Regardless of attitudes to the leadership dispute, politics is no longer a question of waiting for Abbott’s inevitable victory. So, for those of us who don’t desire an Abbott government, it’s now worthwhile to consider how Labor, and Kevin Rudd, should use the limited time available before the next election. Here are some suggestions, obviously preliminary
* A root-and-branch review of the Labor Party. The relationship with the union movement, the continued existence of the factional system, the relationship between the PM and Caucus and the need for MPs with real life experience, rather than party/union careerists – everything should be on the table. I’d suggest John Faulkner as the person to lead such a review. Other names that come to mind are Ged Kearney and Peter Beatty
* Take the economic policy debate to Abbott, as he did last night. Instead of Swan’s deficit fetishism we need a full-throated defence of the 2009 stimulus package, and Keynesian fiscal policy in general, and a correspondingly sharp attack on austerity
* The return to CPRS has already been announced. Since I’m part of the Authority responsible for advising the government, I’m not going to comment on the details. But Rudd should return to the attack on Abbott’s scientific and economic delusionism on this issue.
* Fix some of the worst Swan-Gillard decisions, like the refusal to increase Job Search allowance
* Scrap Gillard’s deal on the mining tax
* Mend fences with the Greens – this was one of Rudd’s biggest failings during his period as PM, and one of the things he needs to change
* Get Combet back – of all the ministers who’ve quit, he’s the only one who’s a real loss. The departure of people like Conroy and Ludwig is one of the unqualified benefits of this change, and that of Swan and Emerson a net plus for the government
Feel free to offer your own thoughts. Rehashes of the leadership debate will be deleted with prejudice.