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Keneally in partial denial

March 27th, 2012

My wife alerted me to this piece by Kristina Keneally at the Drum, and so I ran out a quick response.

Shorter JQ: Keneally is right that voter backlash against privatisation caused NSW and Queensland losses, wrong that the policy was sound and even wronger that Labor (at least in Qld) didn’t try hard enough to sell the idea.

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  1. Freelander
    March 30th, 2012 at 00:09 | #1

    Some party, and of course neither Labor or the coalition could try this,should try to get elected on a platform of cleaning up corruption.

    Be nice to see. Should get plenty of voted if anyone believed them.

  2. Alan
    March 30th, 2012 at 00:24 | #2

    A simple law that former ministers and their advisers cannot, for 5 years after leaving office, work in industries they have official dealings with would go a very long way to destroying the hegemony of Cavalier’s political class over the ALP. Changing the ALP rules so that members of affiliated unions vote as individuals rather than through their union leadership would do a lot as well. The unions were central to the founding of the ALP but they did not, initially, have any formal role in the party’s decision-making. Unionists turned up to their local branch like everyone else.

  3. Tim Macknay
    March 30th, 2012 at 10:46 | #3

    @Fran Barlow

    FWIW, I rather doubt most Queensland voters could speak for 90 seconds on the subject without saying something ridiculous.

    Oh, yes. I’m sure most Queensland voters are quite ignorant on the subject. Nonetheless, I doubt a greater familiarity would incline them towards it. :)

  4. Fran Barlow
    March 30th, 2012 at 10:56 | #4


    Testing the competence of citizens against their knowledge of the Pre-Raphaelites or Marxism-Leninism is really very close the ALP apparatchik’s habit of testing it against their willingness to embrace ever greater neoliberalism.

    The ALP apparatchik has long been aided by the willingness of the progressive vote to hold its nose and vote ALP, typically on some entirely frivolous basis. The ‘left’ along it seems with women aged 40-50 voted for Anna Bligh in 2009. All that happened was that Bligh fancied she could do what official conservatives dared not — privatise public assets.

    People who vote ALP even though they object to what they are doing are merely enablers — in the same way that people who stay in abusive relationships hoping for better just end up, at best, getting resentful and bitter.

    It’s a pity that so many went to the LNP. Newman cast himself as a palatable and credible alternative which Springborg was not. Regrettably, few saw the Greens as like to be pertinent in a new parliament dominated by the LNP.

  5. Fran Barlow
    March 30th, 2012 at 11:05 | #5

    @Tim Macknay

    I’m sure most Queensland voters are quite ignorant on the subject. Nonetheless, I doubt a greater familiarity would incline them towards it.

    I’m not a supporter of Leninism these days either, but I’d feel a lot happier if I thought that even a substantial minority of Queensland voters knew enough about the subject to know why they thought it wasn’t apt. It would imply that on the whole, they had put a lot more work into considering the world and its usages than it occurs to me they have.

  6. Tim Macknay
    March 30th, 2012 at 11:14 | #6

    @Fran Barlow
    Yes, it certainly wouldn’t hurt if people were generally better informed about politics (among other things!), including its theoretical and philosphical aspects. Sadly, t’aint gonna happen though.

  7. John Quiggin
    March 30th, 2012 at 11:31 | #7

    My preferred 5-year rule would be that any ALP candidate should have spent at least 5 years in a non-political job (I’d let that include “unemployed, looking for work” or “raising kids”, but not “political advisor” or “official for a union in an industry where I’ve never actually worked”

  8. Freelander
    March 30th, 2012 at 11:42 | #8

    Very good point!

    Things were much better when more politicians were less completely career politicians.

  9. Paul Norton
    March 30th, 2012 at 12:59 | #9

    Let’s also be clear on the distinction between Leninism/Leninist and Marxism-Leninism/Marxist/Leninist. The latter is the self-descriptor of the ideology of Stalinist (including Maoist) and neo-Stalinist parties. The former is the term for the ideology of the Bolsheviks and the preferred self-descriptor for Trotskyist parties and parties deriving from that tradition.

  10. Alan
    March 30th, 2012 at 16:03 | #10


    All 3 rules would be good, although the ban on employment after leaving office would need legislation rather than a party rule. The thing is the ALP nomenklatura has constructed a system where your faction employs you full-time (although formally you may work for a union or an MP’s staff) until you get a seat and when you leave parliament you go work for MacBank or someone similar. It’s hard to think of a system that could be less self-serving, less corrupt or less guaranteed to produce bad policy.

  11. Alan
    March 30th, 2012 at 17:43 | #11

    oops, all those lesses should be mores.

  12. March 30th, 2012 at 20:16 | #12

    In WA if you want to be a Labor MP you need the support of Dave Kelly (United Voice) or Joe Bullock (SDA). You have to be a mate or a mate of a mate, or select yourselves for safe seats or your spouse (Bullock’s wife is an MLC).

    It is not factions, ideology dried up long ago, it is just fiefdoms. The problem is that they have little sense of why they are there other than some generalised vague notion of doing right by working families.

    Keneally and Bligh and co think selling public assets and PPPs are marvellous because it gives them the money to spend on the working families whose jobs they have just privatised.

  13. Alan
    March 30th, 2012 at 20:25 | #13

    It is frankly weird that one way of looking at politics inside the ALP is that you have a clutch of competing dynasties like the Fergusons in Western Sydney or the hereditary leaderships in some of the affiliated unions. Fourteenth century politics say ‘Hello’ to the modern labor party. I am not completely sure that people like Curtin and Dunstan would recognise this mess as the ALP they knew.

  14. Peter Kirsop
    March 30th, 2012 at 20:26 | #14

    Ms Rush its interesting that you should refer to “South Australia’s longest serving Premier” and note that he nationalised (or should that be ‘statised it was a state not a national purchase). Sir Thomas Playford was old school Country Party for all that he was a Liberal Country League premier. Under his government South Australia advanced from being the poorest per capita state to being the 2nd richest. He was a merchantilist, just like (though on a much larger scale) the Chinese are today. And like most merchantilists he got the rewards that policy offers, higher economic growth, more widely distributed among all social classes. WE need more people like him and Sir Albert Dunstan or on a national level like Sir John McEwan

  15. Graeme Bird
    March 31st, 2012 at 15:31 | #15

    At the ABC they’ve taken to closing down the debate very quickly on each thread. So if you had a mind to go and try and further explain how appalling our privatisations have become, by the time you get to the thread, the debates over.

  16. Chris O’Neill
    April 3rd, 2012 at 00:07 | #16

    @David C

    It isn’t going to help the poor in the third world if they have electricity but thier crops are failing and livestock dying because of climate change induced drought.

    Yes, it will go down real well when we tell them that we won’t export coal to them for their own good. Paternalism works so well. As I said before, we should worry about the planks in our own eyes before worrying about the specks in our exportees’ eyes. Why is it so hard for people to understand this?

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