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

looking back on the 43rd Parliament « Previous | |Next »
June 26, 2013

The face of Australian politics is starting to change. A new turn is dawning, given that Labor is currently expected to retain between 30 and 40 lower house seats after the 2013 election.

People are starting to look back and to judge the last decade. In his Along with voters, Labor lost the moral high ground at The Drum Greg Jericho says:

When we look back on the 43rd Parliament - if, as the polls suggest, the ALP is flogged at the election - it will mostly be regarded as a failure.

Why so? Because many will find fault with the Government of this Parliament by looking to Newstart and the single parent allowance and to asylum seekers.

Alan Moir

Jericho grants the positives: putting a price on carbon; the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and a new funding model for schools. But, in his judgement, these don't outweigh the the consequences of the negative policies--we could add that the position of many indigenous communities remains massively disadvantaged and public education became increasingly residual---which have resulted in the ALP losing any moral high ground it may have once had.

One point of difference with Jericho is that though I see the ALP through rose tinted glasses. The ALP is a labourist version of a social democrat party whose ethos is to civilize capitalism-- today this civilizing ethos combines a globalised economy with a well-developed structure of social protection.

I do not consider it as having any high moral ground. The Greens do, not the ALP. It's wishful thinking to think otherwise given that the ALP's organizational structure is that of a political machine that is constructed from disparate and antagonistic factions banding together for mutual profit and conditional support to defend their power base. The ALP may be part of a social democrat tradition, but it is not a democratic party. Nor is it a mass membership party.

Another point of difference with Jericho is with his claim that Labor is solely responsible for the mess around the asylum seekers. This is more the failure of the parliament, in 2012 to reach a consensus to enact some kind of measures to stop refugee drownings at sea – something for which all politicians should be responsible. Some kind of consensus is a precondition for a regional solution, which is the only way to address this complex issue of global movement of peoples.

Another point of difference is that I accept that the ALP has embraced a neo-liberal mode of governance with its governance of the self in the new market order.

It's also now a looking back on the Gillard Government, given that the ALP caucus voted 57-45 to install Kevin Rudd as leader of the Labor Party.

There is great turmoil in ALP ranks. Craig Emerson, Joe Ludwig Stephen Conroy, the Communications Minister and the government’s senate leader, Greg Combet and Peter Garrett have quit the cabinet. Wayne Swan has resigned as deputy prime minister and quite the cabinet whilst Anthony Albanese becomes the new deputy prime minister.

The immediate question is whether Abbott move for a vote of no confidence in the Rudd Government in the House of Representatives tomorrow? Does Rudd have the numbers with the cross benchers to defeat it? If he does , then Rudd would be able to determine the date of the election and would not necessarily have to run to the polls. Rudd will be a lame duck, caretaker prime minister whose job will be to save as many Labor seats as he can. Rudd will not save Labor from defeat.

Can Rudd lead Labor to a narrow loss even though you can’t expect people to vote for you to run the country if you can’t run yourself?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:05 PM | | Comments (15)


"Labor is currently expected to retain between 30 and 40 lower house seats after the 2013 election."

Though an Abbott government is extremely unlikely to command absolute control of the senate,it might well get effective control by forming closer ties with a right-leaning independent or two

I agree . The question of who will form government in the next federal election has ceased to be a matter of interest. What matters is the make-up of the Senate.

There have been positives and negatives from the ALP government - almost a good government.
The biggest positive has been, still is, that it is not the COALition.
The ALP is the better choice for 90% of Australians and probably, although not absolutely necessarily, we will find out why next year by direct contrast with a Coalition government that will be a disaster in reality but will be painted otherwise in the media. The bullshit will be knee deep.
Rupert and Gina and mates control that narrative.
All we can do is continue to speak out, support the Greens as the best option from the 3, and hold our noses as we nosedive.

BTW, unlike many in the blogworld I reckon we will see at least 2 terms, maybe 3 or 4, for the COALition as the media continues its partisan bias, a sows ear will be described as a silk purse and enough people will be persuaded to continue the farce.
Dog help my grandkids.

Current news is that SBS reports this evening that Gillard has lost a leadership spill to Kevin Rudd, although the pack waiting outside parliament has yet to confirm the rumor.
I haven't read Greg Jericho's piece, although I understand him to be both a reputable individual and commentator.
As for Gary's post, I believe that it has become untenable that globalism in the current bastard form can by reconciled to even the mild centrism of the ALP sort, let alone more emancipatory and progressive politics- it is a sham and a con, and the strictures imposed on Australian governments of any colour have rendered it impossible for them to govern both for the public and its enemies.
As for Gary's claim that Labor is responsible for the asylum-seeker issue, I emphatically and unconditionally disagree.
However, Gary himself reveals that in his opinion, whatever the flaws of Labor that,
" the biggest that it is not the COALition".
Like others I will vote strategically: maybe Sustainable Population Australia or the Greens who stress the overhaul of the economy, A PRIORI, to properly accomodate future population increase; not disruptive open slather as some call for.
Also Wikileaks, the Greens or even Labor itself, depending on the polls.

The results of the spill: Kevin Rudd has defeated Julia Gillard for the leadership of the Labor Party by 57-45 .

Swan has resigned as deputy prime minister and the government’s senate leader Stephen Conroy, who is Communications Minister, has also quit.

Does Rudd have the numbers with the cross benchers to defeat a vote of no confidence intiiated by the Liberals?

Tony Windsor has indicated Mr Rudd would not get his vote, while Rob Oakeshott and Peter Slipper have said they would decide if the situation arose. So far Bob Katter supports Rudd. So does Andrew Wilkie, Craig Thomson and Adam Bandt.

If Rudd loses a vote of no-confidence in the House of Representatives, then the Governor-General would almost certainly have to appoint Abbott as caretaker Prime Minister until an election can be held.

Labor turned to Rudd again because polls showed he could raise its primary vote from 29% to 40%, and take the two party preferred vote from 43% to something closer than 50:50.

In other words, instead of losing 35 seats and possibly also control of the Senate, Labor could lose narrowly, or even have an outside chance of winning.

The polls are fickle though.

The argument is that with Rudd there is a reasonable chance of keeping Libs from Senate control and so stopping the repeal of existing laws.


And so ends the appallingly inept exercise that began with the panic-stricken challenge to Rudd 3 years ago - an event of such astonishing imbecility that it was incomprehensible then and remains so today. Sadly that is the thing that Gillard will be remembered for, and the most important single factor in the disarray in which the ALP finds itself tonight.

I sometimes hoped Rudd would lead a breakaway from Labor which might work with the Greens to form a new centre/left party free of the pernicious influence of the corrupt Labor mob that we saw on display in the recent inquiry in NSW. Well it might still happen I suppose but the institutional forces working against it seem too strong.

The depths of desperation.

The hope in caucus is that Rudd can simply avert a disaster.

"And so ends the appallingly inept exercise that began with the panic-stricken challenge to Rudd 3 years ago..... Sadly that is the thing that Gillard will be remembered for"

Gillard will be remembered for her reforms as well. It was a reforming government.

'Gillard will be remembered for her reforms as well.'

Perhaps Paul but I doubt it. Whitlam is mainly remembered by most people as the PM who brought on a constitutional crisis and got sacked, not as the great reformer he actually was. Partly of course because Labor spent a good part of the last 20 years winding back his reforms.