Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Labor troubles « Previous | |Next »
July 30, 2010

I've just surfaced from a day or so setting up the home office in Adelaide to check out what's been happening in politics. Has there been anything of significance, apart from more policies converging and rumors of Labor rats scuttling the inner corridors of power?

What's the point of all the beating up of Rudd by those in Labor during an election? How does that help the media savvy ALP? Surely they need Rudd to help them with their campaign in Queensland, as he is their local boy made good. Isn't Queensland a key to the ALP winning the election? Isn't the ALP especially vulnerable in Queensland?


What is important in the long run is the dead hand of the NSW Right in the form of Senator Mark Arbib and Karl Bitar, the ALP national secretary. As Deborah Snow highlights the consequences of their being hooked on panicky politics driven by focus-group research are far reaching.

She quotes a source in the ALP thus:

Mark and Karl were absolutely insistent that Rudd had to dump the ETS [emissions trading scheme]. They pushed, prodded, cajoled and would not take 'no' for an answer. That was the big turning point in Kevin's standing with the voters.It's breathtaking now for Mark and Karl three months down the track to say, 'Well, you've lost the people, you've got to go.

This makes explicit what we had suspected. They represent the vested interests who oppose climate change reform. As Paul Krugman says:
If you want to understand opposition to climate action, follow the money. The economy as a whole wouldn’t be significantly hurt if we put a price on carbon, but certain industries — above all, the coal and oil industries — would. And those industries have mounted a huge disinformation campaign to protect their bottom lines.

The NSW Right defends the coal industry. All serious estimates suggest that we could phase in limits on greenhouse gas emissions with at most a small impact on the economy’s growth rate.

No doubt the ALP's response will be that its all a problem of communication, not the glaring shabbiness of the policy. They could have stated their green message more clearly, they would say, to blank faces in the audience.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:17 AM | | Comments (31)


He's having a lot of fun with Gillard; somehow sympatico, exponentially better when he lays off the black propaganda his bosses want from him and he's commenting on something topical on its merits.
Tripodi, what a Rembrandt.
Is it a bit humble as a spectacle as elections go because its been called out of cycle?
Do you reckon the current leaks beat up is their attempt to break out Tones encirlement, as time has run out, unless Rudd goes ballistically feral?
Abbott's campaign has been wooden and his policies speak of an even deeper meanness than emanates from also damaged labor.

it has been a lifeless, insipid, cautious evasive election campaign so far. It's all about safe media presentation that concentrates on the surfaces and staying on message with talking points, spin and repeating key phrases.

The only way to get behind the media marketing facade is from the advertising angle--as the Gruen Nation did.

I watched Episode 1 of Gruen Nation It is able to dissect the brands and messages that the Canberra Press Gallery accepts rather than decodes. Accepts what they see as the dull and formulaic in the sense that they look for the occasional breakout, or the Boom-Boom-Shake-the-Room moment in the election campaign.

For them this moment is the Labor leaks. Who is the source? What's their motivation? Etc etc. Gruen Nation, in contrast, tackles the political marketing which is central to this election campaign.

One of those blokes doing the whole house energy rating assessments came around this morning. The whole time he was here filling in his forms he was going on about what a pain it all is, how the Gillard Govt is actually the Rudd govt and they're going to force us all to be greenies and how pointless the pink batts and solar rebate things are.

I waited until he was leaving to tell him I'd be voting Greens, but can imagine the kinds of conversations he has with other people.

We cannot have any environmental regulation of capitalism can we. It's near perfect; a thing of beauty according to the economists.

Lyn, he's like that because he's a gopher. If he had any actual brains he'd be the one back at the office, not the other way round.
Peter S Stock, thats a chilly point.

Gary the ALP has become a dysfunctional organisation IMHO and a dysfunctional organisation's behaviour cannot be explained rationally, almost by definition. Members of a dysfunctional organisation no longer have a shared sense of purpose; their actions are motivated by micro-level concerns that make sense to them even if they have no bearing on the organisation's ostensible goals. For some members of the ALP - quite a lot, I surmise - getting square in factional battles and preserving positions of influence in Party decision-making might be much more important than any policy consideration or even than being in government. It doesn't matter that this appears incredibly stupid and pointless to outsiders - it makes sense to them, and that's all that matters.

It's probably inevitable amongst people whose whole lives have been devoted to factional politics, right from their student days. For them, the internal game is the only thing; policy objectives, the public service, the media, voters ... they only have meaning insofar as they influence internal Party machinations.

I have to agree with your account of the ALP as a dysfunctional organisation. It is also very self-absorbed. The effect of these tactics is to rehabilitate Abbott as well as indicate that there is something seriously wrong with Labor’s campaign--the backflips?--that show a very insecure ALP.

he probably doesn't care that greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow; the longer we procrastinate as a nation, the worse the problem gets, and the more time we lose before we can implement meaningful action.

Honda realizes what is at stake

Rudd has been cut down, humiliated, repudiated, scorned, and his achievements trashed by those in his own party. Clearly a bit of law and order is needed to be imposed on the ALP to cut down on the knives and knuckle-dusters being used by the factions now roaming wild on the political mean streets.

Thing are getting out of control to ensure safety. More surveillance cameras are need. More tough cops on the beat are required.

You lot are 3 years late working out the Labor Party is crap.

Personally I don't think the Greens have any real expectations of getting an ETS up with a carbon price that is not just a token thing even if they do control the Senate but from their point of view its a very good hook thats drawing voters and power to them. But go ahead and vote for them if thats what you want. I wont be.

Mark Bahnisch has the latest Nielsen poll which indicates a worsening of their (ALP) position.
Ken Lovell and those more impatient with Labor and our pomo political system will feel their judgement has been confirmed, but I doubt if it will be comforting for them.

Yep, Labor is not travelling all that well at the moment. They have not imploded though.They appear to be divided and to be going off the rails.

But then it all depends on the campaign in the marginal seats doesn't it.We know so little of what is happening there. Katherine Murphy at the National Times says:

Some New South Wales seats are tracking well, others things are tough. Same in Queensland. Some senior Labor players fear the Liberals will go for broke in the final weeks of the campaign in NSW and Queensland, with a full-frontal assault on the Labor brand.

Not even the Canberra Press Gallery knows what is going on in the marginal seats.

It's a real learn on thejob work experience thing for Gillard, they really have extended her giving her the top job right on the eve of an election.
She's learning quick, but will it be quick enough?
I agree that we are now learning why its the end of an era, too.
If Labor is thrown out, it will be that much harder for them to come back, in post industrial times and the electorate mightnot have woken up to that, yet.
How on earth large slabs of the electorate can even contemplate Abbott, on the strength of what little he's threatened so far as to policy, stymies me.

Gillard needs a settlement with Rudd quick. They need to stop pussy footing around on the reconciliation given the blowback on Rudd's execution.

In The Australian we find Peter van Onselen saying that:

If the past three years have taught us anything it is that if voters had their time again they would have re-elected the Howard government for a fifth term. As Tony Abbott said yesterday, "when the history of the last three years is written they will be seen as wasted years".

Who is this 'us'? Who are 'the voters"? Those on the conservative side who swung over to the ALP in 2007?

geez, so we now have the "real Julia" versus the "fake Julia" . The "fake Julia"--the one who sold her soul for spin and gloss?---is the highly staged and scripted media image created by the Hawker Britten spin doctors. Who is the "real Julia"? The one with vision? The one with a twang?

Was the whole premise of Labor’s re-election strategy - that Gillard's popularity would steamroll them to victory? If so it looks to be wrong.

Why isn't Labor talking about the economy? They have a good story to tell.

So what does the real Julia stand for as distinct from that of the Hawker Britten puppet masters who scripted the fake (cardboard cutout) Julia? What is "real" in politics during an election campaign?

Labor looks to be caught up in a panic cos of its downward slide in the polls. Weren't the factional leaders/bosses talent supposed to be strategic and tactical -- they are meant to know how to win elections on the run based on polling and focus groups from western Sydney and not on not policy issues.

That is why they---ie., the rightwing ones including Senator Arbib---- insisted that Rudd abandon his climate change stance. When that retreat from conviction/principle started the electoral slide, they then demanded that Rudd be replaced as PM. The result is a divided ALP, and these divisions are now undermining Gillard’s campaign for re-election.

Such wonderful talent. They didn't have the smarts to realize that the abandonment of the climate change legislation--for whatever reason--- would destroy Labor's reform credibility and a collapse in its electoral support.

The Greens are the only party committed to a market mechanism to deal with climate change and Australia's long-term need to kick its carbon addiction.

Thats enough for me to vote for them in the Senate in SA.

The Greens future balance of power in the Senate--if it happens--- will only come into play if the two major parties Liberals and Labor disagree.

They have a habit of agreeing a lot with each other these days. We have yet to hear both parties talk about a gridlocked (Green ) Senate; but they are described as destroying jobs, anti-growth and sending us back to the caves.

I suspect that many of us are going to object to the next-gen "real Julia" even more than the Mogadon version.

By "real" I'm sure the handlers just mean... more in-tune with swing voters. And that's all.

The "Real" meaning this version of Julia isn't cutting through like it was supposed to. So a new real is needed. Bit of an insult to the intelligence level of the undecided/mind changing voter.

I'd like to see Cheryl Kernot get up and hold the balance of power. That would be very amusing.

" insult to the intelligence level of the undecided/mind changing voter..."

Bloody hell, Les. Have you actually been paying attention these last few days?

The "the intelligence level of the undecided/mind changing voter" is the LAST thing either major party is counting on! It's a just populist slogan-fest, nothing more.

You've forgotten the timing on all this. Three weeks out from polling day is when the powers that be give the frontrunner a nasty experience. Happens every time, presumably to let them know what can occur if they don't toe the line.

Gillard by a nose, is my guess.

interesting idea.
I guess that you can win a campaign and lose an election--eg Mark Latham. Can you lose a campaign and win an election?

Jeff Sparrow in his No mandate when Labor plays follow the Liberal at Unleashed says:

the biggest problem with the approach that has dominated the Labor Party for so long.....[is]..... The reluctance to actually fight, the poll-driven insistence on saying whatever focus groups want to hear, means that, even in victory, the ALP still loses, since it inherits a political agenda determined by its opponents.Again, there's nothing new in all of this. The masterminds behind the Gillard spill are the same kind of risk averse, policy-free technocrats who have dominated the Labor Party and the unions, even as both continue to haemorrhage members.

This does not bode well for a future ALP government.

Although there looks to be a strong average swing towards the opposition, volatile results in individual marginal seats could save the incumbent Labor governments--as in SA and Queensland.

The scenario is this.

Can the Coalition can secure enough seats in Queensland and NSW to defeat Labor, bearing in mind losses (in Victoria and South Australia) and gains (WA and Tasmania) elsewhere might net off against each other?

At the moment it does look as if Labor could lose enough seats in NSW and Queensland alone to be turned out of office or left relying on independent MPs. What once seemed very unlikely is now seeming very possible.

At a minimum Labor needs to reduce the size of the swing in Queensland. It needs Rudd onside and part of the team to achieve that.

"Can you lose a campaign and win an election?"

That's right - look at the march election in SA.