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Labor set to Languish in the Political Wilderness for Decades

September 9, 2013

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One thing that Labor could have learnt from its monumental defeat on Saturday is that it must renew its organisational structure if it is to regain any hope of being a relevant and powerful force in the future.

Early signs suggest it is incapable of making this transformation.

Around 5.4 million Australians voted for Labor in Kevin Rudd’s victory in 2007. By contrast, a mere 3.6 million voted for the party on Saturday.

On election night, many Labor MPs blamed the disunity of the Gillard-Rudd years for the party’s downfall, but others suggested that Labor’s problems run deeper. So much so, that some senior party figures are calling for a dramatic reduction in union influence.

The Labor Party primary vote fell by 4.1 per cent to 33.8 per cent, which according to Labor historian Rodney Cavalier is its lowest vote since 1903.

It was only the compulsory preferential voting system that saved the party from complete disaster.

Mr Cavalier has called for substantial reforms, including introducing a judicial review of party decisions, so that candidates could not be parachuted in on a whim, as happened in Queensland with Peter Beattie.

Mr Cavalier has also called for an end to the power of the Unions in controlling the party.

He said Unions were only as good as their leaders, and unlike in the past, almost no contemporary union bosses had risen from the ranks.

“I don’t take seriously the claims of those who claim to speak for the working class when they themselves have never shorn a sheep or gone down a mine or hammered a nail on a construction site,” he said.

However the early indications are that Labor will squib on this post-election opportunity to reinvent itself.

Australian Workers’ Union national secretary Paul Howes is tipped to become a Labor Senator, filling a vacancy to be created by the expected resignation of Bob Carr.

Senator Carr, the former NSW premier who until Saturday was the minister for foreign affairs, is expected to announce his resignation from the Senate following Labor’s election loss on Saturday.

He is still overseas after having represented Australia over the weekend at the G20 leaders’ meeting in St Petersburg, Russia.

Mr Howes, a leading figure in the NSW Labor Right faction, has been strongly urged to fill the vacancy and is understood to be keen.

He would join his friend and NSW Labor colleague, Sam Dastyari, who recently quit as NSW ALP general secretary to enter the Senate. Mr ­Dastyari filled the casual vacancy created when Matt Thistlethwaite contested the seat of Kingsford-Smith, held previously for Labor by Peter Garrett.

Another Union lackey Bill Shorten, a potential candidate for the Labor leadership is unlikely to dismantle the current structure of Union power and influence.

Shorten is a strong backer of unions and their role in the party after being elevated to the federal parliament with the backing of the Australian Workers Union.

 

 

 

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50 Comments leave one →
  1. Walrus permalink
    September 9, 2013 12:56 pm

    The ALP will continue to parachute its favourites into seats as usual and will cop another flogging come next election.

    People are not stupid in regard to who is their local member. They want someone of substance to vote for

    We saw that with the rejection of Beattie and the guy Rudd dropped into Howard’s old seat of Bennelong and on the LNP side the rejection of that idiot Jamie Diaz in the seat of Greenway which should have been a certain win for the LNP.

  2. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 9, 2013 1:41 pm

    Paul Howes is a bogan. He’ll do well as an ALP senator.

    NSW could never find a place for Warren Mundine, but Howes is assured of a career.

  3. Walrus permalink
    September 9, 2013 1:57 pm

    Warren Mundine was brainwashed by Murdoch ya know……….Just like the entire electorate. And I’m quite happy for the delusional Lefties over at certain blogs to keep blaming it all on Murdoch. It will serve to keep them out of Office for a decade at least.

    “…………Mr Mundine, who admits he voted Liberal for the first time on Saturday and was at Tony Abbott’s victory event on Saturday night, said the party needed to better reflect the communities it represented. He said candidates should be elected by a vote of rank-and-file members who were registered on the electoral rolls in that electorate to make branch stacking more difficult…………….”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/election-2013/labor-betrayed-me-and-the-working-class-mundine/story-fn9qr68y-1226714821478

  4. September 9, 2013 1:58 pm

    Why would Warren Mundine want anything to do with the ALP now that Tony Abbott has offered him a real job where he can make a real difference for indigenous people?

  5. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 9, 2013 3:22 pm

    The ALP would be wise to allow Abbott to repeal the carbon tax, the MRRT and introduce the PPL policies.

    I think the ALP is suffering a HUGE crisis of confidence with the electorate. If it looks obstructive in opposition on these issues, it will be punished with ever increasing unpopularity.

  6. egg permalink
    September 9, 2013 3:30 pm

    I agree ToM, as the PM said, it would be suicide for the ALP to be obstructionist.

  7. September 9, 2013 3:32 pm

    I agree with you as well Tom 😉

  8. September 9, 2013 3:36 pm

    I heard Christine Milne on ABC News this morning attempting to explain that the massive hammering they received in the polls was an indication of voter dissatisfaction with the major parties.

    I’d like to know what drugs she’s on. 😯

  9. Neil of Sydney permalink
    September 9, 2013 3:36 pm

    Wouldn’t it be a conflict of interest nightmare if Shorten became Opposition leader??

    Since the GG is the mother-in-law of Shorten, if the GG needs to intervene in some dispute between the govt and Opposition people will think she may side with her son-in-law.

  10. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 9, 2013 3:54 pm

    Christine Milne is apparentfy ignorant of the fact that the disaffected now have a multitude of choices.

    Even nutcases have their own party in Clive.
    =====
    The GG does have a (perceived) conflict of interest now. She should go.

  11. Evil Walrus permalink
    September 9, 2013 3:55 pm

    The Liberals in NSW are still whingeing about the Liberal Democrats on the Seanate ticket.

    The Liberals don’t own the word “Liberal” just as the ALP does not own the word “Labor”.

    24 hours and nothing has happened. This is shaping up as the worst do nothing government in our history.

    We need a new election.

  12. Evil Walrus permalink
    September 9, 2013 3:57 pm

    2 journalists (a dutch and a yank) have arrived by boat at Christmas Island.

    At least they have tourist visas

    Is this the new policy ?

  13. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 9, 2013 4:08 pm

    “Even nutcases have their own party in Clive.”

    As well as the Greens, the Shooters and the Sex Party.

  14. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 9, 2013 4:34 pm

    Labor won’t languish for decades. Oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them. Once the people are sick of a government the people will elect anyone, even an Abbott. It may not take long at all for Abbott to lose the confidence of the people.

    Like most voters I’m prepared to give him a chance. But if he doesn’t deliver, if he breaks his promises, if his party is beleaguered by sleaze and corruption to which he turns a blind eye, if he is overwhelmed by hubris or if he doesn’t make a serious attempt to get the economy in order then he the public will turf him out soon enough.

  15. egg permalink
    September 9, 2013 4:47 pm

    ‘We need a new election.’

    Be careful what you wish for.

  16. TB Queensland permalink
    September 9, 2013 6:10 pm

    Very interesting thread, sreb … and probably reflects what most of us feel about the party we once supported …

    Your highlight comments forme were:

    Mr Cavalier has also called for an end to the power of the Unions in controlling the party.

    The single most difficult issue facing the ALP without doubt!

    “I don’t take seriously the claims of those who claim to speak for the working class when they themselves have never shorn a sheep or gone down a mine or hammered a nail on a construction site,” he said.

    As a past AMWU member (who worked in overalls not a shirt and tie!) I heartily agree!

    However the early indications are that Labor will squib on this post-election opportunity to reinvent itself.

    And that’s the REAL reason Rudd was politically assassinated by Julia Gillard and the union factions … and got little union support in this election …

    Australian Workers’ Union national secretary Paul Howes is tipped to become a Labor Senator, filling a vacancy to be created by the expected resignation of Bob Carr.

    Howes and his kind are like a virus eating the heart out of the ALP …

    Mr Howes, a leading figure in the NSW Labor Right faction, has been strongly urged to fill the vacancy and is understood to be keen.

    See above … my understanding is that Howes sees himself as a potential PM … good luck Mr Piggy!

    Another Union lackey Bill Shorten, a potential candidate for the Labor leadership is unlikely to dismantle the current structure of Union power and influence.

    Yep, I had a Lib supporter telling me that Shorten would be a great LOTO today … little do they understand the history here …

    Having said that … people ought remember that the “new” government is the “old” Liberal Government — without an overt John Howard … his smell lingers behind all the staged events that Abbott & The Acolytes attend …

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I’d like to know what drugs she’s on.

    Marijuana, silly …

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Since the GG is the mother-in-law of Shorten, if the GG needs to intervene in some dispute between the govt and Opposition people will think she may side with her son-in-law.

    We should simply get rid of the GG andbecome a Republic …

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And following from , sb’s comments above, the Liberal Party will have their own (Thommo) court cases comimg up next year too!

    Brough, Pyne, Ashby, Slipper etc …

  17. September 9, 2013 6:42 pm

    Strongly agree with splatter @ 4:34, especially…”Oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them.”

    Politics is very cyclical. I’m quite willing to give Abbott the initial benefit of the doubt.

  18. Walrus permalink
    September 9, 2013 6:44 pm

    If you have the time this is a fascinating insight into the Liberal Party HQs campaign. Its quite lengthy.

    http://www.afr.com/p/national/how_kevin_rudd_campaign_unravelled_MUATc7semL7gLrK69U2OvN

    Rudd sitting on the backbench is like keeping a venomous snake in your house. You always need to be careful and on guard

    They should sack him from the Party so he cannot attend caucus meetings or he’ll start leaking again

  19. September 9, 2013 6:52 pm

    I hope you are right Splatter, but I cant see the cycle of politics turning so quickly…

    Look at the state of Labor in NSW… A complete and UTTER DISGRACE!

    They need a deep and thorough clean-out across the nation, and the fact that Shorten is likely to be leader suggests that this isn’t going to happen anytime soon…

  20. September 9, 2013 7:08 pm

    I agree with TB, walrus & reb too!

    Only the rusted-ons are despairing like it’s the end of the world.

    Thinking people are pragmatic about it all.

    The ALP would do well to take its medicine & learn its lessons…

  21. IPA permalink
    September 9, 2013 8:46 pm

    It Looks like David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party will be a NSW Senator.

    Couldn’t hurt.

  22. Ol' Sancty permalink
    September 9, 2013 8:51 pm

    I wonder whether it’s not so much the ALP that needs to reinvent itself, so much as the Union movement. When you look at it, this whole Labor parachuting favourites into seats etc is merely a reflection of what’s happening at trade union level.

    I can’t really think of a workers’ Party which would work without the backing of a trade union movement of sorts. And I think the nation needs both. But it’s got to be true to itself. You just can’t have them being used as vehicles to hold business to ransom and to groom politicians.

    You can’t have Union Secretaries using the credit card on hookers and claiming he did nothing wrong. You can’t have Union Secretaries setting up Associations for the purpose of receiving payoffs for industrial peace whilst at the same time exposing his members to asbestos on the Western Ring Road.

    At a lot of sporting clubs they have a rule that you can only be President for 3 years. Maybe they should write that into trade union constitutions. Who knows? But you can’t have an effective workers’ party without an effective movement behind it. And I think you need to have an effective workers’ party.

  23. IPA permalink
    September 9, 2013 8:58 pm

    LDP Senator-elect speaks to Neil Mitchell*.

    *Mitchell catches himself arguing against Leyonhjelm’s policies and sort-of apoligises, saying “I don’t want to debate you”. But he does anyway.

  24. egg permalink
    September 9, 2013 9:25 pm

    Yeah, I like him.

    ”Looks like I’m going to be the senator for the donkeys,” he said.

  25. IPA permalink
    September 9, 2013 9:43 pm

    Q&A tweet: “Won’t someone think of the motoring enthusiasts?”

    Very droll.

  26. IPA permalink
    September 9, 2013 10:28 pm

    Tanya Plibersek’s tongue clicking, eye rolling defence of the outgoing government’s “legacy” puts a nice exclamation mark on the problem with Labor. They just don’t GET IT, do they.

  27. September 9, 2013 10:30 pm

    Nup…

  28. egg permalink
    September 9, 2013 10:36 pm

    Political animals are far removed from us ordinary folk.

  29. Walrus' View from his Deathstar permalink
    September 9, 2013 10:36 pm

    Bruce Hawker didn’t like the “New Way” slogan

    Yep they think it was their slogan that stuffed them.

    They still don’t get it

  30. IPA permalink
    September 9, 2013 10:41 pm

    Labor was a good government, just unlucky. Plus, MURDOCH!

  31. IPA permalink
    September 9, 2013 10:43 pm

    Bowen and co still want to make smarmy, sarcastic comments. That’ll endear ’em to an electorate that just THREW THEM OUT!

  32. IPA permalink
    September 9, 2013 10:44 pm

    (Sorry for shouting, it’s all this change-of-government excitement.)

  33. September 10, 2013 7:05 am

    Read as…”Tony Abbott (most likely to be ably abetted by the ALP) seeks to eliminate choice and diversity of opinion & ensure the monopoly of the two Majors is strengthened, while pesky ‘minor’ Partys whom they might have to compromise with are undermined, weakened & preferably eradicated”…

    http://www.news.com.au/national-news/federal-election/tony-abbott-wants-voting-ways-to-change/story-fnho52ip-1226715437034

    It’s just not acceptable to have realistic options which preclude the ALP & Coalition!

  34. September 10, 2013 9:18 am

    Julie Bishop not even sworn in as FM and she is already being spiteful and vindictive…

    http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/former-premier-steve-bracks-sacked-by-julie-bishop-in-vindictive-decision-20130910-2tgtp.html

  35. September 10, 2013 9:21 am

    I can Assure you as a party reformist, there is a larger group of people across caucus across the divide and outside the union movement who are going to slam caucus over the next twelve months. We will be airing lots of dirty laundry and it will get very very ugly.

    Paul Howse is Costa’s protege and Short man will lead the party over our dead bodies.
    That senate seat is a revolving door of the revolting. Arbib, the architect of all the Labor treasury, fucks off and works for Packer in comes Carr (Dr Evil his old boss) in in walks Howes a fucking fascist crownie that would make Abbott look moderate.

    Tanya Pliebesek is the best option but she does not want it. Labor will change leaders after the battle to regain the party is won. The Fiberal will love it. I personally don’t give a fuck about that as people will see through the lies as it all unfolds.

    Broken Promises Number 1..:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/asylum-seekers-intercepted-north-of-darwin/story-fn3dxiwe-1226714751238

  36. September 10, 2013 9:24 am

    Treachery… fuck Jonestown if he was running the budget… Lots of axes to grid with Arbib… See maroubra town house and moses Obied…

  37. September 10, 2013 9:29 am

  38. Walrus permalink
    September 10, 2013 10:11 am

    “Broken Promises Number 1..:”

    I suggest you come back in a week loser as the ALP is still the government in caretaker mode until the LNP is sworn in. You see Rudd only advised the GG yesterday that he no longer had control in the HoR.

    So for one more time I can say it………………….

    “Another Day Another Boat Another Policy Disaster”

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………………..wow that felt good

  39. Meta permalink
    September 10, 2013 10:28 am

    (One must assume, I guess, that a post-loss-yet-somehow-still-gloating Kevin, who wasn’t thrown out by an electorate, will be well-behaved, and not up to ol’ white-anting tricks, for three years, in the face of, or behind the back of, a mandated Tony.)

  40. Walrus permalink
    September 10, 2013 10:38 am

    Kevin is doing a “I’m here if you need me and if the LNP is confronted by an unlikely political disaster threatening its re-election” you can be sure that Kev will start pushing his way through to the head of the queue again.

    I can hear it now

    “My name’s Kevin and I’m here to help”

  41. Walrus permalink
    September 10, 2013 10:45 am

    Its difficult to feel too sorry for Steve Bracks when his May appointment was made after an election date had been announced.

    Although I imagine his pension is too inadequate to afford him the luxury of an apartment in downtown NY if he really wants to visit. LOL

  42. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 10, 2013 10:53 am

    Bracks was just another Unionland good ole boy being looked after by the ALP machine. Indeed it is hard to feel sorry for him. The Libs should roll back as many of these sinecures as is possible. The real question is who the Libs will appoint to replace him. That will tell us a lot about the bona fides of the new government.

  43. September 10, 2013 11:09 am

    Tim Dunlop will launch his new book tomorrow…

    http://www.readings.com.au/event/tim-dunlop-book-launch

  44. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 10, 2013 11:23 am

    Maybe it is slowly sinking in to Labor that their opportunistic decision to bring Rudd back to save the furniture has consequences. Now O’Connor has joined the chorus demanding he quit. Emerson seems to understand:You should never reward treachery and what happened is that the parliamentary Labor Party by a majority rewarded Kevin Rudd’s treachery and we saw the consequences. His treachery should never be rewarded again.

    The election was a disaster for Labor and Kevin Rudd’s continuing presence in the parliamentary Labor Party will see him do what he has always done and that is willingly, wilfully, recklessly destabilise Labor leaders.

    It’s always been about Kevin. It hasn’t been about the parliamentary Labor Party, it hasn’t been about Labor values, it’s always been about Kevin. Always has been, always will be.

    Sadly, I was taken in by it all. I believed that the Grandiose Narcissist had changed. Two weeks out from the election it was clear that he hadn’t changed at all. In his “concession” speech he showed us what an vain delusional prick he is. The tragedy is that he could have won the election if he had even an iota of self-reflection which might have caused him to learn from his mistakes. The mistake of the ALP was to invite the arsonist who set fire to the house to help save the furniture.

    An even bigger mistake will be for the union hacks who control the party to claim that Rudd’s excesses vindicate their control of the party. They probably think that Australians will welcome the likes of Dastyari and Howes into parliament. For Labor to re-invigorate itself it needs to be rid, not only of Rudd, but also of the pestilent union grubs infesting the party superstructure.

  45. Neil of Sydney permalink
    September 10, 2013 11:32 am

    What does that say about Labor?? They put him back as PM because they thought he could win them an election.

  46. Ol' Sancty permalink
    September 10, 2013 11:41 am

    Neil. It says plenty. Particularly given other “leaders” have been Gillard and Latham. They knew the dirty laundry. They knew the characters of the people. Yet they were still willing to put these people forward as potential and actual leaders of our country. No doubt the retort will be “well look at the Coalition and Abbott”. Clearly I hold a different view to many about Abbott and we shall see in time. But if the Libs had returned to Turnbull, I would have said that represented a comparable thirst for power at any cost.

  47. September 10, 2013 11:51 am

    “For Labor to re-invigorate itself it needs to be rid, not only of Rudd, but also of the pestilent union grubs infesting the party superstructure.”

    Hear hear!

    Rudd really needs to go… I can’t see him sitting quietly on the sidelines for another three years..

    He should go back to sorting the other boys’ socks.

  48. September 10, 2013 11:52 am

    “But if the Libs had returned to Turnbull, I would have said that represented a comparable thirst for power at any cost.”

    That’s a good point.

    But they’re all power hungry at the end of the day really…

    Why else would they do it.

  49. Neil of Sydney permalink
    September 10, 2013 12:00 pm

    There was actually a lot of pressure to make Turnbull leader. Usually from people who would never vote for the Coalition. But i think Turnbull has some characteristics of Rudd. he would destabilise the party.

    But based on what Emerson has just said, he put the interests of his party ahead of the country.

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