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

where's the ALP? « Previous | |Next »
July 23, 2007

The ALP has gone missing in the public debate over national security, individual liberty and the rule of law. It has laid low on the Dr. Haneef case, despite the government leaks, the police beatup/verballing, the secrecy culture, the media campaign, and the suspension of the law by the executive.

Laying low is deemed to be smart strategic politics--avoiding the wedge of terror being used for political purposes to win votes. They continue to lay low, despite the acknowledged weakness of the supportive evidence that is the foundation of the case against Haneef.


Only Premier Beattie has the political courage to call it for what the Haneef case is---Keystone Cops in action-- and to question the extent of the police and government leaking about the strength of the prosecution case. If federal Labor is unwilling to defend the rule of law for fear of damaging its re-election charges, then where are the state Attorney Generals? Why are they not defending the rule of law?

What federal Labor is doing is to aping and emulating the Howard Government to get his hands on the levers of government. The danger in this crafting of the politics of mimicry is that it tacitly buys into dog whistle politics and so embraces the mantle of Howardism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:39 AM | | Comments (9)


How much do you feel NZ labor parallels Australian Labor. From a poll I was just reading Labor(in gov) is 15 points behind the Nationals and looks to be ousted in the next election. I think they have been in for a couple of terms and the standard variable mortgage rate is around 10.3%.

I'm not sure. Isn't the NZ election some way off? It's different there, as it is not as black and white as you suggest with your Labour v Nationals scenario.

Wikepdia says that hollowing the 2005 general election:

Labour formed a coalition with the Progressive party, and entered into complex confidence and supply agreements with the centre-right United Future party and the centrist New Zealand First party, which gave both parties' leaders a Ministerial portfolio, while remaining outside of Cabinet. A limited support agreement was also made with the Green party, whereby certain policy concessions were to be made to the Greens in return for abstention on confidence and supply votes

More complex huh?

I'm not sure whether a a Labour led Government is still viable. I know that the Finance Minister publicly muses about using the emergency powers to suspend the agreed inflation target range as inflation is now currently running at 4% p.a.

Would the Greens do a deal with the Nationals to abstain on supply and confidence?

I occassionally dip into Agenda

where? in front of the mirror, preening for the grand entrance as howard slinks off the stage.

a vastly more important question is, why does anyone imagine labor is going to save them from fascism? kevvie is on record as backing howard's approach to terrorism.

more important: everyone should be clear by now that oz is a nation of rulers, not a nation of laws.

yes Rudd is increasingly looking like Howard light. He would centralize power just like Howard.

there is a report in The Age that about Labor's image after Rudd strongly endorsed the controversial pulp mill in the marginal Tasmanian seat of Bass.

It says that some ALP insiders raised fears that Labor is becoming a pale imitation of the Coalition following Mr Rudd's backing earlier in the week of John Howard's policy on Tasmania's old-growth forests.

"Considerable concern has been expressed to me that we seem to be adopting more and more of the policies of the Coalition on a whole range of issues including the environment," a backbencher told The Age. "The only choice at the end of the day is going to be between the young bloke from Queensland with hair and the old bloke from Sydney with no hair."

Pretty accurate. That's the ALP strategy to win elections--be like Howard. That's understood to be a clever and smart strategy. I wonder.

Howard is probably right. Kevin Rudd goes quiet (small target) on issues like Haneef, water, health, education and Aboriginal affairs and lets the states run the interference.

credit where credit is due. Labor has made inroads into the economic stuff with housing affordability, and family budget stress (eg., rising grocery prices etc).

The Government had wrung every bit of fear and loathing possible out of the brittle terrorism case against Haneeff, the Indian doctor. Then it realised that it wasn't scaring the electorate like it was supposed to.

The ALP Opposition was anything but.Trust the Government was its mantra. Gillard was Gillard was asked on Wednesday morning by David Reyne on Network Ten's 9am program.

"Why isn't the ALP crying bloody hell about that? What ever happened to the presumption of innocence in this country? Why is there not an effective Opposition crying blue murder?"
The answer: "Everybody the Government, and us we're strong on terrorism, we want to keep this country safe."

The Deputy Leader was keen to point up supposed differences between the criminal matter and the immigration law matter. The former, she said, (echo Kevin Andrews, John Howard, Philip Ruddock et al) was of course a matter for the courts. The latter had been acquiesced to after "good-faith" briefings from both the AFP and Labor's good friends in government.

So much for the Westminister system.

The key to Rudd's election strategy is that he neutralises Howard's strengths and accentuates his weaknesses. As a pragmatist, Rudd denies Howard the political wedge he has used against Labor for a decade while exploiting the issues in which Howard looks vulnerable.

It is seen as as a winning strategy. Hence the discipline in ALP ranks despite the grumbles that express an angst that Kevin Rudd is just a pale imitation of John Howard.

As Dennis Shanahan says in The Australian Rudd's battle plan is to craft a non-threatening image of himself, restore Labor confidence, revive the sense of electoral competition, turn a golden economic period against the Government, garner disparate dissatisfied forces, create a negative climate for the Coalition and offer a positive alternative.

The doubts about the Howard government have been created.That leaves the positive policies bit:---what Rudd Labor stand for and to get them to vote for a Labor party with fresh ideas.