August 30, 2015 | Graham

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the (Labor) party

It is quite clear from the Trade Union Royal Commission that not only are a number of unions riddled with criminality, but those same unions believe they own the Australian Labor Party.

All large organisations will from time to time harbour criminals. That is a given of human affairs. What counts is not whether this happens or not, but how you deal with the criminals once discovered.

Good organisations root them out, but corrupt organisations support them and try to hide their sins.

I know a lot of people who think of themselves as good are involved with the Australian Labor Party. Some of them are friends of mine, and they are people I regard as good.

But a good person would not act to protect the guilty parties, and that is what the Labor Party is doing.

Someone who is a party to that becomes an accomplice to the crime. Unfortunately a lot of Labor Party members have become accomplices.

One who hasn’t is Martin Ferguson, himself a former ACTU president.

Australia needs a decent left of centre party with ambitions to form government. It hasn’t got one at the moment.

It’s time for all of us who care about democracy to form a unity ticket, not matter how we vote, and support reform of the social democratic party.

Out of the last three Labor leaders only one, Kevin Rudd, wasn’t a puppet of the unions and a beneficiary of dodgy practices by union officials or themselves.

If the Labor Party isn’t dedicated to rooting these crooks out, then it doesn’t deserve to continue to exist. Which is a tragedy that should not be allowed to happen.

But can it be avoided?

So many prominent parliamentary members are owned by crooked unions. A clean out would involve removing people like Bill Shorten and Penny Wong federally, and others like Joanne Miller in Queensland.

It’s hard to see that happening. So maybe the solution is to set up a new social democrat party without union ties, and with a real concern for the interests of those the unions are supposed to represent.

Such a party wouldn’t necessarily seek to win election in its own right, but it would seek to give voters in working class electorates an honest party that they could honestly vote for.

And it would provide real pressure on Labor to reform.

The alternative is to allow Australian politics to stray into a twilight zone where government alternates between generally honest centre-right parties, and generally institutionally corrupt centre-left ones.

It’s time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of the Labor Party and support reformers like Martin Ferguson.

Posted by Graham at 6:59 pm | Comments (5) |

April 30, 2012 | Nick

A change is gonna come

On the weekend, Graham Quirk led the LNP team to a massive victory in the Brisbane City Council with a significant swing to the LNP. At the same time, Jackie Trad came very close to losing the South Brisbane by-election with a further swing to the LNP on top of the massive swing at the recent state election.

The results from those two elections destroy any theory that the electorate might snap back after giving Labor a kicking. There appears to have been a significant shift in voter loyalty.

There are only two states in Australia – South Australia and Victoria – where Labor has any realistic expectation that it might win the next state election. It is still behind in both of those states according to Newspoll, just not so disastrously far behind as it is everywhere else.

The Gillard Government is terminal. Those who think otherwise are kidding themselves. The results in Queensland and Brisbane make previously unthinkable results possible. There is a real possibility that the ALP is headed for something similar at the federal level. There is a real possibility that it will not hold a single seat in Western Australia or Queensland at the next federal election.

So what’s next? If the Labor Party is wiped out at the federal election as seems likely, it will have major structural problems. It won’t be able to raise money because no one will seriously entertain the possibility that they will be in government any time soon. They will not have the infrastructure that comes from having a critical mass of elected officials.

That lack of infrastructure will put the Labor Party in an historically weak position. It has been in a similarly weak position, but not in competition with another serious left-wing force. Now the Greens are devouring the Labor Party from the left and represent serious competition for the left wing vote.

So, before long, the opposition to the Coalition, now increasingly identified by the Queensland moniker “LNP”, will consist of the of two parties, the ALP and the Greens, neither with the wherewithal or the popular acceptance to make a go of things alone.

Where does all that lead? My guess is that within this decade, we will see the left have its equivalent of Menzies’ 1944 conference that saw formation of the Liberal Party. It’s at least a couple of elections away, I think. The Greens will not be able to accept for a while yet that there dreams of governing in their own right will not come true. The Labor Party has a lot of baggage of which it must let go before it could subscribe to it.

What will be necessary (and what I think likely) is a couple of big drubbings in a row at the federal level, and continued bad results in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. After that, the left will not be able to bear things any longer. They won’t be able to bear what I suspect will be an extended Abbott supremacy. That is when the re-alignment is likely to happen.

Posted by Nick at 4:23 pm | Comments (8) |