This is a rather difficult post to write. One of the things that upsets people on the left side of politics more than anything is other people on the left side of politics ruining consensus by having a different point of view.
I noticed this on social media this week when it seemed that anyone who said something along the lines of, « I don’t agree with the decision to dump Mark Butler, particularly when Albo said he wouldn’t be doing that just a couple of months ago, » was accused of practically handing the next election to the Coalition. Apparently it’s fine to get rid of Butler because he hasn’t been able to cut through in his portfolio but any suggestion that one should replace Albanese as leader because he isn’t cutting through is a terrible suggestion and we’ve all got to pull together and get behind the leader.
Joel Fitzgibbon has been making a lot of noise and doing more interviews than just about anyone in the Labor party lately and his point is that one shouldn’t be focused on climate change because the emphasis should be on jobs… In particular, his.
Of course, it’s always good to adapt to the times and to demonstrate a capacity to change your mind based on a more thoughtful consideration of the best course of action. Albanese realised that the only way to get Joel Fitzgibbon on board was to give in to everything that he wanted. This is a great way to foster unity… And a couple of days ago when Joel said that they had to make it easier to change the leader, he was very clear to tell the audience that this was a general comment and nothing to do with the current leader, so that seems to have worked really well.
I think it’s worth remembering that the last election wasn’t a wipeout for Labor. The disappointments came because they were expected to win and, in most states, they did well. Queensland was a bit of an outlier and there were a couple of surprises like Gladys Liu, but given the recent state result in Queensland, the next federal election may not be so positive for the Coalition… particularly if Morrison campaigns there.
As I see it, Labor’s strategy since the last election is to work on the theory that if they just move closer and closer to the Liberals then people won’t be able to tell the difference and that they’ll win because they’re so much nicer. This is pretty much what Kim Beasley tried with asylum seekers in the lead-up to the 2001 election and that worked out really well because, well, he almost won.
Personally I suspect that when one starts adopting one’s opponent’s position, it tends to suggest to the electorate that the other side was right all along, but then I tend to think that parties would be better to stand up and tell the truth, even if it meant that there’s some electoral damage. I mean Labor went into the 1969 election opposing the Vietnam War; they lost. However, they didn’t decide to revise their policy and try to make themselves more appealing by ditching something that many of the members felt strongly about. To me, fighting climate change fits into that category.
Yes, I know. It’s easy when it’s not your job that’s at stake. But the reality is that when it comes to jobs in coal, it’s a matter of when. Even the PM when asserting the long term nature of coal assured as that there’s still be jobs in coal in “ten, twenty, thirty years”. Thirty years is a far cry from the coal will be around forever that was being suggested by the Matt Canavan brigade.
Arguing that we need to help workers and businesses in the transition from fossil fuels is at least honest. Pretending that their jobs are safe is like trying to keep the fax machine factory operating.
Speaking of transitions, I’m still trying to get a handle on the whole Google should pay for content thing. While I think that Google is far too big and we need to be looking at ways to ensure it pays its share of tax and doesn’t take advantage of its near monopoly position, arguing that it should pay media for directing people to their site is like asking the Uber driver to pay a fee every time he brings someone to your restaurant. Whatever else, it does strike me as odd that the government is getting involved in this dispute between private companies and coming down so hard on the side of the media companies.
At least it would strike me as odd if it weren’t for the fact that the same government paid Murdoch companies to cover women’s sport and the Murdoch companies charge the ABC for the right to show it.
Yes, this government is a shocker, and according to some people on social media, I shouldn’t be criticising the Labor party because we all have to unite and get behind Albo. I understand that but I did find it amusing when someone replied that they wouldn’t vote Labor while Joel Fitzgibbon was leading it. Yes, disunity is death. And yes, I get that some people want consensus and that means that nobody should disagree with them.
But I do wonder what those people will be saying if we have a new Labor leader by the end of the week. Sportsbet is running a book on whether Albanese leads them to the next election and if you suspect that he won’t be challenge because nobody else wants the job, then you can get good odds on that happening. While I’m not encouraging you to gamble, you can also get even better odds on Shorten being the next Labor leader but surely they wouldn’t do that!
Still after Brexit, Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Scott Morrison and everything else that’s happened, betting on the most unlikely result would have made some people rich!
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