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

And then there were two « Previous | |Next »
December 1, 2003


From my perspective no matter who wins the power struggle for the leadership of the ALP, Australian political culture will continue its drift to the right. As Graham Young over at Ambit Gambit says the problem with the ALP has been the product, not the salesman.

The ALP is a party deeply divided, full of distrust and riven with resentment. It has been an ineffective opposition defending the common wealth, the common good and public spaces. Graham over at Ambit Gambit says that "if Latham were to win there is a percentage of the party who would not accept that win and who would set out to destabilize him."

Two decades of macro-economic reform (privatisation, corporatisation, deregulation and globalisation) has seen Australia become a less egalitarian society.

But little is said about that by the ALP. It remains obssessed by pulling the levers of the economic machine to achieve greater efficiency, increased productivity, competitive markets and high rates of economic growth. Economic rationalism rules supreme in the ALP, which is deeply penetrated by a populist, cultural conservatism. The ALP is not a disciplined opposition trying to shift the policy agenda of national political life. There is little sign of the hard work Influencing policy from opposition requires a lot of hard work being done to a develop a viable strategy and long term policy.

I find it all depressing. Tweddledum and Tweddledee recycled yet again are the choices facing a troubled and disenchanted electorate.

And it's not even good political theatre. The only bright spot is that the power of the factions appears to be crumbling.

Maybe the ALP will rediscover democracy as opposed to being a brand name for competing factional interests with the lowest common denominator policies?

Maybe. I doubt it.

The best result may be for the ALP to be trounced by Howard again. Then it may get serious about internal reform, substantive policy and being an effective opposition.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:34 PM | | Comments (0)