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148 responses to “What to do about Julia and Kevin? Magical thinking and politics”

  1. Lefty E

    Yeah. Dennis Altman wrote a pretty good piece in the Oz on what is to be done. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/prime-minister-displays-grace-under-pressure/story-e6frgd0x-1226263162969

    Its really time for the ALP to demolish Abbott. he’s vulnerable, and if the press ever got off its lazy arse and took him to town as they do Gillard, he wouldnt last half as long or well as she has.

    But the problems is the party is too dysfunctional, and incapbale of unity. Gillard cant ask for solidarity in good consicence, having shown none to a first term leader herself (very different to Keatings’ open challenge on a long term PM). And frankly, I get a strong scent of ‘the Ruddstoration’ as a phantom vehicle for other contenders for the leadership. I have my eye on Shorto particularly, though Kim is probably right about Crean too.

    Shorto reckons his shot at the Lodge looks like this: sponsor Gillard to down Rudd, create trouble about the Ruddstoration, lose govt to Abbott (so deranged he’s an excellent chance to be a one-termer if he even makes it to election day) become oppo leader, then PM.

    I got $50 says this: a clear majority of the anon specualtion about the Ruddstoration does not come from the Rudd camp itself.

  2. patrickg

    Couldn’t agree more. The whole thing is just so unedifying and it adroitly demonstrates the utter, unmitigated stupidity of dumping Rudd in the first place.

    God knows the polls are intellectually bankrupt, but has Gillard ever polled higher than Rudd’s lowest rating? These power-hungry, self-obssessed bastards of the Right – and I include Gillard in that, she could have said no – are reaping the whirlwind; Gillard’s actions in office (quite respectable, imho, and realistically I don’t think so different from what a Rudd govt would have ultimately done) will not be able to effect the necessary turn-around. It boggles the mind they – and she – could ever have thought it was a good idea. They voted him out based on personality without a shit for what was good for the party or country, and blithely assumed everyone would swallow their nutritionless pap – and they had the temerity to accuse Rudd of arrogance!

    If Shorten becomes leader, I swear to god…

  3. joe2

    “And as if to cap off this risibility, Speaker Peter Slipper plans to get his wig and frock on to lend dignity to these tawdry proceedings.”

    Kim, I would not believe one word of that obviously concocted piece by Steve Lewis if I was you. Even if Slipper does not seem to be the most likeable fellow that is a classic beat up / attack dog story with not even an iota of a solid source to back it up.

  4. Lefty E

    God knows the polls are intellectually bankrupt, but has Gillard ever polled higher than Rudd’s lowest rating?

    I’m for moving on to defeat Abbott, and a great fan of the 2010 election outcome and minority govt – but yes, this is a most apposite point. The ALP should never be allowed to forget it.

  5. paul walter

    And of course, if ever there was an example of Magical thinking, it would be in the concept that the ceremonial cross-dressings and intonations of the Speaker could remotely offer a way out of the morass.
    Rudd ought to be hung as surely as Santamaria should have been, for keeping this destabilisng nonsense going.
    No opportunity for implementing one’s ideals through the right application of policy and legislation- and at an exponentialy higher salary- when one has consigned oneself and one’s rightly resentful colleagues, to the opposition benches.

  6. mikey

    Here’s how to solve the problem – go like the Rabbitohs and have co-captains. Rudd and Gillard together. Or maybe we could have no Prime Minister. Frankly, who cares. I’m tired of the Right using the media to bend this government over and f*ck it up the arse. I’m tired of the Left watching it happen and tut-tuting at all the rude bits on display.

    Here’s what needs to happen. The Left needs to wake from its stupor and attack the morons of the Right. No more navel-gazing, no more analyses or rebuttals of idiotic speculation. Just a hard-up attack on Abbott and the dangerous dinosaurs in his party, the wreckers, the liars, the clueless, the say-anything imbeciles that are getting a free ride in the press. Don’t even acknowledge the vacuous blatherings of the Right about leadership or waste or boats or taxes or leakers. It’s the worst circus sideshow in the history of this country’s politics.

    I don’t want to read another article in any Leftist media about the perceived weaknesses of the Left. Have you ever read a negative post on Catallaxy about the Libs? Oh sure, there as crazy as batsh!t over there, and we’re all so civil and sensible and even-handed over here… but who’s narrative dominates the media?

    Fight back, damnit!

  7. Roger Jones

    I want a pm with a progressive narrative – and a pony

  8. patrickg

    I suppose on the bright side, Labor are doing so badly now, that as a vote approaches and it inevitable gets closer, the media will dutifully report on “comebacks” “turn-arounds” etc.

  9. Sam

    I want a pm with a progressive narrative – and a pony

    I want a PM that does progressive things. I don’t care whether the PM has a pony.

  10. Legal Eagle

    Federal politics is an absolute train wreck at the moment, with neither party focusing on the issues that actually concern voters. The Labor Party is incapable of sustaining any sort of narrative about the country, as it appears (accurately) to be obsessed about its own internal dilemmas and polls.

    So glad it’s not just me who thinks this!!!

  11. Howard Cunningham

    It’s all well and good to say it’s now time for the ALP to “defeat Abbott”, and it’s also all well and good to list the Government’s considerable legislative achievments.

    But they can’t get out of bed without doing something stupid. The Australia Day thing is simple knucklehead politics that even the most inexperienced staffer should have known better than to enable.

    What makes you think, after 18 months of silly, undergraduate mistakes, which have solidified a public perception of the lunatics running the asylum (despite an impressive list of legislation passed through an almost unprecedented hung parliament), that anything will change?

    Abbott’s last speech was his first of the next election campaign. He’s got two really good chances to defeat the government on the floor of the house and cause an early election (if Gillard knew more about the Australia Day plans, and the Thomson stuff), and he’s moving into election mode.

    Either way, should be fun, fun, fun today in Canberra. More fun if a wig is involved.

  12. joe2

    Howard, the only “knucklehead politics” on Australia Day was Abbott’s proposal to end the tent embassy, 40 years to the day of it’s establishment, and intentionally stir up racial tensions. He is not fit to govern because his aim is always to divide.

  13. Mindy

    @patrickg – Rudd micromanaged them into the ground and turned the media off early in his PMship. He’s not coming back.

  14. patrickg

    Thanks for that Mindy, now you’ve ruled on it I know it must be true.

    and turned the media off early in his PMship.

    Are you kidding me? One of the most regular criticisms of his time in office was his obsessive media management.

  15. Fine

    Rudd should have stood his ground on the carbon tax and gone for an early 2010 election, before he drastically lost popularity.

    What is astounding is that Labor has never received any credit for the good stuff it’s done, such as avoiding an economic meltdown in the GFC. Gillard has continued what Rudd started here.

  16. Link

    That’s funny Roger. A pony. I concur, I think being seen riding around on a pony/horse would do wonders for anyone’s polling.

    Kim is it crystal clear? Why?

    A friend of mine was saying as much the other day. “Gillard’s gorn”. He also conceded that it was partially her gender, but didn’t mention anything about the fairness or otherwise of this. More of a — that’s the way it is for women, so suck eggs lassie. I sniffed a new twist on the front in the gender war (between he and I) where he smugly, as opposed to guiltily, acknowledges that women do not get treated fairly but that this is just the way it is. So bad luck and suck it up. Not so sure why he has to feel either guilt or smugness to concede gender imbalances. I don’t wonder that he’s gotten tired of feeling guilty but needs to feel something that will justify or assuage some sense of collective male burden.

    I have been ignoring Federal Politics, because nothing ‘seems’ to have been happening and I’ve just assumed this latest round of leadership speculation is the usual media beat-up.

    Gillard could be a bit of a Black Knight, Penny Wong who I would’ve pegged as a fairly tough cookie, said Julia was far more resilient than she. I don’t doubt most of us would have run screaming into the bush by now.

  17. Chris Harper

    Bob Brown is surely right to say that Julia Gillard has been on the receiving end of rapid fire volleys of sexism and misogyny

    Surely right? Volleys?

    I’m aware of Bob browns assertions on the matter, but under questioning by Emma Alberici, who asked a number of times for specifics, Senator Brown was able to provide only one example. Loads of vague allegations, but remarkably few facts.

    Can anyone provide examples over the one provided by the good Senator, the poster labeling Ms Gillard as a witch, of this avalanche of mysogeny and sexism being used to discredit her? Or is this just an attempt to smear her critics, to discredit those who criticize her policies by claiming they are motivated by sexism?

    BTW, I doubt one or two obscure examples would amount to evidence of rapid fire volleys. Kim, you made the assertion, justify it.

  18. adrian

    Plausible deniability – Abbott’s got it down to a fine art.
    The Australia Day ‘thing’ was simply a massive beat up if ever there was one.
    Call in the AFP, the CIA, MI5 or 6, Interpol, the UN.

    The Federal Opposition and the Conberra Press Gallery together plummet new depths on a weekly basis.

    One small thing that I’d do, would be to take Keating’s advice and have no one from the ALP front Q&A while the smirking charlatan Tony Jones and assorted IPA types run the show. No matter how articulate an ALP minister happens to be, they never get a fair go either from the audience’s pre arranged questions, the supercilious Jones or most of the other panellists. A complete and utter waste of time.

  19. Chris Harper

    joe2 @ 12

    Everyone is aware that that was the smear put around by the Prime Ministers staff at the time, but I am not aware of anyone, bar you, who still believes it. Not even Ms Gillard.

    If I am wrong, can you provide the quote which justifies your claim?

  20. patrickg

    before he drastically lost popularity.

    This is just a meme of the Labor Right – look at the polling numbers yourself, whilst they were not at previous (record breaking) heights, they were well, well within the margin for recovery in a second term election.

    Can anyone provide examples over the one provided by the good Senator, the poster labeling Ms Gillard as a witch, of this avalanche of mysogeny and sexism being used to discredit her?

    Sure, Chris, even a cursory google search shows you. Results for Julia Gillard and :

    earlobes

    haircut

    and fashion

    Will deliver a host of links, many of which are from the News Ltd stable, and also some from Fairfax.

    If you think you would see similar results from John Howard or Kevin Rudd, you are deluded.

  21. Helen

    Chris Harper is a little too cute. Remember the focus on JG’s childlessness and OMG Empty Fruit Bowl in the early days of her PMship. Early on her relationship with KRudd and others was framed in terms of marriage, honeymoon, divorce – apparently they’re the only way we can understand womens’ actions in politics, or something. Then there’s the sneers about the First Bloke, culminating in a TV comedy series portraying him as less than a man because he’s not the one in politics. (As I pointed out on my blog, the First Bloke is the one that’s ostensibly being lampooned but it’s the girls who are supposed to get the message – Being more successful than your male partner makes you unloveable and emasculates him and threatens your marriage.) There was the Ditch the Witch poster as you point out yourself at the Convoy of Not enough Trucks. Then – as you might not realise if you don’t occasionally wade into the sewers of News Ltd and the Punch – there are the daily outbursts of misogyny and hatred on comment threads and talkback.

    Michelle Grattan on the ABC is always asking whether she “looks Prime Ministerial”. Her body, clothes and appearance were subject to a humiliating spew by none other than Pauline Hanson in the latest No Idea – you may not read these things but I assure you the GP can.

  22. Mercurius

    “…Or is this just an attempt to discredit those who criticize her policies by claiming they are motivated by sexism?”

    Chris, I haven’t heard much if any cogent criticism of Gillard’s policies over the deafening din of how much of a ‘liar’ she is, ‘broken promises’, ‘incompetent’, ‘untrustoworthy’ etc….

    Guess what, hurling epithets at someone is not a policy critique. And if the people hurling the epithets are so apolplexed as to be unable to even offer a scintalla of cogent policy critique, it is fair to ask what is really bugging them.

    By their words ye shall know them, and their words ain’t pretty…

    Oh, and the thing about how this government, in a hung parliament, has got a staggering amount of legislative business done, yet the PM is still bagged out constantly…well it kinda lends some truth to the rumour that a woman has to do twice as much work as a man to be considered half as good, dunnit?

  23. joe2

    “If I am wrong, can you provide the quote which justifies your claim?”

    Yep, even the herald sun knew what he said, as did the boys at Menzies House, who started up a petition to end the tent embassy.

    “I think a lot has changed since then, and I think it probably is time to move on from that.”

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/time-for-tent-embassy-to-fold-says-tony-abbott/story-e6frf7jx-1226254319517

    What else could he have been talking about, Chris? Or do believe the poor little dog whistler was ‘misunderstood’?

  24. patrickg

    MacCallum’s article, rightly I think, implies that neither Gillard staying in office or Rudd returning to it is the magical fix for Labor.

    Agreed – though I would feel a stab of righteous vindication at the return of Rudd lol. The facility with which they’ve ensured a pounding at the next election (not as bad as peeps are currently banging on about, no doubt, but still plenty bad) is awe-inspiring.

    Mind you, why anyone thought that NSW Labor has anything valuable to contribute to either the party or the nation is beyond me.

  25. Hoa minh Truong

    A long story between kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard has became the national debate, but helpless. The individual power struggle couldn’t contribute our nation economy getting better by job loss in car, bank industry. If the mine industry doesn’t boost, how does Julia Gillard pride about the economic growth?. The Australia dollar being increased value is not good news for manufacture and export, even tourist. The worse is waiting ahead after July, the carbon tax released, but the climate couldn’t change while the most releasing states as China, US, India ignore. The other hand, the Julia carbon and mining tax are the suicidal economy in Australia.
    This story likes a tale of the rice farm crab and frog at Asia: in summer, water is not much left, the frog has to find a crab den for survival by drinking the crab saliva. Until the rain comes in, before leaving the crab house, the frog eats crab.
    After winning the election in 2007, Mr. Kevin Rudd helped Julia Gillard gained the power in Labor, then after she kicked out her great comrade. As the same circumstance, the Greens has grown up by Labor supports, the Greens and two independents Mr. Tony Winsor plus Rob Oakshott have became a key to create the minor government. Then Mr. Bob Brown taken control the Labor in shadow by blackmail of Greens policy effected the Labor by carbon tax, mining tax, those will be cost Labor in the next election.
    The tale will be matched in the case of Mr. Bill Shorten who is promoted by Gillard’s power and whenever he will be able to take her job. Nobody know about the politician heart. In record, the inside power struggle in the most communist party an Labor are the same.
    Hoa Minh Truong.
    ( author of the dark journey & Good evening Vietnam)

  26. Mindy

    One of the most regular criticisms of his time in office was his obsessive media management

    Exactly, he controlled their access and they didn’t like it. The media went sour for Rudd and just continued the trend with Gillard.

    Don’t take my word for it patrickg, google the story about the Minister who go on a plane he was so desperate to talk to RuddPM. Remember that? Ministers would not make a decision without it going through Rudd because if they did, he would put a spanner in the works. Everything, and I mean everything, had to go through Rudd. That’s why they rolled him, the media just helped with the narrative. If he was that wonderful a PM, he still would have been there.

  27. Chris

    Helen – political relationships have long been cast in terms of honeymoon/marriage/divorce. Nothing new or specific to having a woman as PM.

    joe2 – huge difference between time for the embassy to end and forcibly removing it though which is what the protesters believed he said.

  28. joe2

    Actually, I think Kev was a good bloke with fine intentions but unable to cope with the pressure. They did a service by removing him from the job because he was on the edge both physically and mentally.

  29. joe2

    “joe2 – huge difference between time for the embassy to end and forcibly removing it though which is what the protesters believed he said.”

    Not sure of your point, Chris. I do know that Abbott did a fine job of pretending that he had said nothing after the protest had been sparked by his inflammatory comments- given there specific timing.

  30. adrian

    The gets boring, but the pathetic attempts of the NSW right et al to justify the overthrow of Rudd were execrable at the time, and certainly haven’t improved with age.

    Yes, we know that Rudd apparently ‘micromanaged’ the media (must have been the first PM to do that) and pissed off many of his colleagues etc etc, but at the end of the day he had polling results that Gillard can only dream of.
    You don’t have to particularly admire Rudd to find these attempts to justify the unjustfiable, laughable in the extreme.

    Just admit that they kicked one of the biggest own goals in Australian political history.

  31. Mindy

    @Adrian I’m not anywhere near the NSW Right, I just know a lot of public servants who had to deal with Rudd. They were not happy campers.

  32. Mindy

    Why is it so hard to believe that Rudd was a micromanager and that he pissed off the media? Why does it have to be some big conspiracy theory and an ‘own-goal’? Because you like him? I liked him fine too, but he stuffed himself up first, before anyone else did.

    If Gillard wasn’t a woman this rubbish would have gotten old long ago. Get over it.

  33. Jacques de Molay

    Whilst I think the “you just don’t like Gillard cos you’re sexist!!1!” stuff is overplayed by the ALP faithful there is certainly an element of truth to it. Personally I in good conscience can’t vote for them because she’s taken the party further to the Right than it was starting to drift under Rudd.

    -NT intervention

    -Suspending the application of asylum seekers from Afghanistan & Sri Lanka, in an election year

    -Malaysian Solution

    -The mandatory internet filter

    -The welfare ‘reforms’ that include making it even more difficult for people to get the disability pension (along with trying to kick people under the age of 35 off of it), long-term unemployed having their mutual obligation activities doubled & teenage mums threatened with having their payments suspended if they don’t meet new requirements, all this despite less than 5% unemployment.

    -Income management not just for the people in Aboriginal communities in the NT but now being rolled out across the nation in poor areas where ‘customers’ will only receive about half of their regular welfare payments with the other half going onto the infamous ‘BasicsCard’ which can only be used on govt approved items in certain stores.

    -Opposition to gay marriage

    -Jacking up the price of cigarettes by 25%

    -The so called ‘Citizen’s Assembly’ response to climate change/No carbon tax under a govt I lead

    -’Real Julia’ during the election campaign/working families/moving forward

    -The cave in on the mining tax

    -The cave in on the pokies reforms agreement/going back on her word with Wilkie

  34. Jacques de Molay

    And of course the main thing that brought down Rudd the backflip on the CPRS.

  35. Doug

    Further down the line in the public service I didn’t notice much difference between the way things operated under Rudd from any other recent PM. There are systemic problems, not least of which is the role of ministerial staffers that are a blight on the policy and accountability landscape.

    From where I sat he certainly remained engaged on Indigenous policy issues .

  36. adrian

    Why does it have to be some big conspiracy theory and an ‘own-goal’?

    How is it a conspiracy theory? They got rid of one of the most popular (with the electorate, but who cares about them) PMs and replaced him with one of the most unpopular. Undoubtedly the manner of her aescendancy has affected her unpopularity.

    As for an own goal, you call it a success?

  37. joe2

    Ever had to work for someone who started off great and then started losing it, adrian?

    I really think they rescued him. Have a look at the time Rudd spent with the physical ailments after he left the job. It must have had an effect on his performance.

    It’s perfectly possible he could manage now and that may be an option for Labor.

  38. Mindy

    The conspiracy theory that there was nothing wrong with Rudd. That he was rolled because ??

    I don’t call it an own goal, I call it a PM who is lambasted by the press, who talk about her weight, her clothes, her hair, her shoes and everything but every bit of legislation she has passed, more than John Howard got through in his first term + in a minority government. She is unpopular because the media says she is. Who the fuck cares what biased news polls claim voters think this far out from an election? Yes the manner of her ascendency has affected her popularity because people keep harping on about it while claiming that Rudd was some golden boy who did no wrong. Because apparently pissing off your own party had nothing to do with him being deposed. It was all some what hey look over there damn Gillard faceless men and stuff.

    We actually have a very effective PM who is dealing with a very hostile press who believe their own press and can’t possibly be sexist or giving the Leader of the Opposition a free pass; and Andrew Wilkie who has a tantrum when he can’t get what it was always going to be impossible to give him. But of course everyone who claims she lied to him was there when the negotiations took place so what would I know?

  39. Kim

    Mindy – counting up bills passed does not make them progressive. Add to Jacques’ list continuing the abominable Intervention for one.

  40. Katz

    From the O/P:

    Federal politics is an absolute train wreck at the moment, with neither party focusing on the issues that actually concern voters. The Labor Party is incapable of sustaining any sort of narrative about the country, as it appears (accurately) to be obsessed about its own internal dilemmas and polls.

    This comes close to convicting voters of the crime of false consciousness. The implication is if either party started to engage with “the issues that actually concern voters” then that party would enjoy a surge in popular support.

    I’m having difficulty in drawing a bright line separating legitimate and distractive political issues.

    Right now, a larger than usual segment of the electorate is enjoying buying into the narrative of the ALP disqualifying itself as a viable governing party by virtue of manifold shortcomings in their intellectual and character qualifications for government, in addition to multiple breakdowns in the ALP machine.

    Precisely the same thing happened to the Libs under the leadership of Billy McMahon. The voters were more engaged with the spectacle of the Lib train wreck than they were with substantive policy issues. Those involved with the antiwar and anticonscription movements of the early 1970s applauded the travails of the Libs of the time because we recognised that we were winning the political numbers game with much greater ease than if we had to rely upon reasoned debate over the issues.

    This is cheap politics but it is winning politics. And I can’t blame Abbott for taking advantage of the chaotic state of the ALP. It is up tithe ALP to demonstrate that the are adults before they can hope to convince voters to engage with the issues rather than to fixate on the ALP train wreck.

  41. joe2

    So Kim, to take just 2, on the Jaques’ list, you think a carbon price and an increase in the price of smokes is not progressive?

  42. adrian

    Certainly have joe2, myself included!
    You may indeed be right, but was removing him the only option? Maybe it was, but whatever it’s been an unmitigated disaster unfortunately.

  43. joe2

    adrian, I think it is incredibly difficult but when a CEO drops the ball something needs to be done about it. If Abbott goes on to be P.M. and creates conditions for a civil war in Australia I would hope wiser heads would see him off to a rest home in Nebraska.

  44. Mindy

    I didn’t say progressive, but you can’t say she is an unmitigated disaster. Gillard is getting stuff done. I would wish she did something positive rather than the Intervention, and just signed off on same sex marriage already, but slowly but surely she is getting stuff done that needs to be done. If this is what passes for unmitigated disaster then what is Abbott going to bring?

  45. Fine

    This conversation always turns into a shit fight about how Rudd was disposed. Understandable, and it has affected how Gillard is perceived by the electorate. I’m always bemused by the way Gillard is seen as a creature of the NSW Right. But, Rudd – now I wonder who he sucked up to? Exactly the same blokes. I think sexism plays into this. Rudd was brave, principled, stood up to the thugs of the Right. Gillard, of course, is absolutely owned by the powerful and couldn’t possibly be her own woman.

    I’d say her policy report card is decidedly mixed. Jacques de Molay shows his bias by listing the ‘Citizens’ Assembly’ as a Gillard failure, whilst omitting that she actually got a carbon price through. But, she gets no credit for that. You might also want to list the NBN as a win. She is also getting a mining supertax through. Not as good as the one that Rudd attempted and failed at. But, at least it’s happening. You might also want to look at the first steps towards a National Disability Insurance Scheme, which will be a great reform. And caved in on the pokies commitment? Couldn’t get the crossbenches to support it, more like it.

  46. mikey

    Either nobody read my comment or the problem of navel gazing on the Left is not restricted to Labor politicians. The Right is smashing you idiots out of the park. Clowns like Mungo MacCallum are part of the problem, poking at wounds like a helpful idiot. Stop blaming the media or the Libs or the apathetic of society and realise YOU are the ones punching yourselves in the head. Start punching some Libs.

  47. Fine

    Oh yes, and this.

    “-Jacking up the price of cigarettes by 25%”

    So, it’s terrible and retrogressive that she’s made cigarettes more difficult to get access to. But it would have been great if she’d made pokies more difficult to get access to. Huh!

    Big strikes of course – refugee policy and the intervention.

  48. Hoa minh Truong

    SHOULD LABOR CREATE THE HISTORY?
    As the political records in US, UK, Australia….after losing the election, the former national, state leaders or opposition leaders resigned.
    Former Prime Minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd, who gains nearly double the opinion poll than a first female prime minister, Miss Julia Gillard. So the rumour about changing leadership accelerated.
    The Labor aims the pollution policy, so the recycle materials would be their interesting. If Labor recycles the prime minister position, then Mr. Kevin Rudd taken the top job again, they should make a history.
    Hoa Minh Truong.
    ( author of the dark journey & Good Evening Vietnam)

  49. Jacques de Molay

    Fine @ 47,

    Jacques de Molay shows his bias by listing the ‘Citizens’ Assembly’ as a Gillard failure, whilst omitting that she actually got a carbon price through. But, she gets no credit for that.

    Yes, I admit I’m a lefty. I hope you understand if not for the hung parliament and thus minority government the ‘Citizen’s Assembly’ is what we would’ve got under Dear Leader.

    We’re only getting a carbon tax because of the Greens.

    Fine @ 49,

    So, it’s terrible and retrogressive that she’s made cigarettes more difficult to get access to. But it would have been great if she’d made pokies more difficult to get access to. Huh!

    More like she’s decided to up the take the government get from smokers (who are predominantly the poor as well) under the guise of ‘helping them’ (the same rhetoric used towards Aboriginals on the BasicsCard) when obviously if that were really the case they’d ban them, how was she supposedly going to make pokies more difficult to get access to?

  50. joe2

    Jacques and the IPA…the smokers friends. More regressive policy to add to your list , below…..”Nicotine patches will now be subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-02-01/nicotine-patches-available-on-pbs/1925426

  51. Jacques de Molay

    joe2, Nah I’m just not a party hack. I commended them for putting nicotine patches on the PBS at the time.

  52. su

    And the intervention was continued by Rudd, he had put forward no plans to wind it up. On equal marriage Gillard is more progressive, it is now part of the party platform and Green representatives are saying they’ll get it through on a conscience vote by the end of this year. Gillard was punished for the change in platform immediately, there was a new round of leadership speculation and destabilization within a day of the vote, the NSW right forced through the recommitment to offshore processing on the strength of the sentiment against equal marriage. But let’s blame Gillard for Joe de Bruyn shall we.

    I almost look forward to a Rudd return, when suddenly people will be stroking their beards and muttering “politics is the art of the possible” again. There’s a phrase that went MIA in 2010.

  53. adrian

    Not saying Gillard’s an unmitigated disaster herself, but the act of dumping Rudd for her has been, if as seems likely, it results in Abbott as PM.
    Then there’s the lack of party reform and the solidifying of the factions that for which Gillard is partly responsible.
    OK, she’s passed a lot of legislation, that’s what government’s do!
    The very fact that this is being mentioned as an achievement is indicative of the mire into which we’ve sunk.

  54. Chris

    joe2 @ 31 – well I thought that the vast majority of the fault lay with the people who most likely deliberately misinterpreted what he said in order to rile up the crowd, rather than with Abbott himself. Some fault does lay with Abbott, though he was explicitly asked his views on the topic rather than him just bringing it up.

    It’s perfectly possible he could manage now and that may be an option for Labor.

    I think this is a very good point. Rudd now may well be capable of managing much differently than he did before. He most likely learnt some rather significant lessons when he was dumped. And its not like Gillard supporters can appeal to her be given a “fair go” having had less than a full term as PM…..

    A change to Rudd and an election soon after while still on his honeymoon may minimise the number of seats the ALP lose in the long term.

  55. Fine

    “We’re only getting a carbon tax because of the Greens.”

    Oh, you mean Labor didn’t vote for it. Must have missed that bit.

    As to your second point: it’s beyond me why anyone would have a problem with makes smokes more expensive.

  56. akn

    The issue as it has been dealt with on this thread varies little from the usual discussion of personalities, factions and a media run by teenagers. The context for this crisis, and a crisis it is given the win to Rudd in 07, is the wider crisis of social democracy. Some soc. dem. parties have retreated from the project more slowly or more rapidly than others. Some have abandoned the project altogether moving through phases of being better managers of labour than the tories and pretending that they could put a more human face on capital than the tories.

    The ideological narrowing of options presented by the ideological “success” of neoliberalism has been achieved mainly through the media treating social democracy as if it was a remnant of the cold war. Social democracy is all too often conflated with socialism (bad) at the expense of historically informed discussion which in turn forecloses on any discussion of a broad range of policy options.

    Social democracy is dead in the water and appears to be resistant to what feeble attempts are made to revive it from time to time. The real issue now is which side of politics will be more prepared to manage the ecological crisis in favour of capital for whoever does that most efficiently with the greatest degree of green washing to cover up the excesses of, for example, CSG and coal mining, will reign.

    After all if the ALP can’t get a working majority together around health care, dental care, disability services and welfare, education and transport policies then it’s not even the shadow of a social democratic party. They can’t develop these policies into a political program because the parliamentary party doesn’t give a rat’s arse about those constituents who would benefit from such policies.

  57. Monica

    What is interesting is that in spite of all the negative press about Kevin Rudd, when polled he is still more popular than Julia Gillard. In my opinion, almost all the negative comments were leaks from within the ALP. Drip by drip they kept placing these stories in the Murdoch press and tried to destroy Rudd.
    You hear stories that Rudd micromanaged the ministry. What did Howard do? He had Max Moore Wilton micro manage the ministry. In fact, apart from Wilton we also had Janette Howard who had a strong opinions on many issues and it is well known that Howard listened to it.
    I was a strong ALP supporter and have always voted for the ALP. After the overthrow of Kevin Rudd for no real reason except for the egos of the NSW Right, I will not vote for the ALP again.
    The excuse Julia Gillard gave for knifing Rudd was “a good government had lost its way”. I believe her performance has been so immature, shallow and poor as PM that all I can say is – Julia Gillard is hopelessly lost. She needs to be made redundant asap.

  58. adrian

    Well said akn. The ALP and what it used to stand for is indeed in crisis, both here and overseas.

  59. Jacques de Molay

    Oh, you mean Labor didn’t vote for it. Must have missed that bit.

    Yawn, citizen’s assembly/there will never be a carbon tax under a govt I lead, ring any bells?

    As to your second point: it’s beyond me why anyone would have a problem with makes smokes more expensive.

    I’m a smoker, yes but I defended the right for people to smoke if they wanted to when I wasn’t a smoker.

    The thing people like yourself & the embedded Canberra types who come up with things like this don’t take into account is most smokers are poor and then their supposed friends in the ALP turn around and jack up packs of smokes by 25%.

    If they had have made the sale of tobacco illegal in combination with putting patches on the PBS even though I’d still be critical of it it would have more moral justification than looking to whack smokers even more than they already are.

  60. Joe

    Great post, akn!

  61. Joe

    Unfortunately, the sides arguing about the Labor leadership are too often victims of confirmation bias.

    I think objectively, (well aware of the enigmatic nature of this introduction) that Rudd crumpled as soon as Abbott became opposition leader. At the very least this needs an explanation.

    Rudd took the party from high popularity to neck and neck with the liberals, it was a fall in approval rating of approx 10% in roughly half a year. He had lost momentum. It was very much like a plane stall.

    It was not very much like Howard’s first term– it just wasn’t. Superficially, there are similarities, but in terms of the directions that Howard and Rudd wanted to take the country, they are very different events, in fact they are almost polar opposites.

    I think, ironically, the fact that Rudd is now foreign minister has made his bid for PM all the more unlikely. Had he really wanted to have another crack at the top job he should have gone to the back benches, ala Keating, but Rudd has never had this clarity of thought. He sees only the immediate and the next problem and, I think that will be his political epitaph.

  62. Darin

    Nice one @ AKN..

    Rudd on the back benches would have been far, far worse. it would have been plainly obvious that he was just hanging around to challenge. At least as Foreign Minister there is the meme that he’s doing a Gareth Evans and chasing a UN gig.It might have been more “honest” to go to the back benches, but not better for the ALP.

    Having said that, I think the ALP’s best interests have never been a priority for any of those people involved in the whole sorry mess.

  63. grace pettigrew

    According to Their ABC news tonight, the war between the Government and the Reserve Bank is on hold for the moment, nothing happened today. Elsewhere, in the war between Gillard and Rudd, nothing happened today.

    What did happen today was a genuinely dirty political stoush in the Senate: Brown/Milne vs Abetz/Brandis on a scandalous privileges referral (with that weird little man Arbib announcing that the Govt will not be doing anything to interfere).

    My guess is that this vicious cage-match between the Greens and Liberals, based on a nasty little scandal whipped up by the usual gutter-dwelling suspects in the Liberal Party, and with possible implications for future parliamentary practice, will be mostly ignored by the running dogs of the press gallery.

    Too hard to report, no pre-scripted narrative, might have to do some actual research. Magical thinking is much more fun.

  64. dexitroboper

    /there will never be a carbon tax under a govt I lead,

    The CPRS isn’t a tax.

  65. GregM

    Brown/Milne vs Abetz/Brandis on a scandalous privileges referral (with that weird little man Arbib announcing that the Govt will not be doing anything to interfere).

    What was that all about, Grace.? I missed it. Can you provide a link?

  66. Nickws

    Kim @ 24: I am not sure that I agree with MacCallum that there is no ideological difference between Rudd and Gillard. Gillard seems to me to be the most conservative Labor leader we’ve seen for some time (Beazley may be in the running).

    Kim, people don’t want to hear about Gillard being the conservative in this ‘race’.

    That naive liberalLeft reading of what you correctly call the “press-gallery-isation of Labor” would really rather believe in Mungos’s bizarre analogy of Rudd = Santamaria before coming to terms with Gillard’s inherent, self-imposed weakness of hers outside of that legislative compartment she handles so well. Poor buggers are already halfway to believing she’s the new Keating.

    I think we’re going to see some clarification of the Gillard model of Laborism when the marriage equality bill comes before the House. If PM takes the path of least resistance for general election purposes she will vote nay; if Rudd is okay about people thinking he still has leadership ambitions he will vote yea (among other reasons). I hope I’m wrong about the first part of that equation. Doubt it.

  67. GregM

    I think we’re going to see some clarification of the Gillard model of Laborism when the marriage equality bill comes before the House.

    Nickws I am reluctant to say this but the Marriage Equailty bill has got nothing to do with the working class movement that is Laborism.

  68. jumpy

    “Bob Brown is surely right to say that Julia Gillard has been on the receiving end of rapid fire volleys of sexism and misogyny.”

    Bob wants us to believe ALL the criticism of Gillard is from men ?

    I notice ” misandry” is a word rarely used when describing superficial criticism of Abbott.( ya know, budgie smugglers etc…)

  69. Link

    Thanks for the list Jacques #35 and the reminder. Gillard and the ALP–are no longer representative of anything I consider important. LCD politics in the ascendency. It’s imbecilic.

    Mungo’s always good value, but politics has always been rife with ‘magical’ thinking-in fact just about everything humans do is full of ‘magical’ thinking so it’s an entertaining but pointless observation.

    Still don’t understand why it’s crystal clear Gillard won’t be contesting the next election. Unless of course she’s . . .

    Rudd’s dumping was the making of him and the death of his appalling hubris. Pity his colleagues hate him so. Hope he gets some grown-up advisors if he does find himself in the driving seat again.

  70. Link

    BTW credit where credit’s due.

    GREAT POST KIM. (as always)

  71. grace pettigrew

    GregM@67 no link yet, I listened to the senate radio broadcast from 5.30 to 6.30 pm last night, so it should be up on Hansard today..

  72. tigtog

    “Bob Brown is surely right to say that Julia Gillard has been on the receiving end of rapid fire volleys of sexism and misogyny.”

    Bob wants us to believe ALL the criticism of Gillard is from men ?

    Women often judge other women using sexist standards. Our whole society floats along on sexist/racist/classist/etc-ist tropes, but most people don’t look below the surface to recognise the various prejudicial platforms supporting their day-to-day worldview.

  73. Mercurius

    Nickws I am reluctant to say this but the Marriage Equailty bill has got nothing to do with the working class movement that is Laborism.

    Of course not. Homosexuality is sooooo bourgeois…and since when did the ‘working class movement’ ever give a fig for equality?? Next you’ll be claiming that treating refugees humanely is some sort of unhealthily effete obsession; and nothing to do with the robust, ruddy glow one gets from stoking the coal-fires 14 hours a day… /sarc

  74. jesterette

    #70 jumpy – women can be sexist towards other women. I don’t think Bob Brown’s off base, I think it’s a valid point and it’s certainly contributed to Gillard’s difficulties.

  75. calyptorhynchus

    Yes of course it’s a beat-up, Rudd will never be PM again (not least because he has a dicky ticker).

    I think people are neglecting the really important issue here. The Libs must be prevented from winning government so I can get on the NBN. After years of paying for “high-speed” internet I have yet to watch YouTube video all the way through without it stopping and buffering. All hail the NBN.

    Seriously, how can anyone take Abbott seriously after he opposes vital initiatives like the NBN?

  76. Fine

    Jeff Sparrow looks at the Gillard/ Rudd stand-off and asks; why does it matter? It’s a good question.

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3815132.html

  77. Paul Norton

    Nickws I am reluctant to say this but the Marriage Equailty bill has got nothing to do with the working class movement that is Laborism.

    True enough. Marriage Equality is from outside the tradition of Laborism. However, like many new social movement concerns, it is certainly in keeping with the grain of a modern social democratic politics.

  78. Jenny

    Pfft. Same old hand wringing from the QLD contingent.

    It’s odd. When JG fails to introduce doomed pokies legislation she is dishonourably breaking a promise to Wilkie. When she pushes through carbon price legislation she is a puppet of the Greens.

    When JG rolls a fast-imploding Rudd for the leadership it shows what a conniving, traitorous wretch she truly is. When Abbott rolls Turnbull, the Libs are correcting a mistaken lurch towards the dark side.

    When JG is less popular than Rudd, it shows her leadership is doomed. When Abbott is less popular than Turnbull it demonstrates the distortion of including non Liberal supporters in such a poll.

    But my sense is that a fairly disengaged electorate are slowly discovering that Gillard is actually OK and that Abbott has nothing to offer. And the steadily improving polls reflect that. Now we just need to find some way to stop Queenslanders panicking.

  79. Rococo Liberal

    May I as a life-long Liberal voter comment on this thread?

    On the whole I think the posters on this thread have proved to be very perceptive and, although I cannot agree with the political views of the majority, I certainly share their frustration at the way politics has become just another reality TV program.

    I would like to raise two points, however. Firstly, for the person who said the CPRS is not a tax, I have to say that Federal Governments do not impose ‘prices’ on anything, they impose fees, charges or taxes (which incorporate excise and customs duties). On the definition laid down in the Chicory Marketing Board case, the levy imposed by the CPRS is a tax. Playing semantics and calling it a price does not change that fact.

    Secondly, it seems inconsistent to complain about the media’s shallow fixation on the ALP leadership whilst constantly demeaning Tony Abbott as some kind of feral right-winger who will lead the country to perdition in the space of months if ever elected. Mr Abbott is a Rhodes scholar and a person who does a lot for his community through volunteering to help those less fortunate than himself. Now, it may be reasonable to complain that Mr Abbott’s policies or ideals are wrong for Australia, but this incessant need to make a monster out of the Opposition leader really does your cause no good.

  80. Fine

    I think there’s some truth in what Jenny says. Queenslanders have never got over their boy being rolled.

    It’s interesting that in the latest Neilson poll Labor leads the Coalition in Victoria, 55/45, I think.

    Is this because Gillard is getting a home town girl bias, or is the media in Victoria less vicious. or are we just smarter than everyone else?

  81. joe2

    “Now we just need to find some way to stop Queenslanders panicking.”

    A nice dose of conservative government, as we now have in Victoria, with its public service job slashing, sustainable energy killing policies, national park locking for 20 years of logging and back to coal mentality, might just do the trick as well. Jenny, well said.

  82. grace pettigrew

    Yes Jenny@80, and Gillard is already on the front foot with Katter, anticipating the Qld panic and ready to deal once she knows how many seats his party wins (she probably already has the folder of copperstring promises printed for the photo-op).

    Her strategic managment of the political chessboard at the federal level will of course be interpreted by the right wing noise machine as more lies and betrayal – because in the filthy barnyard of political commentary in this country, women are deceitful bitches and don’t govern like the blokes do, like we are used to.

  83. adrian

    It is a good question Fine.
    And the answer is that it matters because the people who feed us what they think we need to know have decided it matters.

    They’ve decided that because it’s easy to report this nonsense than do some hard policy analysis that requires some thought and even research.

    They’ve decided that we want to read this endless guff because they have ill-disguised contempt for their audience and believe that we’d prefer phony conflict and confected trivia over real analysis and insight.

    Unfortunately, despite all the on-line options, we still seem captive to the agenda-setting MSM.

  84. Chris

    Jenny @ 80 – well it sounds like the Gillard is also going to make a reversal on her promise to the Greens about a new dental scheme too. At the moment its like she’s trying to maximise the number of people that she can annoy.

  85. Fine

    That’s very true, Adrian. Gillard and Rudd ave both let us down in their own ways. It’s easier to constantly speculate on the horse-race than do any hard work.

  86. Helen

    At the moment its like she’s trying to maximise the number of people that she can annoy.

    Unfortunately, yes.

  87. Adrien

    I’m disinclined to believe that Ms Gillard has been the victim of some extensive campaign against her because of her gender, at least not to the extent that it’s a significant factor in her current troubles. Well, perhaps except for her PR problem in which she appears to be following some script concocted to present her as ‘nurturing’. She’s not a good actor.

    Much more could have been made of the fact that she’s not a mother. I wonder if a prime ministerial candidate were male and not a parent would something be made of this? Should it? Honest question.

  88. Adrien

    I don’t want to read another article in any Leftist media about the perceived weaknesses of the Left. Have you ever read a negative post on Catallaxy about the Libs?

    Fight back, damnit!

    Well this is true. The Right do solidarity much better than the Left which is ironic since solidarity isn’t one their core virtues -. But the problem with the ALP seems to be very similar to the problem with the Republicans and there the Right and Left are identical in their myopia.

    Whenever the leadership issue comes up people talk here as if it’s perfectly normal to have (possibly) three leaders in just over four years of government. The elephant in this place has a slogan painted on him, says: they’re all fucked and so, therefore are we. If Crean’s looking like a winner, you just know you’re on a loser. The question is why.

    Like the Republicans, who appear to be about to nominate an embodiment of the fancy east-coast technocrat most likely to provide Obama with a perfect goat to sacrifice to the God of Those Who Suffer Of An Excess of Greedy Rich People, there’s a hole in the collective soul of the party. At some point in the past the hollow people took hold of each party and until this is acknowledged no-one’s going to clean the closet and until someone cleans the closet it’s just going to get worse.

    Oh sure, there as crazy as batsh!t over there, and we’re all so civil and sensible and even-handed over here… but who’s narrative dominates the media?

    Which is exactly what they say too.

  89. Terry

    Is Bob Brown still staging a boycott on weekly meetings with Julia Gillard until she talks to Miranda Gibson, who is up a tree somewhere in the Tasmanian forests?

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/throne-among-the-gum-trees-poignant-reminder-of-a-pms-promise-20120119-1q8cp.html

  90. adrian

    Does anyone care?

  91. Helen

    Adrian – Yes, it might be an opportune time to remind the Laborites here that many of us do passionately support retaining the last remnants of our old-growth forest. And we vote.

  92. joe2

    “Does anyone care?”

    Me. I am bit partial to my old growth forest and think it bloody madness to be chopping it down when climate change is supposed to be such a high priority.

  93. Terry

    Presumably Miranda Gibson cares. If Bob Brown is now back talking to Julia Gillard, then it would follow that her tree sitting has all been in vain.

    it always struck me from the moment Bob Brown declared that he was boycotting meetings with the PM that he had more to lose from cutting off that connection than the PM had from winding down her obligations to him.

    A fair chunk of that 38 per cent of the electorate who broadly support ‘Labor values’ but are cool towards the Gillard government would be better disposed to it if it was seen to be less beholden to Bob Brown, Andrew Wilkie and co.

    Contrary to press gallery opinion, I suspect that Julia Gillard won more supporters than she lost from staring down Mr. Wilkie’s ultimatum on mandatory pokies pre-commitments. They are less likely to go public for fear of being seen to be “pro-pokies”.

  94. Doug

    Terry

    Who should Gillard be beholden to, to get her legislation through? The Liberal Party?

    Where are these pro-polie supporters that she won? Over 60% of the population wants some action on this – statistically unlikely that she had a net gain in supporters on that.

  95. Jenny

    Doug @ 96

    Where are these pro-polie supporters that she won? Over 60% of the population wants some action on this – statistically unlikely that she had a net gain in supporters on that.

    But what matters is the opinions of voters who feel strongly enough about the issue to change their vote. As a lot of ALP members in NSW and QLD have presumably been pointing out to the PM.

  96. adrian

    Good, glad to see some people care.

  97. Hoa minh Truong

    There are somebody have told the opposition leader. Mr. Tony Abbott who has no policy at all, indeed he is just say NO to oppose against the Gillard government.
    It is not really about the carbon tax that would be harmed for the national economy while the most releasing carbonic states as China, US, India…act nothing. The NBN costs ten billions dollars, but the result won’t much. The mining tax costs high prices to export…When Mr. Tony Abbott told about the job loss, that is not saying NO….
    Moreover, the most Labor leaders come from the union high ranking persons, they have not much expert about the economic management, but the other elements would be. That reason approved the Labor government being in debt and continue to promise some thing for the next election.
    Certainly, any leader has to have the policy as the opposition leader, Mr. Tony Abbott, who has to keep the secret until the election campaign being launched. So the secret weapon has to keep in the unneeded period. Who told the opposition leader has no policy, that is early to tell. Actually, every party has the strategic group.
    Hoa Minh Truong.
    ( author of the dark journey & Good Evening Vietnam)

  98. Terry

    The Gillard government has sought the Liberal Party’s support on asylum seeker policy, so it is not without precedent.

    On what the public wants, there are preferences, and there are intensities of preference. Most people like trees and dislike poker machines, and will tell any pollster who asks them something to that effect.

    However, Miranda Gibson clearly has a stronger intensity of preference for the pristine Tasmanain wilderness than, say, a ute-driving tradie from Western Sydney. At the same time, that tradie is almost certainly more likely to want to put $20 through a poker machine at Panthers or the Rooty Hill RSL than Ms. Gibson.

    The Labor Party spends a lot of money on people who try and help it find such things out.

  99. Sam

    support ‘Labor values’

    The problem with the term ‘Labor values’ is that it can mean a lot of different things. For most contributors to this blog, it is synonymous with the concerns of the Occupy movement, not chopping down trees, legalising gay marriage, shutting down coal fired power stations getting private schools and private health of the government teat, not locking up asylum seekers, and so on.

    However, people like Martin Ferguson and the NSW Right have a completely different idea of what ‘Labor values’ means. For them, upholding Labor values means addressing the concerns of the ute driving tradie from Western Sydney. These concern, real or imagined, are about the cost of living, job security, the price of diesel for their jet skis, the towel heads who are going to bomb their children’s schools, and so on.

    In a sense, both camps are right. Because the Labor Party tries to be all things to all people who are to the left of Alan Jones, ‘labor values’ can mean just about anything and often does.

    This is why polling that more people have Labor values than are planning to vote Labor is not very helpful. It could mean that there’s a bunch of left leaning Labor voters who are so put off by the actions of the Government that they plan to vote Green; or that here’s a bunch of right leaning Labor voters who are so put off by the actions of the Government that they plan to vote Liberal; or both.

    From their own perspectives, they both can make a case.

    It’s not easy being a Labor leader and keeping the likes of Miranda Gibson and ute driving tradies happy simultaneously.

  100. Terry

    Sam, are you channneling your inner Bruce Hawker?

  101. Sam

    Terry, I might have many ‘inners’ but Bruce Hawker isn’t one of them.

    I wonder what he’s going to do when there are no more Labor governments to advise, which should occur around the year after next.

  102. Terry

    There will always be a Labor govenment in the ACT. It may not have much power to do anything, but it has a budget it can waste on consultants

  103. Sam

    Ah yes, the ACT: the jewel in the Labor crown.

    Although even the ACT had a Liberal Government for a while fairly recently, headed by the redoubtable Kate Carnell.

  104. Martin B

    On the definition laid down in the Chicory Marketing Board case, the levy imposed by the CPRS is a tax. Playing semantics and calling it a price does not change that fact.

    As I see it the playing of semantics is largely coming from the other direction.

    It is obvious to anyone who looks at it honestly that Gillard’s pre-election commitment was drawing a distinction between a Carbon Tax and a cap-and-trade scheme. It was not promising no action instead of a a Carbon Tax. This observation is not contradicted by the deafening roar of the echo chamber trying to drown out this context.

    Clearly the policy shifted post-election. The pre-election policy was for a cap-and-trade scheme starting in 2014 with a one year fixed-price period. The policy implemented was a cap-and-trade scheme starting in 2012 with a three year fixed price period.

    Perhaps this policy shift is important, perhaps not. But to argue that the ‘real’ issue is that the fixed-price period acts economically like a tax and is treated legally like a tax when the scheme architecture is clearly a cap-and-trade is to me the height of semantics. It is taking the substantive difference in meaning between “Carbon Tax” and “Cap-and-trade Scheme” and collapsing on the basis of a technical definition of the semantic unit “Tax”.

  105. Jacques de Molay

    But what matters is the opinions of voters who feel strongly enough about the issue to change their vote. As a lot of ALP members in NSW and QLD have presumably been pointing out to the PM.

    I’m not sure about anyone else but this just makes me feel all warm inside.

    Craig Thomson is that you?

  106. Sam

    @106

    Gillard herself called it a tax.

  107. Martin B

    Gillard herself called it a tax

    No, she said it acts like a tax and she wasn’t going to get into semantic arguments about whether or not it was a tax. I think that was a stupid line to take, but in any case it does not contradict what I have said.

    The scheme architecture is for a cap-and-trade system not a Carbon Tax (big-T). Whether or not it a Cap-and-trade Scheme is a small-t tax entirely misses the point.

  108. Socrates

    I would agree with Sam’s comments that there is a problem talking about “Labor values”. I don’t think they actually exist except in the minds of a few old timers. But I think the problem goes deeper than that, and the tribalism that is inherent in factions goes to the root of the problem. I think the whole “Labor movement” has become quite fractured.

    I think the term “tribalism” sums up the attitude of many in the Labor party, especially the right, whereby their loyalty and commitment is more to a particular group, than to an ideal or value. So you support group Y or union X, which you may believe/hope works for the welfare of “working class” people (even if they send their children to expensive private schoools). But you don’t question that belief too much, because most of your energy goes to supporting group Y/union X.

    Problem is, what happens when union X represents a group that usually receive 2 or 3 times the average wage? Or Group Y is fighting for something that was enshrined in law 20 years ago? Supporting them may be rational self interest, but it isn’t exactly striking a blow for social justice. Yet many of the supporters of union X or group Y still believe that is what they are doing. They then feel legitimised in attacking any group that opposes them, whether internal or external.

    The point of this is, you can claim to hold a value in common but, if the “value” is a vague notion, and what you really identify with is a small intrest group, then you don’t actually have much in common at all.

    I also think the Labor party has still failed to come to terms with changes in the workplace in the past 20 years. Some unions defend conditions for the quite wealthy (eg CFMEU), some don’t defend conditions for a the quite poor (eg HSU) and some occupations are assumed to be in a management elite simply because they went to university, so they don’t need defending. There are legions of people working in “knowledge industries” with no effective union representation in my experience. Some (eg IT) make no more than the average wage.

    Short of rebuilding the entire union movment, I don’t have a solution. But I do think this explains the relative lack of legitimacy of Labor “leaders” coming out of the union movement now. They have no more credibility in the wider community than say, someone who was head of a small interest group like the the ACF, becoming Labor leader.

    It will all get better when Gina Reinhart owns Fairfax media :(

  109. Patrickb

    Just got back from a holiday in the US. What we need here is an MSNBC, in the evenings we watched nothing else and it was made all the more enjoyable by the poisonous GOP primaries. Really our media is pathetic, like school children they are.

  110. Sam

    Martin B,

    you know, and I know, and the policy nerds know, that what we’ve got is a cap and trade scheme with a fixed price until 2014.

    But what the punters know, or think they know, is that it is a tax because (a) the Mad Monk told them it is and (b) the ranga admitted it. Indeed, she even apologised for it! (“I didn’t intend to break a promise …”)

    She should have just stood her ground and said “no, it’s not a tax; it’s a price on permits”. It’s what John Howard would have done. Fuck, it’s what Tony Abbott would have done. There then would have been a stoush amongst nerds about whether it is a tax, which the punters would have ignored.

  111. Martin B

    Well I don’t deny for a second that Julia Gillard lost the political argument.

  112. Helen

    Well said, Socrates. There are new classes of poorly paid, better educated worker coming up; “Precariat” and “fraying white collar” are two names I’ve seen for them recently. And the tradies – the qualified ones, or the ones working on the mines – are doing very well for themselves thank you very much. Some of us are damned sick of being referred to as the “elites” when we’re on less than what the ABS thinks is the average wage.

  113. Helen

    …Sorry, strayed WAAAAAY off topic there… I’ll get me coat…

  114. Terry

    Helen, not at all. I recall discussing with people in part-time jobs being on the picket lines supporting the MUA in Fremantle in 1998, where the union members would rock up in their BMWs to join in.

  115. Patrickb

    @57
    I’d say that making smokes more expensive is creating an artificial barrier to their use. Now the only reason you’d want to do that is because you’d like to control the choices some people make and frankly that’s none of your business. The govt. has used the tax on cigarettes as a revenue raiser for years which is fine, just don’t patronise us with the public health argument.

  116. Fine

    I think that’s true Socrates. I was just laughing about this the other day with a friend who has just got a 12 months, part-time position teaching at a uni, albeit a well paid position. She was rapt that she had that much security. Wow! She knew where part of her her wage was coming from for a whole year. We laughed about how skewed our perceptions of security had become. That’s life in the 21st century.

  117. Fine

    Sue @ 54. Yes, it strikes me that Rudd is being looked at through rose coloured glasses here. I’d like someone to list the progressive reforms he actually achieved. I know he had an unfriendly Senate, but one of his faults was his lack of negotiating skills. Gillard has to deal with a minority government and is actually achieving some progressive reforms. And yes, some of her policies are a disgrace.

    - CPRS? Backed down after refusing to deal with the Greens to get a decent policy through. Bob Brown certainly doesn’t have many kind words of support for the Ruddster.
    - Mining tax? Backed down.
    -Intervention? Continued Howard’s policy.
    - Refugee policy? Was rapidly toughening it up.
    - Same sex marriage? Doesn’t support it.

  118. Chris

    Patrickb @ 117 – except that the sickness and deaths from smoking outweigh the amount of money raised from the cigarette excise. There may be some financial sense in steadily ratcheting up the excise to discourage use and when smoking rates are very low then ban them. That way you at least get some ongoing revenue while you have to fund the medical care of smokers – something that is going to occur decades after banning smoking.

    Fine @ 119 :

    - CPRS backdown – wasn’t that backdown encouraged and led by GIllard?
    - Mining tax backdown – didn’t that backdown happen under Gillard?
    - Intervention – full steam ahead under Gillard
    - Refugee policy – Gillard manages to outbid even the Coalition in extremeness, fortunately knocked back by the courts.

    Who’s wearing rose coloured glasses?

    Though there’s little prospect for anything major changing policy-wise until the right-wing of the ALP gets unelected. Perhaps it would be a good thing for the long term health of the ALP to lose big at the next election.

  119. Fine

    - CPRs backdown. Rudd was the PM. It was up to him to lead. The policy he wanted passed was so weak that the Greens couldn’t support it. He refused to even negotiate with them.
    - Mining tax – Rudd backed down. Gillard got a tax through.
    - Intervention. Rudd and Gillard are as bad as each other.
    -Refugee policy. It was getting toughened up under Rudd after an attempt to make it more humane. Rudd and Gillard as bad as each other, again.

    I’m not holding Gillard up as a paradigm of progressive policies. I’m say that Rudd wasn’t that light shining from the hill either.

  120. Chris

    - Mining tax – Rudd backed down. Gillard got a tax through.

    Or in other words, Rudd backed down, Gillard backed down even further :-)

    I’m not holding Gillard up as a paradigm of progressive policies. I’m say that Rudd wasn’t that light shining from the hill either.

    Agreed. Rudd did at least try to be independent of the Right faction, but it resulted in his eventual downfall. A Rudd replacement might not help, probably won’t hurt that much either :-)

    Long term I think both ALP and Lib PMs are going to have a pretty hard time given that the convention of giving them at least one term to do what they want to do is pretty much shattered. Hopefully the ALP does not set a precedent of having PMs only last one election cycle.

  121. adrian

    Maybe if we could just agree that Rudd and Gillard are, on balance, both as bad as each other, we can all move on.

  122. Curi-Oz

    Would it not be interesting if PM Gillard were actually elected for a second term …

  123. Chris

    Curi-Oz @ 124 – if she can get herself elected for a second term with a workable majority I think she’ll be in for quite a few terms.

  124. joe2

    “Maybe if we could just agree that Rudd and Gillard are, on balance, both as bad as each other, we can all move on.”

    I would go along with that to a certain extent. She is a miles better as a negotiator, for one.

    However, the real issue that needs to be faced to, in this country, if we are ever to get more progressive policy up, is reactionary nature of our media.

    And all the signs are that it is about to get worse. The man who has the most power to influence our public perceptions believes Rick Santorum would make a spiffing President ffs.

  125. Sam

    The man who has the most power to influence our public perceptions believes Rick Santorum would make a spiffing President ffs.

    Warnie thinks that? He has gone down in my estimation.

  126. Patrickb

    @63
    “Rudd crumpled as soon as Abbott became opposition leader”
    By all accounts he kicked Abbott’s arse in the press club health debate.

  127. Patrickb

    @120
    “except that the sickness and deaths from smoking outweigh the amount of money raised from the cigarette excise”
    May or may not be true, a bit like the financial benefits of having a Grand Prix in your city I reckon. However I would speculate the the damage from alcohol is a greater expense yet consumption of it hasn’t attracted the fierce campaigns that smoking has. I further expect this is due to the need to keep the price of chardy down. As was said before, it hits the lower paid harder than the wealthy (btw plenty of CUBs smoke). I don’t smoke but if others do then that’s their business.

  128. Joe

    Shows you how important the press club is, Patrick. Approval ratings speak for themselves on this one and they were Kalamitous.

  129. John Edmond

    Out of curiosity, where do Gillard supporters stand if Gillard abdicates, and it’s a battle between Rudd and a generic Non-Rudd contender?

  130. Thomas Paine

    Out of curiosity, where do Gillard supporters stand if Gillard abdicates, and it’s a battle between Rudd and a generic Non-Rudd contender?

    Blasphemer!

    Many Gillard supporters are typical fanboys of idol groups which makes Rudd the anti-idol. I suspect many would be against Rudd even if Steve Fielding was somehow able to contest the leadership in Gillard’s absence.

  131. tigtog

    @Thomas Paine, what an odd assertion. In the unlikely event that Gillard steps down without defending against a leadership challenge, then the whole landscape changes and would have to be judged on its merits as an entirely new situation.

  132. tssk

    See the thing is Rudd loves the media and can’t resist commenting. That tricky man…he’s always undermining the PM.

    Hang on…change of narrative incoming…Rudd won’t talk to Four Corners…hmmm…how to paint this. I know!

    See the thing is Rudd loves the media and can’t resist commenting denies the press any commentry. That tricky man…he’s always undermining the PM even when he’s not!

    There. Lack of action against the PM by Rudd painted as passive agressive action against the PM. Job done.

    Seriously, why don’t we just simplyfy this whole house of cards. We have three votes set up. One by a representative of the media (a CEO maybe?), one by a rep for the mining industry and one from the CLubs Industry.

  133. Nickws

    GregM @ 69: Nickws I am reluctant to say this but the Marriage Equailty bill has got nothing to do with the working class movement that is Laborism.

    Yeah, nah, I believe in a Laborism that has dealt with social reforms since at least the time of the Aboriginal referendum put forward by the tories.

    I wonder if you believe that the Liberal Party is the true recepticle of this kind of reform? If so, I take it you’re happy with the modern NSW Liberal Right having ultimate veto power, which I guess would be a very convenient way to make sure nothing is ever done again in these areas.

    Paul Norton @ 79: True enough. Marriage Equality is from outside the tradition of Laborism. However, like many new social movement concerns, it is certainly in keeping with the grain of a modern social democratic politics.

    Sometimes I wonder how it is some of you people have got to 2012 without even making a fundamental peace with Whitlamism.

    Sam @ 101: However, people like Martin Ferguson and the NSW Right have a completely different idea of what ‘Labor values’ means. For them, upholding Labor values means addressing the concerns of the ute driving tradie from Western Sydney.
    These concern, real or imagined, are about the cost of living, job security, the price of diesel for their jet skis, the towel heads who are going to bomb their children’s schools, and so on.

    What an ugly way to emasculate the politics of Martin Ferguson (I take it for granted that the NSW Right should cop this).

    Sam, you’d be a believer in the idea that there is some real leftwing Labor tradition sleeping in Victoria, waiting for the call to return ala King Arthur? Or, more strikingly, you’re a non-left person validating that belief?

    I see a lot of this old, truculent “who’s party is it, their’s or ours” stuff in some of the responses to Gillard.

    Pure navel gazing stuff, when it’s not outright rejectionism of everything that has happened these last three decades or more. (Disclaimer: I don’t think this wallowing tendency is anything at all like the more intelligent, if slightly pompous, radicalism I’m chiding Norto over above.)

    Fine @ 119: I’d like someone to list the progressive reforms he actually achieved. I know he had an unfriendly Senate, but one of his faults was his lack of negotiating skills.

    Fine, I’m certain Rudd didn’t negotiate much of it personally, but the rollback of Workchoices and the passage of the stimulus relied on the support of Xenophon and Fielding.

    Selling the economic numbers case for these reforms to Steve Fielding, the guy who later decided the science of AGW was bunk? Hello, possible disaster.

    Luckily a good negotiator was able to talk him into supporting both bills. No, not Gillard (she’s only been a parliamentary negotiator in the hung House.)

    No, those legislative triumphs were due to… Stephen Conroy.

    Fine @ 119: Mining tax? Backed down.

    Er, that’s The New Keating who ditched the 40% tax in favour of what we’ve got during this term. Rudd merely had the RSPT in limbo during his final months as prime minister.

    John Edmund @ 131: Out of curiosity, where do Gillard supporters stand if Gillard abdicates, and it’s a battle between Rudd and a generic Non-Rudd contender?

    tigtog @ 133: In the unlikely event that Gillard steps down without defending against a leadership challenge, then the whole landscape changes and would have to be judged on its merits as an entirely new situation.

    How long is a Shortened piece of string?

  134. Patrickb

    @130
    er … but we weren’t talking about approval ratings, try to keep up. Rudd was all over Abbott until he realised that he was being white anted, that’s when the doubt set in and the back downs started and Abbott got his mojo. Not hard to see in hindsight.

  135. su

    Oh ho ho Nick. Unless Shorten is one of those unusual people who actually grow in stature as leaders then I think he would be a poor choice. He did a good job pushing for the NDIS, and he seems a capable minister but I don’t detect evidence of great leadership skills. And he develops a bit of a rabbit stare when caught off guard by questions. Amazing how nobody namechecks any of the women who have been in parliament longer and have a better track record. None of them are narcissists whose personal legacy is more important to them than the functioning of government though, I suppose that is two essential qualifications for being considered leadership material that they lack (oh look, I can haz broad sarcasms too).

    You’re being disingenuous on the RSPT, the mining industry was in full revolt and prepared to prosecute open warfare on the government and this undoubtedly lead to the results in QLD and WA. Of course Labor could have forged ahead with it regardless but it would have been a pyrrhic victory and if you really think it would have been worth it because the Libs would have left the RSPT in place then I think you overestimate them and underestimate the power and determination of the Minerals Council. The current government only managed to hive off the big mining interests from the MC pack with concessions and in the end the weakened MMRT seems to have been bought at the additional expense of an expanded Uranium market and the fast tracking of Olympic dam.

    Again I am amazed that people now think that politics consists of ramming through legislation against powerful interests without negotiation because that was what was happening with the RSPT. Even supporters of the legislation thought that it was handled exceptionally poorly by the government of the time and that negotiated concessions were necessary. That those negotiations did not occur was entirely down to Rudd. By letting it drag on so long, and especially, by going to an election without some agreement in place they ended up with a weaker legislation than might have otherwise been achieved.

  136. Sam

    Nickws @ 135, neither of the above.

    As for lumping Martin Ferguson in with the Right, the historical differences between the Fergusons and the NSW Right were nearly all about rorted processes within the NSW Labor Party, whereby the Right kept the Left – run by the Fergusons – out of the goody bag by stacking, stealing, cheating and bashing. The Right and the Fergusons didn’t have many policy differences, apart from those related to the Cold War. The Left’s leader, Jack Ferguson, who was Martin’s father, was a great man because he stood up to the thuggery by the Right, but he wasn’t a promoter of a better society or even a promoter of good policies. It was Jack who coined the phrase “the big end of town”, in reference Sydney’s business leaders, not out of irony but out of a sense of awe and respect.

    With the end of the Cold War, the division of the factions into sub factions, and spoils-sharing arrangements, there is no substantive difference between Martin and the Right. Maybe one is a little bit more Catholic social conservative than the other, but there’s not a lot in it.

    As for a left wing tradition in Victoria, you can’t be serious. What tradition? Bill Hartley was a joke; Jim Cairns was a bigger joke. What would be good would be a revival of people like the old Victorian Independents; people like John Button, but there’s no sign of that.

  137. Kim

    Same old hand wringing from the QLD contingent.

    Jenny, the converse could be said, from the point of view of Queenslanders, about the surprising strength Labor still enjoys in SA and Victoria.

    It should be clear from the post that I am not cheer-leading for Rudd.

    However, there are 30 federal seats in Queensland and Labor holds 8 of them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_national_and_state-by-state_lower_house_results_and_maps_for_the_2010_Australian_federal_election#Queensland

    On the polls as they have been since mid last year, if an election were held, Labor would be lucky to win 1 – Kevin Rudd’s seat.

    Whatever people might think about different perceptions and voting patterns in different states, Queensland is the third largest state in the nation, and if Labor can’t improve its position here, it’s most unlikely to be electorally competitive.

  138. Paul Norton

    Sam @137:

    Bill Hartley was a joke; Jim Cairns was a bigger joke.

    Let’s do a double-take here. Jim Cairns had his failings, especially later in life, but his role in the Vietnam Moratorium campaign was far more serious and significant than anything Hartley achieved. Also, AFAIK Cairns wasn’t a Jew-hating Stalinist.

  139. Paul Norton

    Nickws @135, I would argue that Whitlam was one of a number of significant ALP figures who have attempted to promote a social democratic politics in Australia.

    I suspect that you and I (and GregM) might have meant different things when we used the term “Laborism”, specifically that I (and perhaps GregM) used it to refer to a kind of labo(u)r politics which emphasises economic concerns, whereas you are using it in a broader sense which would encompass e.g. Whitlam-style social democracy.

  140. Sam

    Paul 139; quite so, I meant to write it the other way around.

    This said, the Vietnam moratorium was the only good thing that Cairns did in his career, apart from boffing Junie Morosi. Telling porkies under oath about it took the gloss off even that, however.

  141. Mercurius

    @132 Thomas Paine

    Wut?

    :S

  142. Jenny

    Kim@138

    It should be clear from the post that I am not cheer-leading for Rudd.

    Nor am I cheer-leading for Gillard. I was horrified when Rudd was rolled. But since then, I think (1) Gillard has done well, and (2) it would be suicide for the ALP to change again.

    On the polls as they have been since mid last year, if an election were held, Labor would be lucky to win 1 – Kevin Rudd’s seat.

    Agreed. But my expectation is that the polls will change as we get closer to the election. Mid term polls are a chance for the polled to pay out on the Government about anything they don’t like. Elections are when they choose who they want to run the country.

    If the economy is going well and voters are not in too much stress with their personal finances my guess is they will overcome their dislike of Gillard’s voice and her perceived treachery towards Rudd. I also think the partisan barracking of the media will help. Gillard is not getting a fair go and in the long term Aussies won’t be happy about that.

  143. CMMC

    Rudd & Gillard – Somebody That I Used To Know

  144. Doug

    On the ACT and the ALP – we have only had one ALP majority government in recent times – due to the wonderful electoral system it really is hard for either of the major parties to get a majority in their own right.

    And a good thing it is too.

  145. Ambigulous

    If Kevin Rudd was such a Dire Leader that his colleagues flocked to turf him out during his first term, why would they vote him back in?

    Here’s a possibility: some of them calculate that he’d lose the election, but not as badly as the current PM would. Having lost, he’d resign and be replaced immediately. They’d only have to put up with him during the election campaign. (This assumes the election would be called very soon after Ms Gillard was removed. Perhaps the Independents would see to that?)

  146. Danny

    sam @ 101….”the price of diesel for their jet skis”???

    A diesel jet ski? Awesome, I want one …. it’d run on veggie oil, showing that being green doesn’t have to be slow and square, … I can just see His Brown-ness roaring up to new Southbank ABC studio boat ramp on one, rooster tail ‘n’ all, Sarah as pillion, to a presser explaining their new plan for supporting Green Transport Technologies …. and fun.

    Werdjagettum?