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a question mark over the ALP « Previous | |Next »
June 23, 2005

This is my last day in the Senate working as a political advisor to Senator Meg Lees. The Canberra office is nearly cleaned out and I return to Adelaide tonight to help clean out the electoral office during next week. Then I take a break for several weeks before I move to my new job.

For those who care about things I did not attend the Press Galley Winter Ball.

Whilst finishing up my work in Canberra I've been watching the ALP's performance in Parliament and in the new media. They are just going through the motions of being an opposition. There is little enthusiasm on the front bench, no fire in their belly, their eyes look glazed, their bodies sag. There is little by way of policy being put forward, and very little on new thinking on mandatory detention or on disability and work-to-welfare. The ALP's aura is one of despair.

Costello is right. There is a hollowness in the current performance of the ALP front bench. Hence this kind of reporting. (Was this a leak from the ALP Right?) And we have the ongoing battle over parliamentary tactics in the Labor caucus and the continual surfacing in the media of the internal bitterness.

The ALP response to the Costello hollowness charge has been given by Wayne Swan. He says:

Who has any idea what Peter Costello stands for, apart from a record tax take heavily redistributed towards very high-income earners? While he surfs the gains of Labor's economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s what big new ideas has he contributed to the economic or political debate in this country?"

Swan presumes that Costello is hollow as he has contributed nothing by way of policy ideas.

Swan seems to be unaware of the demographics of health opened up by the Treasury's Intergenerational Report 2003-4 and the way that this kind of work (as it is being developed by the Productivity Commission) underpins the Government's fourth term agenda.

Swan simply ignores this and he seems top be unaware that the ALP is losing the battle of policy ideas. That is a little example of what is going wrong with the strategy of the senior leadership of ALP.

The significance of this is that the government is given a free run, as the ALP just fluffs its feathers and huffs and puffs about being tough. Yesterday it was tax. Today it is foreign debt. Minchin was ready--private companies are borrowing the overseas money and investment is booming. The attack was deflected.

Tomorrow the issue the ALP will decide to be tough on will be?

Whilst packing the crates I listened to the Senate at Question Time. I did not hear all that much from the ALP on the connection between to foreign debt and the trade deficit, weak exports, big imports, a bubble in housing prices and households going into debt to finance their consumption. Or that Australia's economic growth has been mainly driven by the housing industry.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:56 PM | | Comments (1)
Comments

Comments

Gary - just to let you know that the portion of your posts that appears in my RSS feed reader is too short - less than a single sentence often. It makes it very hard to know what the post is about when deciding to click thru to it.