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

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March 27, 2012

Will this happen to federal Labor in 2013?

RoweQueensland .jpg David Rowe

The political fallout suggests that it sure doesn't look good for federal Labor.

Many commentators on the conservative side of politics seem to think so. Labor's brand has been trashed and it cannot be rebuilt. It's all done and dusted and there is little more to say other than the storms are building up.

However, George Megalogenis in The Australian doesn't seem to think so. His argument in Federal State Divide Offers Gillard Some Hope is that:

predictions of a federal wipeout for Labor in the rugby league states are premature.The evidence to date is that voters distinguish between federal and state in numbers large enough to deliver a split ticket, where the Coalition thrives in one jurisdiction while faltering in another.....It may be a long shot for the Gillard government, history suggests the next federal election is still winnable.

It's now a case of holding your political nerve in the context of poor polls, a very low primary vote, the unpopularity of Gillard in Queensland, the use of focus groups and the obsessive reliance on polling.

Labor is still a party bogged down in the past, still a captive of its shrinking trade union base and still poll-driven apparatchiks whose overwhelming priority is hanging on to power.That is not going to change in the next 18 months.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:43 PM | | Comments (6)


Barry Jones makes an extended version of the argument I (and lots of other people of course) have been making: that the ALP no longer represents any significant interest groups in this country; unlike the Libs, who continue to represent the interests of capital. While the ALP will still get a greater or lesser number of swing votes in individual elections according to the circumstances of the day, the core of faithful Labor-right-or-wrong voters will keep dwindling. It is in terminal decline.

Jones suggests public election funding may sustain a political party even if it has no membership but I think this is wrong. Contemporary politics requires parties to have funding for more than fighting elections - witness the relentless barrage of pro-conservative propaganda emanating from various 'think tanks'. Moreover without the critical mass of support provided by the trade unions, it's hard to see how Labor ideas will ever get much traction in the community. People obviously won't be learning about them from a sympathetic mainstream media.

The ALP still remains entrenched in the past.

I find it hard to see Labor's light on the hill. Is it still flickering? Can anyone see it?

Unlike Bligh Labor Federal Labor does have a reform message and a message about the patchwork economy (using the proceeds of the mining tax).

But is anyone listening?

"The ALP still remains entrenched in the past..."

Fair nuff.

But, good grief!!!! Have you looked at the tories lately. They're just busting to take us back to 1951....

They will need to reinvent as a young peoples party with new ideas and younger candidates and wait for the next government to be disliked by the electorate.

They will need to be prepared to form a coalition if necessary.

Thats the thing about governments. Eventually they all get thrown out.