Labor’s still got some serious bugs to work out
Whatever the illness was that hit her with a sudden and vengeful effect after she stepped off her plane in New York, it appeared to have passed. But just as the PM was showing stoic powers of recovery, Lindsay Tanner came along and spiked the Kool Aid again with his musings on what is wrong with the Labor Party.
While the PM and 140 word leaders were gathered at the United Nations talking about weapons of mass destruction, her colleagues back home were engaged in acts of self destruction.
As if anyone in Australia needed reminding about just how structurally dysfunctional federal Labor has become.
One man who knows better than anyone in Canberra about Labor’s propensity for flagellation is Bob Carr. He was also in New York helping the PM convince world leaders that Australia should be given a seat on the UN security council.
If any of them had bothered to read the Australian press this week, they may have thought twice about where their vote may go.
Whatever virtues Gillard may have argued before the great hall of the general assembly, none of which could be disputed, there are few countries in the developed world that engage in the internal antics this Government has made a hallmark of its governance.
In fact, there were very few officials here in New York who could make any sense of it. How can voters elect a leader and then allow the government to elect to remove them, is a question often asked.
Try telling them that some in the government are thinking of trying to do it again.
You have to wonder whether the Labor Party is infused with a dodgy gene that eats away at it like an ever-present tumor.
It doesn’t matter that Lindsay Tanner is probably right, the issue is why he has decided to tell everyone he thinks he is right, now.
Carr said if was time for senior figures in the Labor Party to stop offering gratuitous criticism.
This is what he said when asked about it in New York: “We went through a stage where every galah in a pet shop had an opinion about what was wrong with the Labor Party. Now I’m sick of that. I think the public is sick of it, we’ve got to talk about what the Labor Party has got right and there are a lot of things it’s got right in government and talk about what Tony Abbott and the Liberals have failed to do and got wrong.
“I think the Labor Party has been anatomised to the last fibre. Everyone has volunteered to say what’s wrong with the Labor Party.”
Everyone including Carr.
Carr was a key author of a post election report into what is wrong with the Labor Party. And before he became Foreign Minister, he was calling for its full release. Labor’s refusal to do this is surely a contributor to the constant self analysis that has endured since the 2010 election.
Carr said yesterday he stood by his call, despite the risk that it could simply bring the whole show down.
Carr also made an unintended comparison by backing former Premier Morris Iemma to make the move to federal politics.
He made the point that Iemma had been very poorly treated by his party when they dumped him over electricity privatisation.
Tanner was making the same point about Rudd, although both are clearly different personalities.
But both were executed by backroom players and a gutless Cabinet who used polling numbers to justify their decision. The hypocrisy in Tanner’s analysis is that he was in that Cabinet and he now appears to have changed his mind since the release of his last missives when he accused the cabinet of being a dysfunctional disaster under Rudd.
He now thinks this criticism, when delivered by others, is exaggerated.
This latest eruption of internal dissent underscores the fundamental problem facing the party - namely that it didn’t have a hard-wired agenda, other than obtaining power and staying in power when it came to office.
Labor appears to be in a constant state of internal dispute which can be linked back primarily to its structural ties with the trade union movement and the tribal nature of its organisation. When members of the tribe leave, like Tanner, they dump all over it.
Seriously, has Labor learned nothing from the disaster of NSW Labor? It’s not as if they were not given enough warning.
The undeniable reality is that the rot that has infected the soul of the party started to set in when Iemma was dumped for pursuing a policy that he believed with honesty had Labor values at its core. It was the self interest of the Labor patronage club that destroyed him.
Federal Labor could not inoculate itself against the NSW disease - because it already had it. It just lay dormant.
So when the bruvvers and their parliamentary benefactors - and beneficiaries - removed Iemma they changed the rules and said that it was okay to have their internal disputes in government. Why anyone in Labor thinks this sort of navel gazing is a good idea, or more importantly good for the country, is an absolute mystery.
Clearly it only makes sense to those who are members of the ALP.
Comments on this post will expire at 8pm AEST.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…