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

'not just an echo' of old Labor? « Previous | |Next »
December 5, 2006

Jack Waterford's op-ed in The Canberra Times is an interesting historical account of the role of factions in the ALP. He says that both Rudd and Gillard have never much benefited from factional patronage. They have won power by prising some politicians from their factions.

Renewed power for the factions will not help them. They do not want the first loyalty of caucus members to be to groups which aspire to bind people to majority views a process of caucuses within caucuses within caucuses which produces lowest-common-denominator ideas, not fresh ones.

Well that is different from Beazley. However, the swift Kim Beazley-Kevin Rudd battle was just a battle of numbers with the philosophical questions about neo-liberalism and globalization, and larger policy questions about climate change and health, playing no role. So what does the Rudd/Gillard ALP stand for in terms of new ideas and values? It looks like an Australian version of Blairite New Labour to me, for all the talk about Whitlamite free education and health care.

On the renewal theme advocated by the Rudd/Gillard ALP Waterford observes:

Above all a party which has suffered greatly by being seen to have lost passion and principle and to be hostile to new ideas, needs to establish processes for generating and testing policies, not repelling them according to where they have come from. The risk of Rudd is not the prospect of his taking the party down blind alleys the fear that people held of Mark Latham. It is that he will become paralysed by the difficulty of getting ideas through caucus, and that he will settle instead for repackaging, with mere slogans, old, tired, and not-very marketable goods.

The introduction of new policies into the political debate is desparately needed. Yet it is in the context of a domestic economy that has limited spare capacity (shortage of skilled labour) constraints on government spending that will encourage consumers to spend, and interest rate increases. It is in the context of an American economy going soft, aneconomy facing challenges from China and a falling dollar.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:06 AM | | Comments (0)