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

The ALP turns right « Previous | |Next »
April 21, 2011

We are increasingly seeing federal Labor shift to the right and to make increasing use of conservative talking points in its rhetoric. In contrast to a committed politician like Andrew Wilkie Labor looks to be working from the NSW Right's focus group playbook. Some think that this is a U-turn.

The demonisation of the idle poor, the Greens and the lifestyle of the trendy inner city progressives; the attacks on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange; the affirmation of cultural traditionalism and the Bible are those memes we are accustomed to hearing from conservatives political figures when they engage in their core values rhetoric.


Gillard is a cultural conservative and the ALP is taking poll-driven conservative positions as a political strategy to appeal to what's left of Labor's blue collar base, to drive The Liberal Party further to the right, and to prepare the ground for picking a fight with The Greens over the huge subsidies for big business (the steel industry, the LNG industry, the coal miners) with respect to the carbon tax.

As Ben Eltham points out the underlying rhetoric is pretty crude:

By contrasting Green voters with the hard-working decent folk who vote Labor, Gillard is constructing a distasteful morality tale about good and bad people. Good people set their alarm clock early and love their nation and family. Bad people stay out late socialising and don't believe in the dignity of work.

Who buys that kind of nonsense?

It is increasingly impossible to go back to support the Labor Party - let alone vote for it or return to the fold. Work---ie., labouring for wages---- for Gillard appears to be an end in itself, with little connection to a meaningful life or wellbeing. The inference is that Gillard Labor is not really interested in there being more to life than setting alarm clocks early and working in a blue collar job with unpaid overtime.

Another implication is that Gillard Labor appears to be unaware that many of Labor's base in the unskilled working class are perpetually at risk of being unemployed in a global market economy because manufacturing continues to decline and the large factories, warehouses and call-centres that used to be employers of school leavers are closing. Many fast-growing sections of the economy demand sophisticated computer literacy and people skills.

Yet Gillard Labor is blaming jobless Australians for their own misfortune (they are dumb and lazy)!

I suspect that we are seeing the influence of the Labor Right in Gillard's explicit shift to the right; a right that has deep roots in a Catholic conservatism that detests, and is opposed to, liberalism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:19 AM | | Comments (7)


I'm not able to do links yet cos of computer problems but check out Crikey's "The Stump'[I think] for an article by some bloke name Lockwood who has looked at the Catholic Right in the SA ALP with a very jaundiced eye.

By coincidence he also talks about an ALP minister named Finnigan who resigned today

the Stump link that you mention is here. I didn't know that so many on the SA ALP right ---Finnigan, Snelling Kenyon, O’Brien, Zollo, Atkinson and Koutsantonis---belong to,or are a part of, the religious right.

The Labor Government of South Australia is controlled by the Catholic Right--the long shadow cast by Santamaria's National Civic Council in the form of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) run by Joe de Bruyn nationally and Don Farrell in SA.

I notice that the SA Acting Police Minister Bernard Finnigan, who has resigned from Cabinet and will not be replaced, was elected to the Upper House in May, 2006, after serving for five years as assistant secretary of the SA branch of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees' Association.

So he belongs to the right wing Catholic bloc that is so influential in the Rann Government.

Gary Lockwood in this speech reckons that Bernard Finnigan is a member of Opus Dei. The old DLP lives on inside the ALP.

"to prepare the ground for picking a fight with The Greens over the huge subsidies for big business (the steel industry, the LNG industry, the coal miners)with respect to the carbon tax. "

The push from industry and the unions is to ensure that Gillard Labor gives even greater assistance to industry than was proposed by the CPRS. The restoration of the subsidies proposed under the CPRS are unacceptable.

Such a level of rent seeking will be opposed by The Greens and the environmental movement. So it would fail to pass the Senate and Gillard can blame the unrepresentative Greens for not being willing to compromise.

Rann Labor in SA continues to sink in the polls. The party's primary vote has s dropped to 24 per cent.

Its he two-party preferred vote in February was Liberal 54 per cent to Labor's 46 per cent.

Nan, perceptive as usual. Add to these hard right clods, the likes of the NSW Right propping up Gillard, the creature of the Vic Labor faction that controls timber in Victoria and Tasmania in collusion with corporate interests and brown shirts, and the odius Ludwig faction from Queensland that wants a vicious budget aimed at the working classes, through their proxy, treasurer Duck, to pay off their mining sector mates.

The grinding sound you hear is John Curtin, Ben Chifley and Jim Cairns turning in their graves. Gough Whitlam would be too if he were dead. The road from Gough (and Jim) to Rudd and Gillard led straight through Hawke and Keating. This hasn't been a sudden change but a deliberate choice over three decades.