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The ALP's glimmer twins « Previous | |Next »
February 5, 2005

In an earlier post I began an argument that the ALP is missing good opportunities to establish its very tarnished economic credibility. In an update I mentioned that I had came across an op.ed by Ross Gitten.This had been written after Kim Beazley's media conference/interview just after he had re-gained the ALP leadership. I said that this op-ed confirmed my judgement that the ALP was not doing a good job in restoring its lost economic re credibility.

Gittens puts it far more forcefully with his image of the dead (economic) hand. He said that Beazley's statement in that first news conference about making sharp differences between the ALP and the Coalition explicit was okay, but it lacked any policy grunt. He then asked the right question:

All fair enough, but where are the actions to back up the words? Not there. A bit early for that, you say? No, not at all.

I thought that Gittens was a bit quick to judge, after only one press conference. However, Wayne Swan's small target response to the OECD Report on the Australian economy effectively undercuts Beazley's commitment to making the sharp differences have some policy substance.

What has gone wrong? Why have the glimmer twins(Wayne Swan and Stephen Smith) gone off the rails so early. They were meant to be the lead act in re-establishing the economic credibility the ALP says it has to re-acquire, if it is to have any hope of winning the next election.

Gitten's suggestion is a persuasive one:

Neither of these two [ie., Beazley bovver boys-Wayne Swan and Stephen Smith] has any significant record of interest in or commitment to micro-economic reform. Rather, they're highly experienced political operators. So Labor's continuing its post-1996 folly of having shadow treasurers who are professional pollies-- Gareth Evans and Simon Crean-- trying to fake it as economic rationalists.

He's right. Gitten's judgement is quite damming:
Surely it's clear by now that they can't pull off the act. They can't inspire or even convince the coterie of economic opinion leaders whose granting or withholding of their imprimatur has a subtle but significant influence over the public's general impression about which party's economically competent and which isn't.

I reckon we should let that judgement lie on the table. It judges the ALP according to its own criteria.

Gittens reminds us that the policy debate around the reform of the economy will not be won by clever tactical moves on the floor of the House of Representatives during Question Time.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:06 AM | | Comments (0)