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

factionalism « Previous | |Next »
September 22, 2006

Senator Robert Ray, in a recent blunt and honest address to the Fabian Society in Sydney, spoke some political truths about the consequences of the factions in the ALP. He said that the problem was not the factions themselves, as people will coalesce over issues, shared principles, and will work together to advance the interests of candidates they prefer. Rather the problem is with those running the factions.


Ray says that the leaders were so obsessed with dominating every facet of political activity that:

....there was no opportunity for talented Labor Party members who have no factional allegiance. For every example we can cite of people getting through the system - Peter Garrett, for example - there will be many more examples of those who didn't and whose talents are now lost to us.

Ray adds that success at a federal level needed "a caucus brimming with talent" but that was being held back by what he called "the Stasi element".

This reference to communist secret police is spelt out thus:

A whole production line of soulless apparatchiks has emerged, highly proficient and professional but with no Labor soul. Control freaks with tunnel vision, ruthless leakers in their self-interest, individuals who would rather the party lose an election than that they lose their place in the pecking order.

He said that some of the factional leaders or powerbrokers ---fellow Victorian senators Stephen Conroy and Kim Carr are the equivalent of "factional Daleks--"robots from Doctor who screeched "EX-TER-MIN-ATE" and were hell-bent on world domination.
That's truth telling isn't it. It's not factionalism that is the problem. It's the politics of putting personal power ahead of electoral success.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:35 AM | | Comments (8) | TrackBacks (1)

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Except that Ray was one of the factional bullies, and owes his position to factional powerplays.

Smells a lot like sour grapes.

The points are valid, the messenger's motives are suspect.

Senator Conroy, one of the "factional Daleks" mentioned by Ray is actually a creation of Ray, the former Right wing factional.

Ray reckons that factions mutate in that "new factional leaders are emerging. These are, says Ray:

highly competent, well motivated and dedicated to the success of the Labor as a whole

The names he mentions to make his point are Mark Arib (NSW State Secretary and national Right convenor ) and Mark Butler (SA Left faction and from the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union). So the situation of the hegemony of the factions is not gloomy. It is quite upbeat in fact, according to Ray.

I would have thought that the NSW Right runs the Beazley- ALP.

I actually believe that the factionalism in the Liberal party is probably worse than that in the ALP currently.

The benefit of being in power is people tend to be more disciplined in the public arena.

If the Coalition loses the next election, they will tear themselves apart - as the ALP has done while out of power.

yes for sure eg. the factionalism in the Liberal Party in NSW that surfaced over the Right rolling Pru Goward. That was an examnple of branch stacking, dirt campaign and the failure of anyone in the federal or state Liberal Party to standup up the factional warfare.

What continually suprises me is that Canberra Press Galley dutifully reports on the above factionalism (and those in Victoria and SA) but doesn't name it for what it is, thereby implying that only the ALP has factionalism. The Press Gallery takes the spin of the Liberal politicians around their internal factionalism at face value.

That is why the ALP is on a hiding to nothing currently.

Their every move is heavily scrutinised through the lens of the Government's spin by the media.

It's almost Animal Farmish, Coalition Good, ALP bad.

The lack of credible analysis of the coalition is incredible. When it is embroiled in huge scandals like AWB, can't seem to make any of the right decisions on defence expenditure, etc.

yes Beazley gets it in the neck for his migrants values test more than Howard does for his citizenship test.

The lack of credible analysis by the Canberra Press Gallery can be seen in the way it lightly treats Ruddock's statement re Justice Wilcox's recent decision on native title in Bennell v State of Western Australia. Ruddock says:

In a major capital city we do have very extensive areas of parklands, water foreshores, beaches. You could well find that if a native title claim were found to be a bona fide claim and lawful, that means that native title owners would be able to exclude other people from access to those areas.

This is the politics of fear designed to prejudice public opinion against native title. Our urban backyards, beaches and parks are not under threat from Justice Wilcox's decision on native title in Bennell v State of Western Australia.

Justice Wilcox stated in the explanation accompanying his judgment:

It is perhaps important for me to emphasise that a Determination of Native Title is neither the pot of gold for the indigenous claimants nor the disaster for the remainder of the community that is sometimes painted. A Native Title Determination does not affect freehold land or most leasehold land; it cannot take away people's back yards. The vast majority of private landholders in the Perth region will be unaffected by this case.

Freehold title (the normal title held by most of us) totally extinguishes native title. So does average leasehold title.

They are now so completely engrossed in their own hubris, that bald faced lying is their stock reply.

For a man who was a small l liberal, and espoused many liberal ideals, Ruddock has fallen greatly.

Perhaps Howard has committed no greater crime than the corruption of people like Ruddock. He has turned the one's who should have been the dissenting voices into his prime attack dogs, ever eager to please the master by tearing off another piece of their own ideals.

what is suprising is that the factions have little to do with the political divide within the ALP--between defending the welfare state and privatisation and standing with Bush as little Americans or being far more independent in foreign policy.

The Beazley ALP is beholden to Howard and his government, and the right are fascinated with the way Howard has accumulated power. The Right adopt a realist approach to power: they had no time for morality, fairness, liberal attitudes to crime, immigration or asylum-seekers. They also accept that the popular media --ie Murdoch's tabloid press and Alan Jones with their roots in the Tory working and lower middle class determine party-political allegiances.

They accept that the middle is conservative not progressive.