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

too little too late? « Previous | |Next »
June 27, 2013

The Labor caucus has ended the civil war between Gillard and Rudd by dumping Gillard and going with Rudd in the hope that he can avert the electoral disaster the polls consistently forecast. It was the prospect of both losing more than 30 seats in the House of Representatives and of Abbott winning control of the Senate that pushed the Gillard loyalists to a reluctant embrace with a man they neither liked nor trusted.

The preconditions for Labor to avert electoral disaster requires re-uniting a fractured party, re-connecting with a hostile electorate and countering the powerful and relentless body blows from the LNP's scare campaign. Since it has to be done in a couple of months, it is probably too little too late. What we are seeing is the death throes of the Labor government. The bloodletting will take place after the election.

RoweDpoliticaltheatre.jpg David Rowe

Maybe the ugly sexism that has been directed at Gillard will subside with all the Labor carnage and wreckage. Maybe Australians will begin to acknowledge that the 43rd Parliament has been a successful working Parliament.

Maybe there will also be some acknowledgement that the Rudd Gillard government successfully navigated the global financial crisis and that the Gillard Government, despite its neo-liberal mode of governance, has also been a reformist centre-left government (eg., broadband access, disability support education, carbon pricing and protecting the environment).

What has been made clear from these events is that the political reporting and commentary on the Gillard Government and the Rudd-Gillard leadership contest indicates that the role of the Canberra Media Gallery has been one of actively shaping events.

This is done by the mechanism of:

the various factional players align themselves with various pundits and journalists, feeding them strategic information to pursue private agendas. Indeed, the distinction between political players and political pundits is now thinner than ever before, as media insiders and political insiders work in very similar ways.

The Gallery, of course denies this, by saying that they are merely reporting on events.

The denial is not persuasive. This is because we see the priorities and practices of commercial media, the consistent manipulation of images and quotes to fit a predetermined narrative, the ability to manufacture drama out of the tiniest sliver of on-camera tension, their indifference to the policy debate, the concentration on polls, of personalities, and the horse race narrative of Julia versus Kevin, the complete and utter disregard for truth or accurate representation and the construction of the public as consumers not citizens.

If these political events highlight how the media has effectively abandoned its role as the fourth estate, then they also show that the ALP's labourist kind of social democratic party with its deeply conservative trade union bureaucracy has little left to offer. It is pretty close to exhausted: the trade union base has withered; the decline in membership is dramatic; and it has lost a large chunk of its electoral Left flank to the Greens and its right flank to the Coalition. It increasingly has to rely ever more on preferences.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:03 AM | | Comments (13)


So the dogs bark and the caravan moves on. Can Rudd possibly reverse all the harm of the past three years cause by the civil war over the control of the ALP?

What will happen to the ALP if the polls, which promised a big Rudd bounce that makes Labor electorally competitive, turn out to be a chimera? Will it continue to fight for its policies? Or toss in the towel?

Rudd only has to campaign--not govern-- to save Labor from a historic wipeout.

Morgan Poll last night
COAL 50.5
ALP 49.5

Mind you that's early days, the media is yet to weave its magic du jour.

"The Labor caucus has ended the civil war between Gillard and Rudd by dumping Gillard and going with Rudd "

At the very least ALP party members should have a real say in who should be the leader.

In the UK, British Labour gives party members and trade unions a direct vote alongside parliamentarians.This three-part system is considerably more democratic than the federal Australian Labor Party.

I stay away from most mainstream media these days so can't really judge how much hostility to Gillard was gender-based. But I suspect a lot of the instinctive venom was not just on account of her being a woman, but also took into account the kind of woman she was. Unmarried, childless, strong working class accent - all calculated to bring out the worst in a certain kind of Australian.

None of that is to excuse the unreasoning prejudice of course, I only make the point to qualify the "It's all because she was a woman" argument. If she'd been to the right schools, married to a stockbroker with three lovely kids I am sure the public reaction would have been very different, even if her political behaviour had been exactly the same.

"The ALP's labourist kind of social democratic party with its deeply conservative trade union bureaucracy has little left to offer."

Rudd was, and is, an anti-union ALP leader determined to reduce their influence.

Pretty fair, although I think Rudd's presence may trigger public memories of the Meltdown evasion and other happier times- they can't grasp the significance of the esoterica of legislative jargon; maybe something broad-brush will help, provided ministers resigning doesn't ensure just the one party state this move has been instigated to avoid.
Just caught up with the Gillard resignation speech, an absolute stunner and the old Julia Gillard that we haven't seen for quite sometime.
It is ok for cabinet mnisters to resign: they will have money in the sack in spades, but what about the rest of us facing Austerity?

Addressing carbon pollution through Carbon pricing has claimed Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. The real solutions confront entrenched and powerful interests that are fighting to the death

Rudd replaces Gillard--its just more leadership churn.

In conversation with a bright young economist of my acquaintance as we watched the Night of Long Knives in real time, I was reminded of how the 2010 Gillard coup was based on the ALP's collapse in the polls following the mining tax debacle.

It was Julia who actually hoisted the white flag on the morrow of her success and whose new Govt. constructed the watered-down version which produces no revenue.

Gee, wouldn't it be nice if the resuscitated Rudd went back to the original version of the tax! But now he's saying the China boom is over, so I guess that's code for "No Way, Jose!"

It was a super profits tax. Super profits disappear when the demand for Australian iron ore and coal drops

The media have what they wanted.
An even battle with new story lines.
What do they want now? Drama.

OMG isnt therese looking plump..... And she once sat next to a lesbian on a bus.... Oooooooo!