Honestly, I’ve not got much to say – I’ve been shocked by the lack of judgement or restraint shown all round. There simply doesn’t seem to be enough people there willing to calm down and keep their eye on the electoral numbers and just get on with governing, which up until last week I really thought they’d been doing reasonably well.
I just wish Labor as a party could put more people into Parliament who know how to tell their arse from their elbow. Living in a country where all but one polling organisation is owned by a media conglomerate doesn’t help either, of course – the blatant self-interest in their talking up the significance of mid-term voting intentions is clear.
Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, parties and factions
I have to say I disagree with this sentiment. I agree with you that we live in fairly uninspiring times politically, and I have found both Gillard and Rudd disappointing PMs, and the prospect of an Abbott PM truly awful.. but I see this current stoush as the first sign of hope in a long time that the ALP can pull themselves free of noise and test properly whether they’ve got any ideas about governing.
They got rid of Rudd for really good reasons. And once moved on he has done nothing but white ant his own side – he almost capsized their election campaign and he has destabilized a very vulnerable minority government since. Granted, it would be difficult to move on quietly if you were in his position and hard to see an ambition like that lost.. but moving on in such circumstances is the only right thing to do.
I found it very disturbing to watch the Government pretend there was unity when there wasn’t. Worst of all, this farce has helped make Gillard into the insincere, unbelievable figure she is today. She couldn’t afford to get angry with Rudd, as a leader rightfully should do when someone in their own team is threatening their survival like that, because she risked frightening the public, who were already nervous about their first female leader and uncomfortable with the way in which she had got there. So, she has stuck to this increasingly implausible and lifeless line of “getting on with the job”.
I think people sensed the humiliation of her being a leader in the position of copping so many attacks on the chin and not fighting back – it looked weak, it looked false and it looked kind of guilty. That situation further undermined Gillard. Finally, Rudd has done something so hostile and so public that they can take the risk in fighting back properly. And thank heavens they are fighting back. It is something we have long needed – Gillard and her supporters thought Rudd was so bad that he had to be taken out, well then, let’s hear it, let’s hear how bad he is, why he couldn’t be kept around any longer, there are good reasons and the public needs to know them. Gillard and her supporters were strong enough to mobilise and take Rudd out, the public saw that for themselves, well good, let’s see some of that strength now, let’s see what makes them powerful enough to be in charge.
You want your governing party to have a strong leader and you want them to make unpopular decisions for good reasons… this is the first chance the public may get to see that.
I only have two hesitations – can the ALP do this properly (public brawls bring enormous pressure with them and this could so easily spiral out of control – so, kill, and kill quickly) and will the public punish them simply because it’s conflict and they don’t feel comfortable with conflict (much the same way that family members can attack one of their own for ‘rocking the boat’ when that person finally confronts an ongoing, festering, passive aggressive emotional assault from another in the family)?
If executed properly, Gillard will finally be free of the Rudd-shackles and in that state, she is probably a match for Abbott… I think this is our best hope in a long time of holding off a PM Abbott.
Thanks for providing some analysis and some counterpoints, blue milk! I don’t have much to disagree with in what you wrote. Perhaps nuking Rudd from orbit really is the only way that the party can properly move on, I just wish they had a more coherent idea of where they’re going.
“I just wish they had a more coherent idea of where they’re going”.
Hahaha. Yes, tigtog, that’s indeed a problem.
I too think this could be the only way to get out of a bad situation. Having watched Gillard’s press conference in full, i think she was clear, forceful, and articulate. I found myself wanting to cheer for her in a way that i haven’t really since she became PM. Reminded me why, when she was DPM that it was so universally assumed that she was the natural successor, not just a compromise candidate (c.f. Julie Bishop as dep opp leader). I hope we see more of strong, in command, bullshit free Gillard in the coming days (and hopefully months), because that might just be enough to save us from Abbott. Hoping, hoping.
I think Gillard has the substantial advantage of having an experienced ministry largely on her side. Rudd may as an individual be electorally popular, but I don’t really think he has the capability to form an electable front bench that actually supports him, (or even a front bench that will satisfy the independents). For someone who’s historically not been a team player, that’s a killer.
When Julia Gillard was elected, my daughter and her friends ran around the school oval shouting, “We’ve got a female Prime Minister!” They were so pleased, and so was I. And then I watched in dismay as she was systematically undermined.
She h managed to cobble together a coalition that has worked since the 2010 election. That is a huge achievement in itself. And she has gotten some very significant policies through in that time. Now that I’m back in NZ, I’m not up with the daily play of Australian federal politics, but I have watched her mange her unlikely coalition with incredible skill.
I hope she gets a huge endorsement from the caucus.
Find myself agreeing with blue milk and MsLaurie very strongly. I loved watching Julia Gillard this morning with a strong, clear message and a dash of rage.
I hope you are right Bluemilk. I also hope that the Real Julia we saw on the news tonight is interesting enough to the media to get some cut through.
Another one here hoping bluemilk is right and also that Gillard wins!
We know Rudd can put on a good face to appeal, pre-election, to the populace. The question is: is less than two years sufficient to change personality so that, once in power, he is not a total control freak? I, for one, doubt it.
Gillard has shown she can lead a government that gets things done, partly because she knows how to delegate. I don’t trust Rudd to be able to do the same.
The media must be thrilled, they’ve been working for months to have this happen!
When all this started the other day, my feelings were “I don’t care which one of them is PM anymore; I’d vote for either and I’m scared they’re handing the next election to Tony Abbott with a ribbon on top.” Since then, though, I’ve come around to a position much more like the one Blue Milk outlined above.
I’m thinking that if the Labor caucus is still so firmly behind Gillard, in spite of what all the polls say, there must be a very good reason for that. And there is something rather admirable in their willingness to vote for what is right rather than for the ability to win an election. (Though I do hope they still have a chance of winning. The idea of Abbott as PM gives me chills.)
While I can understand where @bluemilk is coming from, I have to agree with tigtog’s dismay at the top: I reckon they are fucking it up, and it is just pushing us inexoraby towards Tony Abbott.
For me, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong here — both the Gillard and Rudd tribes don’t seem willing/able to recognise that their real opponent is Abbott, and that by going at each other this way they are going to destroy everything that they have achieved. I did like Phillip Adams’ summation last night, when he said that “and on Monday, the Labor lemmings will have a choice of two cliffs to jump off’.
Watching Rudd on TV this morning it seems there are no lengths he won’t go to to destroy Gillard and the Labor party with her.
I said for months on another pollie blog that the reason Rudd was removed was because his colleagues couldn’t stand him, but was always met with denials. It was perhaps naive of me to think that those same colleagues coming out and saying exactly that would change their minds, but I was surprised by the vitriol it has engendered. I haven’t said I told you so, I’m not that silly.
This is certainly fascinating though, a magnificent clash of the egos. I hope that this creates the phoenix to rise from the ashes of the Labor party – it has needed something for a while. I just hope that the phoenix is Julia.
Failing that I hope that the media turns the relentless spotlight onto PM Abbott – if we get that far and someone in the Liberal party doesn’t challenge for the top job, although at the moment why would they?
I really hope this does give Julia and the Labor party a new start.
I don’t understand why there’s this narrative that KR’s super-popular. His colleagues acted on their dislike because the polls were dismal. Not as bad Julia’s had it – but she’s obviously a really good pollie in the corridors and within the team, whereas all KR ever had, briefly, was the public so the Labor party held their breath and put up with him.
Polls about ‘who would you prefer’ are usually bullshit – when someone’s not in the role, people just imagine how they might be, not how they are.
And that’s ignoring people making trouble when pollsters call. I’ve never been asked, but if I was, I probably wouldn’t be honest if I actually thought a Lib leader was doing a good job – I’d just lie to undermine them.
And can someone in the media call Kevin out on the use of the word ‘coup’? He didn’t even contest the vote when challenged – it was an orderly transition within the rules of his own party.
He’s just whinging ‘cos he lost. He and Abbot should form a club and spend the next 6 months in a treehouse telling each other how unfair it all is.
They got rid of Rudd because he was being absolutist about getting the mining tax through…and he would have succeeded. The mining magnates (who the left always claim to despise) leaned on the unions and forced their hand. Out goes Rudd and the mining tax. The resource rent tax, like most of the legislation recently pushed through, is so watered down and compromised from the original that it’s a joke. A half baked job is not an accomplishment – it’s still half baked.
The current personal attacks are to cover up the leaning on that occurred. Labor have to recognise that it’s not the union heavyweights that vote them in, it’s the Australian middle class.
Hearing right-wing grumpy old Labor men and women going personal when anyone who is truly inside Labor knows that it was Linsay Tanner who caused the leaks at the last election (he was leaving on principle over the Rudd dismissal so nothing to lose) and that Rudd was removed due to pressure from the mining magnates.
These the same mining magnates who are now buying Fairfax and Channel 10 to push their right-wing agenda without a whimper from the Labor government. Sadly the “left” media are too scared to call this out even though the Australian public smell a rat and can’t quite figure out what it is.