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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

on the ropes « Previous | |Next »
September 18, 2003

The educational legislation to reform the universities has been introduced in House of Representatives by Brendan Nelson The $1.5 billion package is controversial. It would double the number of full-fee paying students, allow universities flexibility to raise fees by 30 per cent and allow students to take out government loans for their courses, to be paid back with interest on completion.

According to Minister Nelson education is now about realizing your potential through the marketplace. Education contra the market is a historical relic.

The Government hopes to push the radical changes through the Parliament before Christmas but the Senate is not playing ball. The ALP says no. The Democrats say no. The Greens say no. That leaves the 4 Independent Senators to negotiate.

That political play is becoming a familar routine in Canberra. I saw it when I watched the Heritage Legislation pass through the Senate. The ALP just said no even though that legislation was an improvement.

So what is up with the ALP these days? Why is it so rigid? So inflexible?

This account of the ALP by Peter Botsam is a a good one. The ALP's divisions are deep and structural, it is tearing itself apart, there are no new policies are coming out of Canberra, it is doing a poor job as an opposition party in putting heat on the Howard Government, and is doing the only thing it knows. Count the numbers.

And no one seems to care that the ALP has lost its way.

I have to admit to admit that I do not know know what is going on with the ALP apart from the dead hand of Labor factionalism.

Bostsman says that solution for the ALP can only be a long-term one:

"The only constructive strategy is to wait for the present group to be pensioned off, build better foundations of participation within the party, create a broader ideological base for party policies and ideas, rework the process of electing representatives, and open up the membership to a new dynamic group of supporters who do not fit the traditional mould of Labor. Only when these reforms are achieved will the discipline, strength and talent come back to Labor."

Has the ALP lost its way?

The culture of the ALP has turned inward. It acts as if it were a government in waiting not as an opposition. It is primarily concerned about the ALP not the good of the country.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:40 AM | | Comments (0)