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Eddie, obeyed

February 7th, 2013

As last year drew to a close, it seemed quite possible that the Gillard government could be re-elected. The polls were going the right way, the reality of the carbon price had discredited the apocalyptic scare campaign of the Opposition, and the various real or alleged scandals surrounding the government seemed to be fading. The carbon issue is still going the right way, but everyhing else has turned around severely since then: even before the disasters of the last week, the polls had turned bad, pointing to an uphill struggle.

Last week was bad for the government in all sorts of ways, but the Obeid hearings before ICAC were in a league of their own. I was aware of the scandal, of course, but the evidence of Obeid’s total control over the NSW Right, and therefore of the state government, still surprised me. Even more out of the blue was the involvement of two federal ministers, Conroy and Burke. While taking free accommodation from Eddie Obeid looks a lot worse in retrospect than it would have at the time, his dubious reputation goes back a long way.

It’s hard to see how Gillard can credibly promise to clean up this mess. Her long reliance on Thomson and Slipper, the role of the NSW Right in sustaining her power, and, fairly or otherwise, the old allegations about her own career, all count against her. At this point, as Bernard Keane says (h/t Nancy Wallace)

‘If only Labor had an alternative leader who was fixed in the public mind as someone profoundly at odds with Labor powerbrokers …’

Obviously, he’s talking about Kevin Rudd. While it’s late for a shift, the case has become stronger in many ways. Of the people strongly identified with the personal attacks on Rudd last year, Roxon has gone to the backbench, Conroy and Burke are now liabilities, and Swan’s failed surplus push has greatly weakened him.

A simple change of leader would not be enough. Labor needs to excise the tumour that is the NSW Right. If restored to the leadership, Rudd should immediately push for a full-scale intervention into the NSW Branch removing all the existing officials, and putting someone credible like John Faulkner in charge. The whole faction system needs to be reformed or abolished, starting with the dissolution of the NSW RIght. And those compromised by their association with Obeid, Richardson and similar agents of corruption need to be expelled or permanently removed from any positions of power.

I don’t know if it’s too late to stop the election of an Abbott government. But it’s evident that Gillard is not the right person for the job.

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  1. David Irving (no relation)
    February 7th, 2013 at 14:33 | #1

    The trouble with Rudd, though … well, we all know what the trouble is. Micromanager, paralysed by indecision for months.

    I reckon Gillard has as good a chance of defeating Abbott as anyone else, and she certainly unsettles him.

  2. February 7th, 2013 at 14:35 | #2

    not just the NSW right.
    McDonald was a left-wing power broker.

    It does show the NSW right devoid of everything. They have shown appalling political nous and advice.

    Gillard however shows no sign she realizes this. She has been catallaxied!

  3. John quiggin
    February 7th, 2013 at 15:03 | #3

    McDonald started on left but had long been ostracized by them before cutting deal with Obeid.

  4. February 7th, 2013 at 15:05 | #4

    ‘but had long been ostracised by them’, yeah that is why he was a Minister

  5. John Quiggin
    February 7th, 2013 at 15:07 | #5

    @David Irving (no relation) That’s the view of his enemies, of course, and like all caricatures has an element of truth. But his response to the GFC was the opposite of this. Swan’s performance since 2010 makes it clear that he would never have acted so boldly. And, even in his last few months in office, in March 2010, Rudd pushed through a major health agreement with the states, IIRC

  6. John Quiggin
    February 7th, 2013 at 15:18 | #6

    He got his ministry with the support of the right. That’s why he was expelled from the left in 2009.

  7. Katz
    February 7th, 2013 at 15:26 | #7

    Rudd may avoid the coming electoral apocalypse, but he is unlikely to defeat Abbott.

    Nevertheless apocalypse avoidance is not to be sneezed at, given that control of the Senate is crucial to avert the approaching counter reformation.

    Gillard is electoral poison. Her unempathetic, wooden persona is ill-suited to playing catch-up.

    Rudd should be resurrected without delay.

  8. David Irving (no relation)
    February 7th, 2013 at 15:31 | #8

    You’re probably right about Rudd, Prof Q – that is, that our perception of him is a caricature, and that he was the one driving the govt’s resopnse to the GFC – but the fact that his enemies have been so successful in putting that perception about makes him no better a bet than Gillard. Also, far too many members of caucus have said they won’t work with him for him to be able to form a cabinet, particularly a sufficiently talented one to look credible to the electorate.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but Labor had better find it quickly or we’re in for an Abbott govt, which would fit my idea of a dystopia.

  9. kevin1
    February 7th, 2013 at 15:37 | #9

    I don’t know if any polling has ever identified the reason for her disconnect with voters – whether it’s legitimacy or style – but I’ve always thought of Gillard as a manager, Rudd as a visionary and leader (although not popular with his troops). There’s not much policy difference between them so I don’t see any sacrifice of principles in a change of PM, except the one of “Who decides? Party or People.” He has stronger claim than her on those grounds, and if he’s seen as an engaging and persuasive leader, what’s wrong with putting him in again?

    You’d think “older and wiser” would have moderated his leadership style. I never understood why the ALP grownups (including Gillard the Negotiator) could not be bothered to cajole him into improved workpractices: the execution just seemed an exercise in factional power by the hardmen. And his independence of them makes him a cleanskin in the eyes of voters.

  10. February 7th, 2013 at 15:40 | #10

    Each faction nominated people to be ministers before 2009 Prof.

    He was never nominated by the right. After 2009 the Premier could nominate his own cabinet ministers. He was dumped by Rees by resurrected by Kenneally

  11. John Mainard Kaynes
    February 7th, 2013 at 15:50 | #11

    You’ve nailed it there John well done
    Now we’ll see how calculated the ALP “royalty class” behind the scenes, see all this otherwise it will be business as usual.
    I think Swan has been amongst ALP’s biggest weakness. Anyone with an ounce of positive self estemm would be gloating over economic achievements instead of hanging their hat on slogans… but he’s always been a slogans’ man Ask Salary Ann Atikinson

  12. sam
    February 7th, 2013 at 16:21 | #12

    *irony* Richardson? Is he corrupt too? */irony* You omitted the irony alerts (I assume), so I’ve added them for you – JQ.

  13. Uncle Milton
    February 7th, 2013 at 16:32 | #13

    @John Quiggin

    The health agreement with the states was the perfect example of what was wrong with Rudd’s style of management. Rudd, and his department initiated and negotiated the agreement. Nicola Roxon, the Health Minister, was kept out of the loop and humiliatingly did not know what was going on. Similarly with the CPRS and Wong.

  14. Disenfranchised
    February 7th, 2013 at 16:53 | #14

    Who is Eddie Obeid ? How did he come to exert such power within the NSW Labor Party ? A look at his Wikepedia page reveals corruption allegations going back to 2002. How was he able to make or break premiers ? His talents certainly did not include being a great orator or policy wonk. Perhaps his talents lay in ethnic branch stacking ? He is a Lebanese Christian. Or maybe he was just a terrific bloke ?? Whatever the reason, if you throw Craig Thompson into the mix, it seems as though Kim Beazley senior’s prophecy many years ago, about the Labor Party being made up of the scum of the middle class rather than the cream of the working class has come to pass. I doubt Rudd would want the poison chalice. Hang on for the ride.

  15. Chris Warren
    February 7th, 2013 at 17:11 | #15


    Surely, resurrecting Rudd would create a marginal seats catastrophe. The media will have a field day. The ALP will be pilloried. Marginal seat voters are not highly politicised and overall just want stability. They will have an allergic reaction to a leader change now or in the next few months. Safe seats generally have more politicised or rusted-on voters and will want to pick and choose leaders and engage in other policy wot-iffs.

    Election outcomes are not determined by the votes from the politicised elements in society. These votes are already in the balance.

    Maybe Gillard declared a September date because she was warned about Rudd’s manoeuvrings and this was the only way she could lock him down.

    People misunderstand Rudd’s electoral success in 07. This vote was due to the ACTU Right to Work Campaign. Without this the ALP just scraped back. By not delivering anything for workers and by just posing as a lesser of two evils, both Gillard and Rudd have signed their own death warrants.


  16. John Quiggin
    February 7th, 2013 at 17:12 | #16

    @Uncle Milton

    Micromanagement is a fair cop, on Rudd but not indecision, let alone paralysis. Gillard has been much worse as regards backflips, cave-ins and so on.

  17. Sam
    February 7th, 2013 at 17:30 | #17

    @John Quiggin
    I know almost nothing about internal NSW Labor politics, so I wasn’t being ironic. It seems both a depressing (from my point of view as a progressive voter) story, and also a fairly boring one. However, perhaps the real world effects of this dysfunction on general elections are now great to overcome my apathy in this area.

    I always thought that Richardson’s job as a powerbroker was an inherently sleazy one, but that he did that job honestly. I have zero understanding of the history here. What books should I read to change this?

  18. Jim Rose
    February 7th, 2013 at 17:32 | #18

    Political machines are in no way new nor is there longevity

    The liberal party and country party had various factions built around successful leaders

    The labor party had union run machines. The Australian workers union had its time in the sun.

    Lang Labor was the name for three successive break-away sections of NSW Labor. The third was in response to the state executive run by a president and general secretary who were undercover members of the Communist Party adopting a “Hands off Russia” policy in 1940 – a policy seen as opposing Australian involvement in the war.

    remember the Socialist Left. The Industrial Groups of the ALP,

    In 1957, the Queensland labor party executive expelled premier Gair. Gair took the cabinet and much of the caucus to form a new party and few years later became the Qld DLP.

  19. Sam
    February 7th, 2013 at 17:36 | #19

    After posting the above I realized I should have just gone to wikipedia. Cash for comment, tax evasion, Renee Rivkin. Fair enough. My education begins!

  20. Katz
    February 7th, 2013 at 18:20 | #20

    @Chris Warren

    Rudd’s poll numbers would suggest otherwise.

  21. Gianni
    February 7th, 2013 at 18:24 | #21

    It’s unclear when the requirement that the ALP present a plan to “do something” about the NSW Labor become so important. Does anyone outside of NSW even know who Mr Obeid is, and what is the likelihood he will influence his/her vote? ALP sympathisers may know of him, but they’re ALP sympathisers so they’re hardly going to vote to Tony Abbott.

    I can’t see the electoral upside in Ms Gillard promising — or acting — to clean up a state branch of the Labor Party? She had better things to do with her time.

    It’s true that NSW Labor got smashed at the 2011 state election. But then, so did Queensland Labor in 2012. It seems they’re both due for an intervention.

    The media may fixate on Mr Obeid, but in the current media environment, there is nothing the ALP can really do to get their message out. Certainly the Murdoch press, most of the Fairfax and the ABC have decided that the ALP, and not just Ms Gillard, has got to go.

    Julia Gillard could announce a cure for cancer and the following day’s headline in The Australian press would be: “Gillard throws oncologists, radiologists and chemotherapy drug makers on the scrapheap!” while the Daily Telegraph would have pictures of forlorn doctors and nurses in now empty wards. The ABC and Fairfax wouldn’t be much better. The ALP has got way bigger problems than Mr Obeid and NSW Labor.

  22. John Mainard Kaynes
    February 7th, 2013 at 18:29 | #22

    I know a couple of public servants. They laughed their arses off when they heard Nicola Roxon complained about having to do something in 4 days … luxury. Nicola Roxon has had problems of her own eg the special treatment she gave Slipper.
    Not one of the complaining Ministers, Swan, Shorten, Burke, Conroy, Crean and the list goes on is worth a cracker. And when you look at the supposed Rudd backers they look like the ALPs future – Husic, Kelly, Champion to name a few.
    But far the most compelling issue is Gillards innate ability to turn gold into dust – Medicare gold, people’s forum, mining resource rent tax, pension increases [her oppoistion to it], Bob Carr over Warren Mundine, Peris Nova… the list is not exhaustive but it is a long long list ..
    Not to mention the dismal Fair work Act. We all saw how effective that was during the Qantas dispute. She and her supporters claim she is just looking for clean air to sell policies. I suspect that clean air may never come

  23. Chris Warren
    February 7th, 2013 at 19:16 | #23


    Where are the numbers?


  24. Mr Denmore
    February 7th, 2013 at 20:31 | #24

    Rudd was most convincing in the presser on the night of coup, saying that the NSW right would exert conrtol and seek populist positions on refugees. His tragedy was that beyond the symbolic early decisions to ratify Kyoto and apologise to the stolen generation, he never exercised dully the power of his own mandate. After Copenhagen he blinked and then started to second guess himself. Paranoia followed and because he had no factional base abd was generally despised within his own party, the knives were unsheathed without a second thought. Gillard has been uninspiring and, about from the misogyny speech, ineffective against an Opposition leader whose crude populism and lack of appeal beyond the Opus Dei crowd and Liberal Uglies should have made him toast. If I were in caucus, I would back Rudd ahead of Gillard with Faulkner as his lieutenant. Lining up Bracks for Roxon’s seat and promising root and branch renewal might do it. They can’t do amy worse.

  25. Ikonoclast
    February 7th, 2013 at 20:33 | #25

    Liberal and Labor are both totally corrupt.

  26. David Allen
    February 7th, 2013 at 20:37 | #26

    Australia is weird. Federal labor has been quite acceptable during its reign. Some great stuff (NBN), some average decisions (carbon half measures) and some bad ones (offshore processing, dumping Rudd). They haven’t been a great gov but they’ve been an acceptable one. (And I don’t even vote for them, never have.) Abbott and the libs frankly scare and disgust me. Everything they do is couched in terms of taking wealth and power and shifting it up to the 1%. The “battlers” are not smart enough to realize they’re screwed at every turn by the libs. And the polls give Abbott the lead?!!?

    Buy hey, glad I don’t live in NSW.

  27. February 7th, 2013 at 20:57 | #27

    Pr Q said:

    As last year drew to a close, it seemed quite possible that the Gillard government could be re-elected. The polls were going the right way, the reality of the carbon price had discredited the apocalyptic scare campaign of the Opposition, and the various real or alleged scandals surrounding the government seemed to be fading. The carbon issue is still going the right way, but everyhing else has turned around severely since then: even before the disasters of the last week, the polls had turned bad, pointing to an uphill struggle.

    This ALP government, under Gillard but also Rudd, cannot take a trick. They have had all sorts of opportunities but don’t seem to have the ability to make political capital out of anything: either the policy successes of the government or political blunders of their opponents.

    They can’t seem to score any victories or find any convenient scapegoats to demonise. Compare this with Howard who regularly came up with a prize (gun control, GST, E Timor, Intervention) and gratefully accepted any electoral assistance that unpopular groups (terrorists, unruly ethnic groups and boat people) managed to drop into his lap.

    There is not one minister who stands out as a star performer. Rudd may well be the best (in truth he achieved very little beyond the symbolism of the Apology) but he was up against a very poor lot. The best thing that can be said of him is that he was hated by his inept colleagues.

    Its not that they are corrupt or incompetent or stupid. Its just their indelible and chronic mediocrity continually saps any public enthusiasm for this government.

    Napolean, when considering the commission of a general, always asked “Is he lucky?”. He would have passed over the entire ALP ministry on that score.

  28. February 7th, 2013 at 21:23 | #28

    Pr Q @ #16

    Micromanagement is a fair cop, on Rudd but not indecision, let alone paralysis. Gillard has been much worse as regards backflips, cave-ins and so on.

    This is a very selective version of Rudd history. I do not, and never have, shared Pr Q’s high opinion of Rudd. He stuffed up the promotion and implementation of the two policies that are most closely associated with his premiership: carbon pricing and mining tax. This was at a time when the opinion polls were strongly in favour of mitigating climate change and sharing the mining boom dividends.

    The ALP rot set in when Rudd backed-away from the CPRS from mid-2009 onwards. Rudd also completely bungled the promotion of the MRRT, alienating the jittery QLD electorate, which is basically why he lost his job.

    Rudd also got carried away with utopian plans: the ridiculous 20-20 Summit, the unlamented still-born Asian Union and yet another federal health funding model. Not to mention stuffing up Howard’s perfectly workable solution to the boat people problem, although the GREENs should get some share of the blame for that totally unforced error.

    One crucial ingredient of a successful politician is that the true believers really love him. This was the case for Chiffley, Whitlam & Keating. It was also the case for Menzies, Fraser & Howard. Rudd is more popular with L/NP voters than amongst his own party bretheren. That does not bode well for another bite at the cherry.

  29. rog
    February 7th, 2013 at 21:30 | #29

    @John Quiggin JQ I think that JG message is that the JG govt is not held to the past and Obeid et al can fall on their swords.

    Of course the other factor in JG favour is that Abbbot is a bigger badder monster.

  30. February 7th, 2013 at 21:36 | #30

    @David Irving (no relation)
    The trouble with Gillard, though, is that she has no credibility with the people of Australia or the Labor party membership and whatever is left of the tattered remains of the true believers.

    Has anyone considered why, born of British parents and attending uni to do an elite law degree, she has ended up sounding like a navvy? Ironically, to do an environmental control comparison, her sister never went to university, doesn’t particularly want to work, and yet speaks in an educated middle class South Australian accent — like an ordinary Australian, in other words. And her sister is particularly uninterested in setting the alarm clock at 6 am to boot.

  31. February 7th, 2013 at 21:53 | #31

    Most recently, there was a rapid succession of NSW Labor Premiers, and one after another came and went for no particular reason. Finally Kristina Keneally was put up to try to win the election, after Nathan Rees was deposed. However, it’s probably not quite as simple as just trying to choose the most popular leader for the election — Keneally was a creature of Obeid’s Terrigal Right faction, and as soon as she got in she reinstated Macdonald as Mining Minister (Natural Resources) after Rees had sacked him. I believe now that the crooks desperately had to set things up again to complete and hide their corrupt transactions as their first priority, and did whatever they had to do. And Rees on standing down said in his speech that the thing that was wrong was the factional system that stopped him from completing anything worthwhile.

    Labor poeple are being set up and shafted all the time by each other, but they never blow the whistle on wrongdoers for some reason!!?? I mean, I’ve heard about a lot more skullduggery within Labor and the unions lately from inside sources, and they all keep mum when the scandal breaks. Including the Igunagate setup, knifing Della Bosca, etc. Although if you’re a crook, I guess you aren’t going to draw attention to yourself when things go pear-shaped.

    I’m also disappointed the NSW Greens didn’t hear more about the levels of corruption on the grapevine, I assume it was honest ALP insiders who blew the whistle to ICAC to get the phone taps set up etc.

  32. February 7th, 2013 at 21:58 | #32

    Disenfranchised :Who is Eddie Obeid ? How did he come to exert such power within the NSW Labor Party ? A look at his Wikepedia page reveals corruption allegations going back to 2002. How was he able to make or break premiers ? His talents certainly did not include being a great orator or policy wonk. Perhaps his talents lay in ethnic branch stacking ? He is a Lebanese Christian. Or maybe he was just a terrific bloke ?? Whatever the reason, if you throw Craig Thompson into the mix, it seems as though Kim Beazley senior’s prophecy many years ago, about the Labor Party being made up of the scum of the middle class rather than the cream of the working class has come to pass. I doubt Rudd would want the poison chalice. Hang on for the ride.

    that’s a good question. why does NSW now seem to be run by a mediterranean mafia? literally, I mean.

    I’ve allowed this one up, but I want to state my rejection of this kind of analysis. Without going into more detail, I’ll just list a few relevant surnames – Richardson, MacDonald, Keneally and of course Thomson – that make it clear this is equal opportunity rorting. JQ

  33. James
    February 7th, 2013 at 22:19 | #33

    I’m with @Gianni on this one, and I think Ms Gillard has been quite clever. All the crap that was going to blow up in the ‘pre-election’ phase of the campaign has risen to the surface, well in time for it to be laid to rest.

    In particular, the NSW Right are an internally and externally disgraced entity, in as much as any lingering power they hold within the ALP due to fealty and/or numbers are tainted by disgrace, and to outsiders they have been long dismissed as irrelevant (for which they were voted out of government).

    Of more interest is the distinct ambivalence towards federal Labor and the lack of stink that distinguishes them from the Bligh government. Nothing Bligh could do in the end could save her arse, but that is far from the case for the Gillard government at this stage, and they have a good seven months to prove it.

    As for Mr Rudd being able to phoenix some utopian Labor nirvana out of the ashes, to quote him from 7:30 report the other night, “give us a break, please”!

  34. John Mainard Kaynes
    February 7th, 2013 at 22:51 | #34

    Particularly after she was looking for a long campaign [hmm sound familiar] and the Feds, precipitated by Gillard’s call for a ballot, crapped all over the Queensland campaign with the bringing forward of the leadership challenge.

    What impact it had on the defeat is a moot point but remember the move from the Gillard forces was partly motivated by the potential of a positive Rudd influence on Bligh’s campaign… A reasonable outcome would have made Rudd’s momentum irresistible.

    Wayne Swan’s public letter about Rudd was a disgrace.

    The fact that no action was taken against Swan’s letter act tells you how compliant and useless the state and federal administrative side of the party is. But this isn’t surprising at the 2010 election a member of the admin committee was sending pro-green material with union material – an ALP affiliated union.

    That Swan, Gillard, and a conga line of right supporters were prepared to write off Queensland says a lot about them and does not auger well for another rout at election 2013

  35. TerjeP
    February 8th, 2013 at 00:31 | #35

    The problem the ALP has with Rudd, in political terms, is the long list of MP’s that have gone on camera to denounce him in no uncertain terms. If he comes back as Labors leader then expect somebody to crack open the vault on all that footage.

  36. John Mainard Kaynes
    February 8th, 2013 at 01:02 | #36

    Terje – The bigger worry for Federal Labor is if these people – the Shortens, Conroys, old man Cream, Macklin [BTW did you hear her in question time today 7 Feb heckling the PM, now you don’t see that every day … another first man Tim moment… but I digress, Swan, Roxon, ICanSkiBurke who oppose Rudd remained …that would be a far bigger problem.

    Their main weapon is character assassination and they don’t really care who they unleash on.

    Wayne Swan hangs around like a bad smell. He’s everybody’s mate… even Rudd’s, from what I can gather, even as he was preparing the daggers.

    Remember he opposed Latham then he was stoking the coals of the Latham election train. if nothing else his judgement has to be questioned.

    As does ICanSkiBurke, UcanSkiConroy net filter, Roxon parking arrangements for Slipper and the real biggie IDontSkiShorten replacing Rudd with Gillard.

    Then you have the conga line of wanna-bes like Graham Perrett, Bernie Ripoll all useless in convincing anyone of anything and are millstones around party members collective necks.

  37. Savvas Tzionis
    February 8th, 2013 at 07:40 | #37

    Eddie Obeid the CHRISTIAN Lebanese. I thought Andrew Bolt said that they are FAR better migrants than the Lebanese Muslims?

  38. February 8th, 2013 at 08:01 | #38

    JQ has always been predicting that a return to Rudd is the only hope, so what else in new? As with Jack, I just can’t see the policy magic in Rudd that JQ can. If anything, he was rather like Abbott – a populist inclined to pull some policies out of his backside and hope they work.

    Rudd had a large benefit last time around from an “its time” factor, as well as the bad PR of Workchoices. These elements are not going to be repeated. Gillard did reasonably well on the campaign trail last time, given the obvious disunity she was leading.

    A change back to Rudd will only show panic, and this talk should stop if you want any hope of a return to Labor.

    And if energy companies and their economists (as well as businesses generally who have problems with other Abbott policies – like his parental leave plan) think that some Abbott ideas are crook and causing more harm than good, they need to start saying so now, not later. They also need to be clear that they are not blaming the government for matters such as the high Aussie dollar.

  39. Ikonoclast
    February 8th, 2013 at 08:51 | #39

    Does anyone really think we will get anything significantly different from the major parties? Here is why we won’t;

    (1) They are both neoliberal in economic policy.
    (2) They are both bought and suborned by the mining oligarchs.
    (3) They are both riddled with corruption by both ethical and legal definitions.

    The only thing to do is never vote Liberal or Labor again. It seems that longer they share power as a political duopoly the more corrupt and unresponsive they become. Destroy them both legally at the ballot box. They are both corrupt organisations which do not deserve to survive in any shape or form. Pick an alternative candidate or party who suits your political philosophy but do not vote the majors. Preference them last in nearly all cases. (Ok, you can put the Katter Party lower.)

  40. kevin1
    February 8th, 2013 at 09:12 | #40

    @steve from brisbane
    It would help Steve if you can identify why Gillard continues to be on the nose with voters, and how, if and whether she is inclined to fix it. Showing her lack of nous, she declares that it will be clear to all that some days are for governing and some are for electioneering. She must be the only person in Australia who believes that will work!

  41. Martin Spalding
    February 8th, 2013 at 09:16 | #41

    Fascinating debate but seriously, Pr Q & many posters on this blog have often suffered from misty-eyed Ruddstalgia. And here it is again. And like many who support Rudd over Gillard there are precious few arguments of substance to back it up, and a dangerously big reliance on single poll results and fleeting news events. What are the policy differences between the two worth making a stand over? Why were Gillard’s initiatives so-called duds, setting aside the News Ltd type sledges? What on earth links Obeid to Gillard any more than guilt by association & association by smear? Pr Q, i like your blog but this post is almost tabloid-like in its v.tendentious links between the execrable NSW right & the PM. So there is a big stench coming out of the Obeid hearings…what then? What are the specific links to be drawn other than childish word-associations like ‘ALP…Obeid…corruption…gillard…baaaaaad’? The case for Rudd has to go way way beyond this.

  42. February 8th, 2013 at 09:36 | #42

    What? Expect me to discern the mind of the electorate as to why they seem to like/dislike certain politicians? That’s not fair, given that it is a complete mystery to me why Rudd is considered personally appealing to the person in the street who only half follows politics, particularly in Queensland. Other great political mysteries of the ages: how did Joh keep getting re-elected in Queensland about 2 elections after it was becoming clear that there was too much cronyism/corruption in his government. Similarly with the New South Wales state government.

    I can say that it is clear Gillard lost skin on the carbon tax: that is why I mentioned in my comment that I suspect that there must be a fair bit of dismay in some sectors at the idea that Abbott will overturn it all again, and there is not an economist in the land who thinks Abbott’s Direct Action is a better plan for what he says he wants to achieve.

    If I am right, there needs to be some clear statements to that effect, telling a large section of the public that their perception of the Gillard policy is wrong.

  43. February 8th, 2013 at 09:48 | #43

    @Martin Spalding
    Further to what Martin says, I think it is a big, big tabloid-ish stretch of JQ to say “Conroy and Burke are now liabilities” on the basis of a free ski weekend. Conroy has always been sort of annoying, though; but Tony Burke is not going to lose his basic likeability over this.

  44. Chris Warren
    February 8th, 2013 at 09:48 | #44


    Under Howard, low paid workers were denied minimum wage increases.

    What the ALP can do now, is not what the ALP wants, but what they can get through a couple of independents.

    If Abbott gets in, society will be split between the rich and the poor like never before and workplace relations will be trashed.

    If Abbott gets in, the hidden threat is that his cabal of right-wing Liberals will change the electoral system. This has long been the agenda of his faction – eg Minchin.

    If Abbott gets in, public services will be emasculated and the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer.

  45. Ikonoclast
    February 8th, 2013 at 10:10 | #45

    @Chris Warren

    I know sectors facing real wage cuts (“rises” less than inflation) right now. Gillard is also “bought” and suborned by mining donations and the support of the mining sector oligarchs and corporate capital. Labor is a little less worse than Libs but far from being a workers’ party. Labor still support big mining and neoliberalism. And they are now very, very, corrupt. We need a real party of the Left not those sellout corrupt rats in No-longer Labor.

  46. Ikonoclast
    February 8th, 2013 at 10:12 | #46

    Addendum: Both major parties are corrupt sellouts. We will get nowhere until people power destroys them both.

  47. John Mainard Kaynes
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:18 | #47

    Martin Spalding – The case for Rudd & Gillard aren’t the same. Vision versus the visionless – many forget before the GFC Rudd was looking at what makes a better Australia.

    Care versus the careless – we know Gillard opposed the pension increase. Imagine how pensioners would be struggling today if not for the significant increase given by Rudd… if you doubt it ask the single parents.

    It was Rudd who asked the challenging question of Henry before the GFC. It was the supposed world’s greatest treasurer who would rather sell a focus group line then sell the achievements of the ALP; that and run hate campaigns. He’s good at hate. There’s a few for starters.

    Then there’s the MRRT and all Australians getting a share of the wealth… but really the big difference and what is needed in this time of confidence deficit is a confidence inspiring leadership.

    Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Bill Shorten [who could ever forget the line he ran if Julia says its gotta be right http://bit.ly/Xbl9WK, Stephen Conroy, David Bradbury, Nicola Roxon, Craig Emerson… the usual Gillard apologist will never do that. Cripes even Richo, in his latest OZ column has been converted. Obviously he’s been walking the streets of Brisbane again!

  48. Tim Macknay
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:37 | #48


    The problem the ALP has with Rudd, in political terms, is the long list of MP’s that have gone on camera to denounce him in no uncertain terms. If he comes back as Labors leader then expect somebody to crack open the vault on all that footage.

    Strangely, though, the public’s approval of Rudd (as evidenced by polling numbers) appears to have been unaffected by the very public airing of all that material during his failed 2012 leadership challenge.

    Much in the same way, the numerous gaffes by Tony Abbott, including his extraordinary flip-flopping on global warming policy as well as a direct admission that he makes stuff up, don’t seem to have affected the public’s apparently strong preference for his party over Labor.

    The public’s attitude can be a mysterious thing.

  49. Ikonoclast
    February 8th, 2013 at 11:48 | #49

    @John Mainard Kaynes

    I agree, Rudd for all his faults does stand for something and he does actually have an intellect capable of original thought. Gillard stands for nothing and does not have an intellect capable of original thought. Gillard is an unprincipled sellout to the mining billionaires. She is treacherous and untrustworthy in every sense and is dragging the Labor party and Australia down in a terminal mess. Abbott will be even worse of course.

    If Labor had stuck with Rudd they would have won the last election handsomely and Abbott would never have looked a chance for PM. Labor under Rudd would have been passable perhaps. Though the days are long gone when I would vote Labor. Only Greens and Socialists get my vote now. I dont vote for capitalist exploiters and environmental wreckers. Anyone with less than about $2 million net worth is voting against their own interests if they vote Tory (Liberal) or Claytons’s Tory (Labor).

  50. February 8th, 2013 at 12:28 | #50

    Blatant plug.

    this is in my Around the Traps.

    Basically the most interesting blog pieces around the blogosphere during the week.

    Gillard has a bad political antenna. Swan is even worse. That the advisors haven’t been sacked since debacle after debacle since and during the last election campaign is a testament to how little understanding they have.

    do they have a chance. Read Kevin Bonham also on my Around the traps.

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