April 23, 2013 | Graham

A powerful argument for dumping federal Labor

Could there be good reasons for rusted on Labor voters to change their vote to Liberal this election? And if there are, what does it say for the likely poll result, and the responses currently being garnered by pollsters?

Former Queensland Council of Unions President Dave Harris is quoted in today’s Courier Mail which says:

The former union boss said Labor needed to restrict the power of factions if it was to appeal to more voters, but warned this was only likely to happen if the party was wiped out at the federal election.

“For change to happen, there has got to be a cataclysmic act like the severe flogging they received in Queensland,” he told The Courier-Mail.

“The Labor Party will not be a party that attracts a broader group of people while the control mechanisms are in the hands of so few people and the power blocs aren’t challenged.

“Frankly, reality says that the trade unions cannot continue to have the influence in a broader-based party that they have enjoyed for the last hundred years.”

If there are many others out there who feel just like Harris, then it will be a potent weapon for Abbott as the election nears, turning an act of reluctant “disloyalty” to an organisation that people have treasured, into a measured and moral act of chastisement.

It means that swings will likely be larger than are currently captured in the polling data, but that the election win by the Liberals will be one that could (assuming Labor learns its lessons quickly) be relatively quickly reverse. It would give Abbott a huge majority, but one he needs to be circumspect in wielding, as it will be partially driven not by support for him, but support for “labor” or genuine “Labor values”.

Again from the Courier:

He mocked Ms Gillard’s repeated use of the phrase “Labor values”, saying this just alienated voters.

“I am horrified by the crass politics. There are no Labor values in the stuff that’s going on.”

It may also bode well for Bob Katter. His values are probably closest to what Harris calls “Labor”.

Posted by Graham at 11:15 am | Comments (8) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Graham,

    I do find these kinds of arguments a bit disingenuous. A huge majority is hardly good for democracy; it may bring some reform to the ALP but that’s not certain; it is definitely in the interests of the LNP.

    Comment by Kevin Rennie — April 23, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

  2. It’s hard to disagree with such a powerful argument. And one sees a virtual landslide win for the coalition, in current polls. [Albeit, a week is still a very long time in politics.]
    Moreover, the case put is one I’ve also made myself on several occasions recently.
    The party needs to spend enough time in the political wilderness, so that it has no other choice but to divest itself of all the self serving filth, along with those, I believe, who’s basic anti-democratic autocratic values are anything but, (Crean, Rudd, Tanner, Bligh?) social justice, light on the hill labour; and who between them, have all but destroyed a once great party! [And if the cap fits!?]
    Not that I’m a rusted on voter for any party, but tend to consider the issues, look at both sides of any argument, and judge policies on their merit or otherwise, rather than who’s original idea it was.
    Both major parties lack visionary imagination, excel in mediocrity, heaps of non core promises, and major policy back-flips. [No carbon tax, no Pacific solution!] [A guaranteed surplus!] [A GST? Never ever!]
    And occurring at a time, when as never before in our history, we need bipartisan pragmatism, [how many more people have to drown or live behind razor wire,] and essential economic reform!
    What is continually served up instead, is mindless petty bickering, broken record rhetoric, and party politics, which is simply ramped up and amplified!
    Culminating in a couple of so called “senior” politicians, bolting from the chamber, in mad hatter like, tea party theatrics! [Maybe they should put more water with it, next time?]
    However, having learned the lessons of history, one feels inclined to ensure that the coalition, doesn’t also control the senate.
    Thank heavens for Bob Katter and his bunch of plain speaking, tell it like it is, what you see is what you get, pragmatists and the, keep the bar stewards honest, independents.
    Alan B Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — April 24, 2013 @ 10:24 am

  3. The light on the hill stuff ws always bs, suitable for a different time.

    Policy much harder now, but few people in power (whether politics, media or ps) appear capable or willing to work hard to fit all the different policy domains together through a need for dramatic reform.

    ians net t wer wer

    Comment by Chris Lewis — April 24, 2013 @ 10:49 am

  4. Light on the hill suitable for a different time? Well, given the light on the hill represented real reform, genuine loyalty, solidarity, courage of conviction, a willingness to take up the cudgels on behalf of the underdog, long term vision, big ideas and true social justice, Chris, you may well be right?
    The parliamentary party is now one that comes straight from uni or the unions, with an extremely narrow and untested world view, and all wanting to lead, well before they’ve learned to follow?
    Which is the first requisite of real leaders.
    Little wonder policy is harder. I mean it’s not as if Gillard is not an inclusive leader, or members don’t have opportunities to voice their opinions inside caucus.
    It’s just that a minority of them won’t accept the majority view, the vote, or the umpire’s derision.
    The real BS Chris, is millionaires being capable of representing or genuinely holding traditional Labour views/values?
    When there was a light on the hill, there were no fiscal conservatives or economic drys in the party, and candidates were drawn from those with real world experience.
    So, in an odd way, we might be in complete agreement about light on the hill stuff, given it clearly doesn’t resonate inside NEW Labour, which one might suggest, has moved to the right of Menzie’s Liberals?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — April 24, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

  5. The Australian Labor party is supposed to be the political wing of the Labour movement. As the Labour movement is riddled with factionalism, why is everyone expecting the parliamentary party to be any different?

    Comment by Jon Reinertsen — April 25, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

  6. Well, simply put, if the product is no longer palatable, People will no longer accept it!
    The electorate is a good deal more educated and erudite than when Labour first came to power?
    Since then, various factions have emerged, or put another way, autocrats, commies, the self serving corrupt or conservatives, wearing Labour clothing?
    Another problem is the lack of a genuine underdog or enough people doing it genuinely tough, to mobilise the unions and labour support, like the way work choices did, when work choices was introduced; back when the coalition controlled both houses and able to indulge all their excesses?
    That situation could be about to change, unless the powers that be in Europe, get busy busy moneterising debt!
    And the coalition having bagged Labour so often and effectively, need to outperform them in Govt.
    We will need to see a better performing economy, more growth, production and performance, or just judge them as empty vessels; and yet another one term Govt?
    Something else to think about, eh?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — April 26, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

  7. We need a new political party to replace Labor.They have betrayed the very people whom they proport to represent.
    At least the Liberal Party makes no pretense about power of the elites who control them.

    Comment by Ross — April 26, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

  8. A disability insurance scheme, a huge boost in sorely needed secondary school funding, an opening up of university places so that those on the lower socio-economic scale get a look in, a super profits mining tax.

    Cry if you want to about the process and their implementation but I don’t think the argument that these are not core Labour values can be in anyway sustained.

    Comment by csteele — April 29, 2013 @ 10:47 am

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