killed Labor the first time.
    If he’s feeling unsatisfied, send him of as ambassador to the UN or the Vatican.
    Maybe they could disinter Keating, now _there_ was a Prime Minister.

  9. Chris Warren
    January 31st, 2012 at 07:50 | #9

    There is no link between the protests against Abbott and K Rudds salivations for PM.

    The Federal Police created the scene by dragging the Prime Minister through the crowd and not quietly out a rear entrance.

    Given that aborigines are continuing to be so mistreated by the Intervention you can understand their frustrations – for example:

    http://www.jobswithjustice.wordpress.com

    Would you work for $7 hr plus rations?

  10. January 31st, 2012 at 08:26 | #10

    There is a feeling about that Labor is now looking for a policy agenda for the next year or two, but what on earth gives people like JQ the impression that Rudd is going to help in that regard?

    Rudd came into power with an agenda that was obvious: reform the unpopular Workchoices; take climate change more seriously (as the world seemed about to do) and get a response going; apologise to aborigines; and be nicer to people arriving by boat (the public really did feel then that offshore processing and mandatory detention in the desert had become pointless and too harsh.) Otherwise it was merely a matter of him being as middle of the road as Howard, and his rise to popularity came via a smiley breakfast TV persona which it seems was always widely known by people who had worked closely with him as not reflecting day to day reality.

    Rudd’s own “big ideas” summit came up with little and was an unimpressive bit of posturing.

    His much promoted ability to speak Mandarin does not seem to have done much to impress the country. His quip in correcting the “most popular leader” comment at that international meeting was extremely cringeworthy.

    Rudd’s articles in The Monthly were not, I thought, particularly highly regarded as pieces of political or cultural analysis. Besides which, as John Howard (who spent little time outlining or analysing political philosophies in essay or book form) showed, the electorate tends to be more impressed with outcomes rather than the intellectual justification for policies.

    The only “up” for Rudd is that he is puzzlingly more popular with the electorate, at least for the moment.

    Is that what intellectual support for Rudd comes down to?

  11. Dan
    January 31st, 2012 at 08:46 | #11

    I’m not at all convinced that Rudd has learned a whole lot. While he does have considerably more vision that Gillard (or Abbott), I think his personal style – both his wonkish public persona and his prescriptive, micromanagerial tendencies outside the public eye – is his Achilles’ Heel. If Gillard is to go, then I think Rudd would be a poor replacement. In fact, we already know how poor. And I like the guy.

  12. Dan
    January 31st, 2012 at 08:54 | #12

    @BilB

    I assume you meant ‘breeze’ in the sense of ‘we breezed through the Battle of Gettysburg’ or ‘breezily establishing those Normandy beachheads’ or ‘we’ll just breeze down and grab those trapped sailors from the Kursk’.

  13. Troy Prideaux
    January 31st, 2012 at 09:03 | #13

    Dan :
    I’m not at all convinced that Rudd has learned a whole lot. While he does have considerably more vision that Gillard (or Abbott), I think his personal style – both his wonkish public persona and his prescriptive, micromanagerial tendencies outside the public eye – is his Achilles’ Heel. If Gillard is to go, then I think Rudd would be a poor replacement. In fact, we already know how poor. And I like the guy.

    Pretty much echos my thoughts exactly.

  14. Alan
    January 31st, 2012 at 09:14 | #14

    Rudd was the only head of government in the world who got his economy through the GFC without going into recession. You either accept the Murdoch press spin that is was a hangover from Howard’s good government or you have to accept that Rudd has a significant achievement. It is worth recalling that Rudd’s stimulus measures were (at least initially) opposed by Gillard just as she opposed other measures like the original carbon plan.

    Nattering on about Rudd’s rhetoric and persona goes nowhere. If Gillard is such a successful leader, why is Labor facing electoral oblivion under her leadership?

  15. January 31st, 2012 at 09:27 | #15

    Given that Turnbull was indicating that the Opposition supported in large part much of the Rudd government response to the GFC, I find it hard to personally credit Rudd for what happened. There is also no doubt that the insulation scheme was a good idea with terrible implementation in the face of warnings from state based regulators of what would happen if you rushed in with a bunch of opportunistic fly by night installers. People who found they had to have foil insulation removed in a hurry due to fire or electrocution risk were rightly very annoyed, even if the rate of house fires caused (in retrospect) was not high.

  16. January 31st, 2012 at 09:30 | #16

    OK, Rudd “vision” people: care to share with us what his “vision” is, apart from general platitudes that are shared by all Labor politicians.

  17. Dan
    January 31st, 2012 at 09:34 | #17

    @Alan

    Yes, Rudd very sensibly took the advice of Ken Henry, and then totally mismanaged the PR surrounding the sensible taking of sensible advice. I don’t say this to denigrate the stimulus, which was a significant achievement on Rudd’s part – and, to be fair, the Coalition had left the nation’s balance sheet in good shape. But I think any half-competent government in a similar situation would have done the same (Geoff Gallop maintains the Coalition would have done the same), albeit maybe not as effectively. I think Gillard would have come around soon enough were she running the country, but if you disagree (and you want to argue she’s incompetent) you can have it.

    Incidentally, I think you mean ‘developed world’ (and in fact I think Canada avoided technical recession as well) but I guess I’m splitting hairs here.

  18. Troy Prideaux
    January 31st, 2012 at 09:35 | #18

    I’m no fan of the Murdoch press, but I’m quite convinced the primary things that held us in good stead was our financial regulations, mining boom revenue and a low public dept from the Howard era. Sure, the stimulus measures helped, but there was fortunately plenty of margin in spending capacity to pay for them. Was Costello the only ozzie MP to publicly predict the GFC beforehand?

  19. Alan
    January 31st, 2012 at 09:47 | #19

    The Bank of Canada seems to feel they went into recession, but of course that could just be pro-Rudd spin. And for the record I do not mean the ‘developed’ world.

  20. January 31st, 2012 at 09:56 | #20

    What about laptops in the classroom?: in my books, another policy with some superficial appeal but major implementation problems. (Which again, were almost certainly predictable.)

    http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/computers/rudd-giveaway-gripes-students-slam-slow-laptops-20110812-1iq3w.html

  21. Dan
    January 31st, 2012 at 10:16 | #21

    @Alan

    From a different source, I believe that Canada did experience a mild technical recession, but as far as I can see what you posted talks about the effects of the global recession on Canada’s economy.

    And wait a minute: you think that every country in the world except Australia went into recession during the GFC? Evidence please.

  22. January 31st, 2012 at 10:18 | #22

    Just so people know: Despite being a routine supporter of the Coalition, and the Howard government, I have spent much of the last couple of years being hounded by the strange collection of people at Catallaxy as being a crypto-socialist because I was appalled, and remain appalled, at the opportunistic way Tony Abbott rode into the leadership on the back of dumb, populist campaigning of media climate skeptics, and how this issue has captivated the Right in Australia and the US. That the conservative side of politics has decided to wage a culture war on the back of bad science is a major embarrassment for it; compounded in the US by a weird revival of a form of voodoo economics that involves dealing with a serious deficit by promising both tax cuts yet the same or increased spending on things Tea Partiers want.

    I think that Abbott has risen above his natural level of competency, and can’t really see the Coalition regaining much in intellectual credibility until the hard climate skeptic rump is cleared out. (Which, unfortunately, is likely going to take the next El Nino, which has been slow in coming around!)

    So, I criticise Rudd from a position of respecting the seriousness of his intent on at least one issue, but I just think he displays intellectual pretentiousness generally and poor implementation of policies even if they are worthy.

  23. Dan
    January 31st, 2012 at 10:20 | #23

    @Alan

    Ah. I see Poland did not undergo recession (and it’s an OECD nation).

    And China, obviously, did not.

  24. Gaz
    January 31st, 2012 at 10:23 | #24

    I’d be happy for Rudd to return as long as it’s not the same focus-group-driven Rudd that abandoned the CPRS, along with the ALP’s credibility, and as long as he stops listening to the idiots that advised him to drop the CPRS in the first place. That’s when the ALP’s popularity slide began, virtually to the day, when it showed pandering to fiocus groups and shock jocks was more important to it than, you know, actually trying to do the right thing.

    I mean, if Rudd wants to be the leader that;s fine, as long as he acts like one.

  25. m0nty
    January 31st, 2012 at 10:50 | #25

    I don’t understand why anyone from the left would want Rudd back. Rudd was and is an excellent politician in the short term, but was a terrible governor and would be terrible again. Gillard is an excellent governor, but has significant flaws in her political nous because she plays the long game and does it rather passively. Ideally you’d have Rudd for the election period and Gillard for the rest of the term, but you have to pick one. I know which one I’d rather be backing: not the one who announces everything and delivers nothing.

    Apart from anything else, Gillard has had the added burden of a millstone around her neck in the form of Rudd himself and his Machiavellian backers, something Rudd didn’t face (until he was suddenly turfed). Rewarding the constant white-anting of the Ruddstoration putsch would be bad for the party. The NSW Right needs to die a well-deserved death, lest the party turn into Weekend at Bernie’s.

  26. alfred venison
    January 31st, 2012 at 11:10 | #26

    dear labor party hq
    labor under gillard is in trouble because gillard is not really a socialist. i’ll be out with it. she is an amoral careerist who’s career has peaked. it peaked when rudd stood firm on the resource super profit tax while enduring the relentless pressure of murdoch (and his sex-less lapdog the abc) and kloppers & hooke & the other corporate oligarch/bludger.

    gillard’s career peaked when she didn’t resist this pressure, like rudd did, but instead, like rudd did not, acquiesced to & colluded with certain labor right figures & allowed herself to be placed at the head the treacherous cabal to topple rudd, jettison rudd’s resource tax & replace him with herself (is it any wonder?). the rest is history: one damn thing after another and now we’re here.

    talk of low polling at the time is incomplete imo. as i recall those times rudd was beginning to turn it around (public opinion) on this issue when he was toppled by his deputy & that cabal of foreign-interest serving toadies (australian-american friendship society, in-bloody-deed).

    you want her to “stand by her man”? they mock with veiled reference to tammy wynette. well, actually, yes indeed, when “her man” is under enormous pressure from foreign based interests to jettison the resources tax that will benefit the country into the future, that’s precisely what i expect. it was a coup d’etat by proxy & gillard’s amoral careerist acquiescence in it advantaged the forces of international corporatism at the expense of the country. its a zero sum game & australia lost because of her decision. she has to go.

    gillard has, and communicates, no vision, because she has none and she has none because she’s not really at heart a socialist. she is a conservative without a cause save advancing her career, and it shows. tanner bloody knew. rudd at least as a christian socialist is a socialist. amoral careerists are empty ciphers available for filling in by the next power broker working on behalf who pays the piper picks the tune.

    i like rudd a lot & i for one want him back. and before the queensland election, too. the handling of the gfc was brilliant & the resource super profit tax idea was brilliant and if she’d stood with him, a united front, instead of participating in the shameful coup d’etat by proxy, i’m convinced it would have carried. she didn’t stand by him on that one and i think i know why i sure as hell judge her by it.

    put that in your pipe and smoke it labor party strategists if you’re reading this.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  27. January 31st, 2012 at 11:10 | #27

    mOnty wrote: Rewarding the constant white-anting of the Ruddstoration putsch would be bad for the party.

    Quite. Let’s not forget, right from the election campaign, with the famous “I just can’t make eye contact with her” photo with Gillard, there hasn’t been a strong sense of Rudd giving it (the Gillard leadership) his best shot.

    It’s a real tragedy for Labor that she didn’t win with a handful of more seats and have been in a position to just show an unhappy camper the door.

  28. paul walter
    January 31st, 2012 at 11:11 | #28

    It may that Gillard has run her race, altho I’d dispute that she has been any worse than any other politician about the place the last ten years. The country has fallen into a deep crisis since she became pm?
    I’ll bet most other countries, including the USA at the moment, would dearly love to be experiencing what our tabloids confect as “crisis” and the end of all life as we know it, here in Australia.

  29. Jarrah
    January 31st, 2012 at 11:34 | #29

    Bringing back Rudd would confirm in the minds of voters the assiduously cultivated Coalition characterisation of Labor as hopeless power-hungry back-stabbing liars. Gillard is unlikely to win another term, but Rudd has no chance.

  30. Alan
    January 31st, 2012 at 11:41 | #30

    I’d argue that returning Rudd to the leadership would be seen as a principled act, precisely because it would be an admission by the factions that they blew it when they installed Gillard. Electing someone else to the leadership would not have this advantage.

    Australia is definitely not in a state of crisis. It is a measure of this prime minister’s political incompetence that it is widely believed that we are. It is also a measure of her unwillingness to talk about economic management (apart from her obsession with the surplus) because that would mean pointing at Rudd’s actions during the GFC, actions which she initially opposed.

  31. January 31st, 2012 at 12:10 | #31

    Can you explain what the difference is between Gillard and Rudd?

    All major parties and leaders look as different as Coles and Woolworths to me.

  32. January 31st, 2012 at 12:11 | #32

    @Alan: Australia is definitely not in a state of crisis. It is a measure of this prime minister’s political incompetence that it is widely believed that we are.

    Rubbish. It’s a media meme pushed along by the same right wing pundits that got Abbott the top job and whipped up a frenzy about a “broken promise” on the carbon pricing.

    Gillard did handle herself poorly and equivocally during the campaign on that issue – I’ll grant you that. But she deserves a fair bit of credit for getting through a package that (as far as I can tell) most people say is better than the original Rudd scheme.

    As for the political credit or pain she (or Labor) will reap from that – I think it will depend largely on factors beyond their control. If the international economy really tanks, the “this is the wrong tax at the wrong time” line of the Coalition will bite harder than it should.

  33. Dan
    January 31st, 2012 at 12:29 | #33

    @Megan

    The important exception ts that the Coalition, if elected, will enact policies resulting in the redistribution of a shitload of wealth upwards. That’s an important difference. It mustn’t be ignored or forgotten.

  34. Alan
    January 31st, 2012 at 12:30 | #34

    @steve

    Labor leaders can expect a rough ride from the media. That’s not fair but it is a fact of life and good leaders find ways to deal with it. This leader has not. She ran the worst election campaign in living memory and has not improved since.

    @Megan

    Gillard’s focus seems to be neoliberal ‘efficiency’ with very little regard for fairness. her statements on education, for instance, imply that the education system is the only vehicle available for achieving a fair society.

    Rudd is much less populist on refugees. His record in government shows that he does not regard the Washington consensus on economics as holy writ. He was considerably more adept at foreign relations and would not have committed howlers like the Malaysia non-solution. I doubt he would have just opened uranium exports to India, for example, without seeking any concessions at all.

    The legislative record of the Rudd government was not inconsiderable, specially when you recall he faced a hostile senate, which Gilalrd does not.

  35. Troy Prideaux
    January 31st, 2012 at 12:36 | #35

    @steve from brisbane
    Absolutely! If you only followed the mainstream commercial television news for example, you would be under the impression that all our polies do is argue in question time and deliver witty humorous one liners or soundbites outside.
    I’m as sick as anyone of the typical towing-party-lines BS responses, but there appears to be little attention span for policy details out there.
    Interesting, hers and other politician’s popularity swings so sharply (for the viewing audience) to the positive on shows like Q&A where actual policy and ethical discussions are heard with sensible explanations.

  36. alfred venison
    January 31st, 2012 at 13:49 | #36

    dear labor party hq readers
    like Alan said in reply to Megan, and … rudd would not have squandered decades of patient diplomatic work, by successive administrations, and abandon the “abstain” vote on palestine/unesco. where does australia go now with that one? further up amerika’s ass? a little less latitude to move in response to emerging situations – that’s her legacy on that one, the loss of a modicum of independence.

    nor would the diplomat in rudd have countenanced cutting of wilkie, who is now, as it were, a “free radical”, definitely not bonded to or beholden to labor and bearing a bent shulder-load of resentement.. remember rudd assiduously cultivating relations with independents when it wasn’t needed for numbers? wasted now, flushed down the toilet by a shallow opportunist. will any of them now trust labor while she’s in charge? i sure as hell wouldn’t

    rudd was at least heartening on refugees & had the churchies working with him. gillard is not heartening, and she bumbles it. and that after the earlier neo-colonialist insult that was the east timor solution.

    and as for gillard’s statements on education, just one thing: the morphing, under her leadership, of the department of education science & training into part of education, employment & workplace relations says a lot to me. rudd has a greater regard for, and understanding of, the role universities play as centres of excellence, in teaching as well research in depth, and the necessary support required to keep that in sight, as might be expected from someone who did a higher degree program in a foreign language & international relations.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  37. Alan
    January 31st, 2012 at 14:00 | #37

    Apart from anything else, Gillard has had the added burden of a millstone around her neck in the form of Rudd himself and his Machiavellian backers, something Rudd didn’t face (until he was suddenly turfed).

    Umm no. We know from Wikileaks that Gillard was canvassing the numbers a year before she finally succeeded. The reality is that Rudd had to govern with a deputy whose principal goal was replacing him and whose conservative instincts led directly to the abandonment of the carbon bills.

  38. Paul Norton
    January 31st, 2012 at 14:33 | #38

    Meanwhile, Simon Crean has raised the temperature somewhat:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-31/crean-takes-swipe-at-kevin-rudd/3802526?WT.svl=news0

  39. January 31st, 2012 at 14:35 | #39

    Alan: Googling up that story again, it seems the US embassy reported one claim that Gillard was “campaigning” for the job – even if true (and this is, after all, a matter of chinese whispers again) turning that into “was canvassing the numbers” may not be the most accurate way of putting it.

    In fact, the complete surprise to the media that met the actual removal of Rudd suggests that if Gillard was doing any self interested “campaigning” for 12 months before the event, she was pretty brilliant at keeping it secret.

    Contrast the deliberate de-stabilisation by Rudd forces since the election, which Rudd obviously refuses to call off.

  40. George K
    January 31st, 2012 at 14:51 | #40

    Rudd or Gillard, are basically the same “difference”. Both do whatever it takes for their own personal agenda. It is Labour as a party that need to make a change. Under Rudd and Gillard apart from doing what they want they have thrown so much money away that the word Billions is used so often that it does not seem like a big number anymore.

  41. Alan
    January 31st, 2012 at 15:24 | #41

    @steve

    Umm, no. The US embassy quoted Mark Arbib directly. It is hard to imagine that the embassy was engaged in pro-Rudd spin (which they never expected to see the light of day) or that Arbib was making it up.

    I have not seen a lot of deliberate destabilisation since Gillard became prime minister. I have seen a number of leaks in both directions and I am not suggesting that either Gillard or Rudd is lilly-white. When governments start crashing in the polls these sorts of things happen.

    As to secret campaigns, it is hard to forget the embarrassing moment when a Labor MP denounced the ABC as ‘losing all credibility’ for reporting a leadership challenge hours before the Gilalrd takeover.

    Since 1970 three prime ministers have been sacked midterm (that is actually a very high stat for comparable countries). The Gorton and Hawke sackings were preceded by months of public questioning and clear political explanations of the reasons for the challenge. The Gillard takeover was almost as much of a surprise to the caucus as to the people and there has never been a coherent explanation offered for why it was necessary.

  42. January 31st, 2012 at 15:49 | #42

    @ alan

    Umm, no, you need to re-read the cable, and not just run on memory. Farrell’s comment in para 11 is ambiguous (certainly, your describing it as “canvassing the numbers” is simply not justified) and Arbib’s comment is in the same paragraph means even less:

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/12/17/wikileaks-cable-09canberra545/?wpmp_tp=2

    If you go back to para 2 of the same cable, you’ll also note this:

    “Labor insiders speak admiringly of her ability to understand issues quickly and of her negotiating toughness. Unlike Rudd, however, whose brittle temperament and micromanagement have come under fire, Gillard is seen by most we’ve spoken with as a good manager. She oversees one of the better-managed offices in the Government and her staff seem very loyal.”

  43. alfred venison
    January 31st, 2012 at 16:42 | #43

    dear may
    i like to fly beyond the van allen belt, too, but that one’s a bit oblique even for me.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  44. Troy Prideaux
    January 31st, 2012 at 16:49 | #44

    @alfred venison
    I think it was a crack at the media.

  45. alfred venison
    January 31st, 2012 at 16:51 | #45

    thanks troy – re-calibrated.
    a.v.

  46. alfred venison
    January 31st, 2012 at 16:55 | #46

    maybe oblique after all – holding that re-calibration.
    a.v.

  47. Fran Barlow
    January 31st, 2012 at 17:46 | #47

    I don’t thyink there’s much difference between Rudd and Gillard, and if your only metric is “likelihood of winning in 2013″ I’d be surprised is there was much between them. Rudd might be worse, since his restoration would mean that Abbott could be seen as having defeated two ALP PMs in successive terms. It ould indeed make it seem that the ALP was concerned merely with appearances and lust for power rather than matters of substance. Since this is the reality, that’s deadly PR.

    At a purely personal level (i.e. not a political one) I find Rudd a lot less egregious. He seems as if he has troubled to become broadly educated. He seems like he might be interested in ideas. He probably has a good mind. None of these things helped hoim as PM, so that’s not a basis for supporting him now, even if he should not have been dumped. That really was the most stupid thing the ALP did, but they are stuck with it now.

  48. Hermit
    January 31st, 2012 at 17:55 | #48

    As far as I’m concerned Rudd’s capitulation on the ETS was unforgiveable so there is no going back. Alas I fear Gillard will do a major cave in on carbon tax by year’s end, for example regarding electricity price rises in Victoria. While unprincipled Gillard is more circumspect than Rudd. On poker machines I fear Rudd would have rushed in at 100 mph and it would have ended up as big a schemozzle as home insulation.

    Therefore I give Gillard til Xmas to restore her credibility. If as I suspect there is another lapse of nerve then my preferred PM would be neither.

  49. Ikonoclast
    January 31st, 2012 at 18:33 | #49

    As usual, we get a great long thread about personality politics. While people fixate on personality politics and not substantive issues, we as a people and nation will make no headway on the real problems facing us. The real issues are climate change, environmental preservation, sustainability and correcting the economic malaise by ditching neoliberal economics for MMT (Modern Monetary Theory).

  50. Alan
    January 31st, 2012 at 19:23 | #50

    It is climate change, environmental preservation, sustainability and ditching neoliberal economics that makes me support Rudd. The Gillard leadership has given us two parties with almost identical agendas. We need one major party with a different agenda and that will not happen while Gillard and those she leads in the ALP remain in charge. Gillard acted on climate change only because it was the price of Green/independent support.

  51. alfred venison
    January 31st, 2012 at 20:35 | #51

    dear Paul Norton
    i’ll swap a bob katter for yr simon crean:-
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/recycled-rudd-wouldnt-surprise-me-says-katter-20120131-1qr5s.html
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  52. Alan
    January 31st, 2012 at 21:09 | #52

    Weird how just before a leadership challenge everyone swears undying love and devotion to the leader, as Gillard did before deposing Rudd, and mere days later they are all swearing undying love and devotion to a different leader. In the immortal words of Beazley Knr on the Hawke challenge, ‘suddenly the unthinkable became thinkable’. Indeed I think it may have been Beazley who suggested Keating would best serve his party by leaving parliament.

  53. Fran Barlow
    January 31st, 2012 at 21:58 | #53

    @Alan

    It is climate change, environmental preservation, sustainability and ditching neoliberal economics that makes me support Rudd. The Gillard leadership has given us two parties with almost identical agendas

    That was true before the change to Gillard. Look at Rudd on refugee policy. They desperately wanted a deal on carbon pricing with the LNP. They were ditto on Afghanistan, the US alliance, and much else. Had Abbott not tipped Turnbull, there’d have been no RSPT stunt prior to 2010′s election.

  54. Troy Prideaux
    January 31st, 2012 at 22:23 | #54

    Alan :
    Weird how just before a leadership challenge everyone swears undying love and devotion to the leader, as Gillard did before deposing Rudd, and mere days later they are all swearing undying love and devotion to a different leader.

    Alan, I’m assuming you’re not from an AFL state, where it is just naturally assumed a coach is gone after the president comes out and publicly announces he (the coach) has the full support of the board.

  55. February 1st, 2012 at 04:16 | #55

    I still think Gillard should stay until the current version of CPRS(?) is bedded down, say six months into the 2012-2013 fiscal year. If her polls dont move to parity by then, then by all means dump her. That would give Rudd or whoever nearly a year to settle into the new job, plenty of time to run a devastating scare campaign against Abbott.

    Party political success in an election year is a function of:
    1. past economic performance
    2. future public policy preferences
    3. present politician popularity

    There is not alot the ALP can do to improve its position in regard to the economy and public policy as both are dependent on factors beyond its control. The economy’s performance as it is dependent on PRC-GFC. The public’s policy preference is a hostage to GRN support for carbon tax.

    So that leaves politician popularity. Of the three key factors this is probably the weakest. So Rudd promotoers should not expect any miracles.

    Personally I can’t stand the guy and almost everything he did went no where ie Apology, carbon price, mining tax. Also he is a “Big Australia” booster and exactly how do Left-liberals propose to reconcile this with concern for social equity or ecological sustainability?

    Yeah, I know, its squared circles all the way down.

  56. Alan
    February 1st, 2012 at 04:22 | #56

    The other reason to choose Rudd is that the federal caucus does not want to repeat the unhappy experience of the NSW caucus which managed to burn though 2 potential leaders in as many years. The polls suggest Rudd has some chance of winning where Gillard has not. Electing someone like Shorten would just be repeating the NSW disaster.

  57. Alan
    February 1st, 2012 at 04:28 | #57

    @Fran

    Rudd faced a hostile senate. In my view the better strategy, by far, would have been to call a double dissolution on the carbon issue. It is unclear how much caucus support there was for that strategy. It was certainly opposed by half the inner cabinet (Gillard and Swann).

    Once the idea of a double dissolution was abandoned there was no choice but trying to strike a deal with the Coalition. Gillard has the luxury of a friendly senate and a solid if narrow majority in the house. Of course, Gillard’s ability for too clever by half self-inflicted wounds like the Wilkie thing means the 1-vote majority will not necessarily last the life of this parliament.

  58. Ikonoclast
    February 1st, 2012 at 06:50 | #58

    Alan :
    It is climate change, environmental preservation, sustainability and ditching neoliberal economics that makes me support Rudd. The Gillard leadership has given us two parties with almost identical agendas. We need one major party with a different agenda and that will not happen while Gillard and those she leads in the ALP remain in charge. Gillard acted on climate change only because it was the price of Green/independent support.

    I understand your wish for real action on these issues. However, the Labor party under any leader will do very little on these issues. Labor and Liberal are Tweedledee and Tweedledum. We need to vote Green.

  59. rog
    February 1st, 2012 at 06:57 | #59

    Dumping Gillard would signal a victory for Abbott and give the opposition plenty of ammunition to fire. It was Abbott’s choice to run a negative scare campaign and he now appears to want to shake off his unfriendly image. Let Abbott wrestle with what is his very own issue without offering distractions.

    On 2pp the ALP just sneak one over the opposition.

  60. Alan
    February 1st, 2012 at 07:09 | #60

    @Ikonoklast

    I agree completely, but for now we have only one party other than the Coalition with a shot at government and who leads the ALP does matter.

  61. Michael
    February 1st, 2012 at 08:38 | #61

    I think the ALP needs to move beyond both Gillard and Rudd, although they have both been demonised way too much. The school hall funding was a fantastic success for everybody who sends their kids to state schools and it has made a big difference to many under-resourced schools. The fact that this was run in the media as a failure points to the sad reality that effective government is all but impossible in this country while it is dominated by the corrupted two-party system.
    I favour Greg Combet to take the leadership, the others are all try-hards.

  62. Dan
    February 1st, 2012 at 08:54 | #62

    @Ikonoclast

    ‘We need to vote Green.’

    I think most people on this forum already do. But – let’s be real here – the Greens are not going to form a Commonwealth government in their own right any time soon. So the extent and nature of their influence comes down to how they and the major parties, particularly the ALP, deal with each other. I promise you that the personality of the leader of the ALP is a crucial piece of this equation.

  63. Dan
    February 1st, 2012 at 08:58 | #63

    @Michael

    I am reasonably sure he will be leader of the party one day and would be quite a good PM – he’s a real person and a great problem solver. Stephen Smith is also a talented guy who has managed not to mess up the terrifyingly crisis-prone Defence portfolio.

  64. Ken Fabian
    February 1st, 2012 at 09:04 | #64

    Any gains from installing Rudd would be lost by the process of installing Rudd. Any leadership change will be a self inflicted nail in Labor’s coffin, just clear proof that it’s disunited and has no backbone.

    Having to compromise with Independents and the Greens isn’t half so damaging as the compromising that goes on within Labor’s own ranks. I don’t even believe that they are seriously committed to the climate policy they’ve worked so hard to get through. It’s like they’ve been forced to have in order to get The Greens onside and but for a hung parliament there would’ve been no serious climate policy. Since then they’ve failed to show the kind of belief, enthusiasm and commitment to it that it needs and they’ll lose even the bit of support that achievement ought to have got them. Rudd won’t help.

  65. Troy Prideaux
    February 1st, 2012 at 09:26 | #65

    @Ken Fabian
    Both major parties are experiencing significant internal tensions at the present time. Fun stuff.

    I vote a dickatorship with Dick Smith has our dear leader [tongue half in cheek]

  66. Ken Fabian
    February 1st, 2012 at 10:20 | #66

    Every compromise and backdown just makes things worse – any expectation that bending to popular opinion wins votes is an illusion. Doing so to reinstall Rudd or dump Gillard for someone else will only make things worse.

    The whole climate issue seems like something Labor is doing it’s best to avoid bringing to the public’s attention, as if that will ease the pressure. I can’t figure how they could imagine that will help. I’d go the opposite way – make a big fuss of talking to the Chief Scientist, the head of the CSIRO, inviting leading climate scientists to big events and bringing the seriousness of the problem to the fore; most recent science has (according to the Royal Society and US National Academy of Sciences) shown that the amount of warming to take us from dangerous to extremely dangerous climate change is lower than previously thought, emissions growth has exceeded earlier projections for worst case scenarios. Heightening voter appreciation of the seriousness of the problem makes electoral sense for a government that’s spent so much effort and bet so much electoral success on it. Better than trying to welsh on it. As a bonus it might reveal the shortsighted, amoral self-interest of the mining lobby in sustaining a boom that will end up bringing serious future problems down on us and our descendants.

    More importantly, without appreciation of it’s seriousness and urgency effective action on emission and climate won’t have the needed public support. I don’t think I’m alone in being very dismayed at the prospect of an Australian government that supports fossil fuels to the point of denying science based reality to further the sector’s and their own interests.

  67. Troy Prideaux
    February 1st, 2012 at 10:34 | #67

    @Ken Fabian
    Penny Sackett found out in no uncertain terms how interested Gillard was in science:(

    But, of course you’re absolutely right.

  68. Alan
    February 1st, 2012 at 10:36 | #68

    Every compromise and backdown just makes things worse – any expectation that bending to popular opinion wins votes is an illusion. Doing so to reinstall Rudd or dump Gillard for someone else will only make things worse.

    What is the evidence for this? I agree that compromises on principle, right back to the initial abandonment of the carbon plan under Rudd lead to the loss of votes. I think it’s an incredibly long stretch to then say that keeping Gillard leader no matter what is seen by the electorate as a principle of the same order.

  69. Gaz
    February 1st, 2012 at 10:51 | #69

    Gee this thread is depressing.

  70. Dan
    February 1st, 2012 at 11:10 | #70

    @Ken Fabian

    ‘Heightening voter appreciation of the seriousness of the problem makes’… people feel helpless to the extent that they bury their head in the sand. I’m not here, this isn’t happening, etc.

    Have you read Clive Hamilton’s latest book?

  71. Ron E Joggles
    February 1st, 2012 at 11:37 | #71

    John, you’ve got to be kidding. Simon Crean got it right – Kevin Rudd is an autocratic control freak and no team player – he will never lead the party again.
    So we’ll probably lose the next election – well, shit happens.
    I’d like to see the PM use the time remaining to push through more reforms, and while she’s at it, stop playing so nicely and speak a few home truths about Abbott & Co, and quite bluntly too.

  72. AndrewD
    February 1st, 2012 at 12:15 | #72

    I heard Gillard’s speech at the PMs Science Awards last year on “The Science Show” and was impressed. She seemed like a different person from the one I see on the news, which I guess is the point. Unfortunately, competence behind the scenes and eloquence in small forums do not necessarily make a popular leader: witness the reverence for Ronald Reagan despite his obvious failings. Rudd and Turnbull both have tried and failed – would either party return to them? I agree with Gaz, this is depressing, and I can’t see a way out. I’d vote for ProfQ though!

  73. Charles
    February 1st, 2012 at 12:44 | #73

    The problem is not Gillard, the problem is Labor insists on following Abbott down the rabbit hole.

    What is the saying, never argue with a fool, they drag you down to the same level.

    Ok, abandoning pokies reform wasn’t smart and getting yourself dragged around by the keystone cops wasn’t smart, but that aside.

  74. Troy Prideaux
    February 1st, 2012 at 12:53 | #74

    @Charles

    Charles :
    What is the saying, never argue with a fool, they drag you down to the same level.

    I think it’s something like : “Confucius say: never argue with an idiot – they drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.”

  75. Alan
    February 1st, 2012 at 13:12 | #75

    After Menzies’ first government collapsed in 1942 (over almost identical issues) almost the entire political establishment ‘knew’ that he would never be prime minister again. They used equivalent words to ‘autocratic control freak’. They were of course absolutely correct. Menzies never founded the Liberal Party or served the longest unbroken term of any prime minister of Australia.

  76. February 1st, 2012 at 13:25 | #76

    Ken Fabian wrote: Heightening voter appreciation of the seriousness of the problem makes electoral sense for a government that’s spent so much effort and bet so much electoral success on it.

    Maybe: but wheeling out Tim Flannery to help do that was a Gillard mistake; he was already (however unfairly) “damaged goods” to too many of the public, and frankly, he’s just a climate science populariser. I would much rather have actual climate scientists with thick enough skin to take on the job.

    I tend to think that those on the skeptic side of the fence who only half pay attention to the debate are not going to be interested until we get an unambiguously hot summer again, which will probably take another El Nino cycle. Some further “weather weirding” might also do the trick, but it would have to be pretty big.

  77. ralph
    February 1st, 2012 at 13:25 | #77

    @Ron E Joggles
    So right, Rudd’s time is over. I agree Gillard should not die wondering – she sould get out there and promote progessive policies.

  78. Troy Prideaux
    February 1st, 2012 at 13:46 | #78

    @steve from brisbane
    “Maybe: but wheeling out Tim Flannery to help do that was a Gillard mistake; he was already (however unfairly) “damaged goods” to too many of the public, and frankly, he’s just a climate science populariser. I would much rather have actual climate scientists with thick enough skin to take on the job”

    To be fair, they wheeled out a panel, not just Flannery in an attempt of direct (interactive) public education. There were experts across a broad, but topical range amongst them including Will Steffen IIRC who can be considered a reputable climate scientist I suppose.

  79. Alan
    February 1st, 2012 at 13:59 | #79

    @sfb

    Every scientist is damaged goods to the denialists. It is frankly ridiculous to think either that scientists should be selected on the grounds of their political credentials or that any legitimate scientist who is not already ‘damaged goods’ would not become ‘damaged goods’ within about 5 minutes.

  80. February 1st, 2012 at 14:15 | #80

    Alan, yes, I tend to agree.

    I wonder if we have any equivalent of the handful of US climate scientists (not skeptics) who approach the topic from a Republican or evangelical background. (Katherine Hayhoe, but also Barry Bickmore and Kerry Emanuel.) Then there is that high ranking Navy guy who started a sceptic but was converted.

    Maybe you need a climate scientist population as big as America’s before you can find any that are inclined to conservative politics or religion, though!

    Anyway, this is drifting off topic.

    How did Gillard’s speech go today? Abbott’s was vague and all half baked promises on the never never.

  81. Fran Barlow
    February 1st, 2012 at 15:27 | #81

    @Alan

    Rudd faced a hostile senate. In my view the better strategy, by far, would have been to call a double dissolution on the carbon issue.

    In practice, that would have been unnecessary. At the time (mid-2009) the LNP were essentially nolo contendere on the issue. All Rudd had to do was to say that he intended to fully implement the Garnaut report and he expected the then Turnbull-led LNP to back his legislation with at most minor technical changes, which they would have perhaps four weeks to outline. After that, he expected that they would pass the bill and everyone would move on. If they didn’t, he would use the s57 provisions to break the deadlock as soon as possible in order to test the mandate of 2007. The LNP would have been terrified of such an election called with the ALP well in front and Rudd’s popularity at record levels, and would have rolled over. Abbott, you will recall, was backing giving the regime what it wanted. Turnbull would probably not have been rolled. They could then have repeated the dose with RSPT in 2010. The subsequent election would not have been close. In the unlikely event of a DD being called, (perhaps in November of 2009) the LNP would have been crushed. Minchin’s career would have finished early, and RSPT and Private Health Insurance rebates could then have been argued and won by a government well in command of the timeline and the numbers.

    The real problem with this, we now know, was the Sussex St cabal. They managed to remind Rudd that he was there on sufferance and he blinked. He should have simply tossed his poll numbers onto the desk, subtracted 15 points from the ALP primary and asked them how they’d like to contest an election in those circumstances, and promised that if he was rolled, he would make Latham look like a good sport. Your choice he could have made clear. If I can’t be PM and have my way, he could have added, then I’ll make damned sure than none of you ever will be. Start briefing against me and I will sack people or if needs be, resign and demand an election. I don’t think for a second they’d have wanted to run that risk. They’d have rolled over too. After all, the main rationale for having him was his saleability as front man, and he was way in front. Even they aren’t going to toss in a won hand.

    Of course, that would mean that in practice he would have been impregnable and gone on to win in a canter in 2010. Even the spivs would have admired that.

  82. John Quiggin
    February 1st, 2012 at 16:43 | #82
  83. Ken Fabian
    February 2nd, 2012 at 07:45 | #83

    Given an unsympathetic Media – and that’s how it looks to me – any chance that a change of leadership will be portrayed as positive looks unlikely. It’s clear that a lot of Labor insiders don’t want Rudd so that will be a constant Media focus. If Labor can’t pull together behind Gillard, I don’t believe it will pull together behind Rudd. I can’t help believe it’s the lack of backbone, to fight for their policies in difficult circumstances, that is a major contributor to their lack of popularity. If Labor can’t back it’s leader through a single tough term, why would I think it’s fit for another turn?

    As for voter appreciation of the seriousness of the Climate problem leading to feelings of helplessness and heads being buried in the sand – I can’t see how burying our heads in the sand about the seriousness of the problem can ever lead to solutions. The solutions aren’t beyond us, nor are they likely to impoverish us despite organised, well funded efforts – supported by the influence of senior business, religious and political figures – to persuade us otherwise . Surely facing reality head on with eyes open is not merely more likely to result in solutions, it’s an essential prerequisite.

    And from a purely political point of view, surely the Right’s ongoing denial of science based reality is a profoundly immoral position as well as a weakness that needs to be shown for the extreme danger to our future it actually is and attacked at every opportunity. Opportunities don’t need to be waited upon, they can be made by a pro-active Government. That’s if they have the backbone and aren’t intent on burying their own heads (and the community’s) in the sand. Ultimately those sands will run out.

  84. Troy Prideaux
    February 2nd, 2012 at 08:00 | #84

    @steve from brisbane
    “How did Gillard’s speech go today? Abbott’s was vague and all half baked promises on the never never.”

    A lot of what you’d expect, (to paraphrase) “yeah, there’s been lots of job turnover, but we need to restructure the economy” – don’t we just love hearing that “restructure” buzzword…
    Said some stuff that I’d (personally) agree with eg. the high dollar is a good thing generally for the economy.

  85. Dan
    February 2nd, 2012 at 08:39 | #85

    @Ken Fabian

    ‘I can’t see how burying our heads in the sand about the seriousness of the problem can ever lead to solutions… Surely facing reality head on with eyes open is not merely more likely to result in solutions, it’s an essential prerequisite.’

    Well, indeed. I’m taking it you haven’t read Clive Hamilton’s latest, then.

    Essentially, catastrophic climate change is already a done deal. The climate science community clear that we’re looking right down the barrel of 4C warming and are holding conferences on how to adapt to this. 6C is far from out of the question. 2C well and truly is.

    The best we can hope for is mitigation and adaptation – and no effort should be spared in pursuing these ends – but at the moment we’ve got a lot of people, particularly on the Right, who are are saying ‘I’m not here, this isn’t happening’. Unfortunately a lot of these people are in positions of influence.

    Then we have people (like yourself?) who think it can just be ‘solved’. Yeah – in 1985. Are you seeing my point?

  86. Ken Fabian
    February 2nd, 2012 at 09:25 | #86

    @Dan
    Dan, we still retain an enormous potential to make the consequences much worse as well as potential to avoid catastrophic climate change. There can be delay with serious ongoing efforts to develop emissions reductions strategies or delay tied to maximum effort to entrench long term markets for our fossil fuels whilst undermining public acceptance of the seriousness of the problem. Delay is enabled by getting enough people to throw up their hands, look the other way, or to assume the ostrich position. Sparing no effort towards adaptation is still dependent on that same widespread appreciation of the seriousness of the problem.

    I think that very conclusion – that it’s a lost cause – is a product of a decade of well organised serious climate science denial and opposition to action that followed on from the previous decade of ‘lets wait and see if the scientists could be wrong’. What I’m seeing by the enthusiastic embracing of opposition to action by the LibNats and surrender by Labor are the most appalling breaches of responsibility and trust from our elected representatives.

    There’s enormous momentum built into the problem but I’m disappointed that people who acknowledge it’s seriousness can argue against renewed efforts to heighten public awareness towards greater support for urgent action.

  87. Troy Prideaux
    February 2nd, 2012 at 09:35 | #87

    @Dan
    “The best we can hope for is mitigation and adaptation – and no effort should be spared in pursuing these ends – but at the moment we’ve got a lot of people, particularly on the Right, who are are saying ‘I’m not here, this isn’t happening’. Unfortunately a lot of these people are in positions of influence.”

    And the tragedy is – many of those don’t need to worry about it. There are so many parallels to the GFC here. Those with power money and influence will be the least affected. They’ll have the tools and resources to adapt and even maybe prosper from it. The weak and vulnerable will be most affected as those in Africa and some pacific islands are already realising. As can be clearly demonstrated with the GFC, the corrupt US political system must bow to the interests that feed them – the banks, pharmaceutical, petrochemical etc. It’s depressing I know. Something significant has to change!
    A good and very clever friend recently said to me: “When Jo and I talk about what we could do to make the world a better place for Jessica, a big inheritance seems to trump everything…”

  88. Dan
    February 2nd, 2012 at 09:45 | #88

    @Ken Fabian

    I think at some level everyone already gets the extent of the problem (ie. catastrophe) – you just have to look at how far-fetched the deniers’ claims are to think, ‘are they convinced by this?’ – but are lodged firmly the denial stage. As such I really don’t think that you’ll get the result you expect from further exposure of the issue. Anyone with Google (or a backyard below sea level) can see what the climate science is saying, yet a lot of people are not seeing it. That does not bode well.

    Troy – your friends are quite right.

  89. Chris Warren
    February 2nd, 2012 at 09:51 | #89

    @Dan

    Yea, unfortunately this may be right.

    There is no reason why life should necessarily exist on the earth.

    If the present inhabitants keep pushing methane and CO2 into the atmosphere, and the rate of increase, increases, it truly is all over.

    The problem is that corporations and billionaires such as Rinehart can manipulate public consciousness for their own private short-term advantage.

    You cannot supposedly:

    heighten public awareness towards greater support for urgent action

    [Ken Fabian]

    unless you deal with the media storm funded by commercial interests.

    The fact is, that protecting the environment requires less growth and less population. The fortunes of capitalists rest on more growth and a constantly expanding population.

  90. Dan
    February 2nd, 2012 at 10:33 | #90

    The limitations of the biosphere: a natural barrier to production, as old mate Karl would have it. More difficult to get around than most.

  91. February 2nd, 2012 at 10:35 | #91

    Ken Fabian wrote:

    “It’s clear that a lot of Labor insiders don’t want Rudd so that will be a constant Media focus. If Labor can’t pull together behind Gillard, I don’t believe it will pull together behind Rudd…. If Labor can’t back it’s leader through a single tough term, why would I think it’s fit for another turn?”

    I think that’s spot on, and is why I am puzzled as to how JQ or others can think otherwise.

    The counter argument is “a wrong would be righted”, but the polling this week showed that a large portion of those wanting a Rudd return were Coalition voters (and I doubt they are going to change their mind over carbon pricing if he is reinstated) and Labor voters were evenly split. Surely a large percentage of those are taking the pragmatic view that it is worth trying Rudd again because of his (puzzling) popularity amongst the public (who have never had to work with him.) But that’s a dubious reason for going back to a leader deposed because his colleagues (for the most part) found him and his office difficult to work with.

    In other words, those who think Rudd should return because of his inherent skills in developing and implementing solid Labor policy are very much in the minority.

  92. Alan
    February 2nd, 2012 at 12:18 | #92

    It is at least equally clear that many who support Gillard in their response to opinion polling either do so because she is the Labor leader or would immediately switch their answer to Rudd if he became the Labor leader. The claim that Rudd is supported by Coalition voters needs, at minimum, a cite.

    People do not, contrary to the Gillard spin, generally die in the ditch for a leader, any more than those MPs now swearing eternal fealty will not switch their support in an instant. The sad history is that once a leader starts needing fealty declarations it is time for their rival to start measuring drapes for the Lodge.

  93. February 2nd, 2012 at 13:29 | #93

    Alan, the issue is not really whether the current 30- 34% first preference Labor voters are going to desert the ship because of Rudd’s return: it’s the issue of whether the switch is going to help it regain an above 40% first preference vote.

    Look, there may be a slight swing up after the re-installation of Rudd from those who really took his de-throning to heart, especially in Queensland. (I always think Queensland voters are the most fickle and unpredictable in the country.)

    But for the reasons people have outlined, it would paint a bad picture of a hopelessly split and unstable parliamentary party that would harm it at the next election and beyond. It would be the Peacock-Howard wars of the 1980′s re-run, except with a damaging government benefiting instead of a reforming one!

  94. Ken Fabian
    February 2nd, 2012 at 16:14 | #94

    Dan, I find the “yes it’s serious but serious efforts are pointless” position the most insidious. Outright denial has been given the stamp of respectability by the Right but it’s not half as dismaying to me as hearing that it’s too hard and the battle’s lost from people that know better. I don’t believe most people really do get it; going by McMichael et al in Lancet the death toll from climate change is probably already well past the million mark. It leaves out the factors that are most likely to do the greatest harm in the future, like famines, forced migrations and conflict. No political party should be putting it into the too hard basket. Actually supporting organised efforts to oppose action on climate represents both acceptance of probably hundreds of millions of excess deaths through this century and denial of all responsibility goes beyond ordinary negligence. Instead of hounding them Labor appears to be backpelling. The whole issue appears to be bringing out the worst in our mainstream politicians.

  95. Dan
    February 2nd, 2012 at 16:35 | #95

    That’s certainly not the position I’m taking.

  96. Ken Fabian
    February 2nd, 2012 at 18:29 | #96

    Gillard’s not going to be on the right side of history unless she shows that the Clean Energy Future is something she’s proud to fight for rather than something she’d been forced into it by circumstance. Without renewed emphasis of the seriousness to Australia of the consequences of failure on emissions the policy won’t look worth it to a jaded voting public. Not that I think most people really do get just how big a mess we’ll be in by entrenching delay as the appropriate response to the climate problem.

  97. Alan
    February 3rd, 2012 at 09:38 | #97

    And yet a poll before Christmas reported precisely that result when respondents were questioned about changing to Labor if Rudd were leader. The primary vote not only went over 40% the 2PP went to 52%. I don’t have the link so I am relying on memory.The parliamentary party is hopelessly split now and the electorate is quite aware of it.

  98. Dan
    February 3rd, 2012 at 09:44 | #98

    @Alan

    ‘The parliamentary party is hopelessly split now…’ but won’t be if Kevin Rudd is reinstalled, natch.

  99. socrates
    February 3rd, 2012 at 09:59 | #99

    Regardless of the outcome of the current Labor leadreship tensions,I really do not buy this “Rudd was a control freak disliked by caucus meme”. It is irrelevant. Yes Rudd was a control freak. This was well known even back in his time as head of the Qld Office of Cabinet under the Goss government. If caucus couldn’t accept that they never should have made him leader in the first place. Ironically, Rudd’s worst mistake as PM – dumping the CPRS and not going to a double dissolution – was precisely after he listed to Swan and Gillard.

    By comparison John Howard was also (accurately) reported to be a control freak, but his party smiled and accepted it as long as he kept winning elections.

    So really, this is all about polls and perception. On that basis, there is only one choice for Labor to make. Gillard won’t win the next election. Rudd may not either, but Labor will take less damage under him than any obvious alternative. Rudd was a far better campaigner in 2007 than Gillard was in 2010.

    Looking deeper, I think a return to Rudd would also reduce the power of the dominant neo-fascist faction in the Labor Party. Clearly, Gillard is completely dependent on them, even though they appear to have no insight into how repgnantly they are regarded by the electorate. Continuaton of this dominant influence of the neo-fascists will doom Labor, no matter who is in charge.

  100. Alan
    February 3rd, 2012 at 10:11 | #100

    @Dan

    It is a lot easier to be unified when the polls are moving in the right direction. While I wouldn’t call the vat creatures of Sussex St ‘neo-fascist’ I agree with him that a Rudd return would weaken their power and that would certainly be good both for electoral standing and for future policy.

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