By Callen Sorensen-Karklis
The 21st century Labor Party has a lot to offer Australians, despite being written off in recent times as a party of disunity during its 2007 – 2013 period of government. Labor still has a profound legacy that has helped positively steer Australia’s place in the world in the Asian century. Although it might not seem it yet now to many but in 20 – 30 years’ time Rudd and Gillard’s place in the history books will be among the names of Curtin, Chifley, Whitlam, Hawke and Keating.
Rudd’s moving apology to the stolen generations of Indigenous Australians was one of the bravest yet most noble acts of human compassion (compare the compassion shown by the current government). And how can anybody forget Gillard’s memorable speech about sexism and misogyny when defining her place as a strong woman leader in politics against the likes of Tony Abbott?
Labor’s economic management through the global financial crisis (GFC) was a sense of fiscal responsibility saving Australia from the brink of economic catastrophe, having been one of the few OECD nations to pull through mostly unscathed by the crisis and the only one not to enter into a recession. Labor’s plan to initiate the nation building NBN, NDIS, education revolution, improving LGBTIQ rights, strengthening of ties with Australia’s Asian neighbours, paid parental leave scheme, heightened funding into the old age pension, health, science, and renewables sectors were all smart political moves which aimed at looking at Australia’s place in the world not only in the next decade but the next 100 years.
Labor’s moves to abolish the draconian work choices legislation (that undermined our nation’s identity as being the place of the fair go) showed to our workers that we value helping mates pull through a tough day’s work no matter how much is in your pay or who your peers or bosses are. Labor’s moves to share the profits of the mining boom was in itself a move to strengthen our nation’s public works and provide for our citizens acting on an area that was ignored for so long. The move to place a price on carbon no matter how we all felt about it was an act that showed that we care about preserving the earth for our future generations. Labor proved that Australians are not a greedy people but a humble people who think about the end game whilst looking out for one another.
When historians look upon the works of the Rudd/Gillard Labor era, despite its off and on leadership spills and some slip ups here and there, it will be acknowledged Labor’s success was more profound than its failures. It should also be acknowledged that under the prime ministership of Julia Gillard, not only did Australia receive AAA ratings from the three major agencies, but for the first time in 40 years the unemployment rate, inflation rate, and interest rates were all below 5%. Labor’s legacy will shine through stronger than the current Abbott/Turnbull era of negligence, whilst the Hawke/Keating eras were defined by economic reforms the Rudd/Gillard era will be defined by the fiscal economics, environmental preservation, and friendly diplomatic relations with Asia, building upon our success in the process and laying the foundations of a modern Australia.
About the author: Callen is a proud member of the ALP and an executive member of the QLD Fabians Society, and his local Crime Stoppers branch, he has strong connections to North Stradbroke Island as a Quandamooka Noonucle Indigenous person. Callen has worked for various unions, distributing, sales companies and market research briefly and has worked in retail for over 6 years. Callen is currently a university student.