Labor's Future (1 Viewer)

MoonlightSonata

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Is Labor becoming redundant?

With enduring lack of popularity and a reduced target base, now that the Howard battlers have become the ultimate mass-appeal focus, it seems like Labor is in a crisis and not going anywhere fast. They don't have a senate majority. Their leader is currently and has been since re-elected in a disfavourable opinion by the Australian public. I mean is this just a rough patch, a quiet before a storm, or is Labor truly becoming a lost cause? The government has been able to endure a massive string of what would seem like media disasters, from children overboard, to Iraq, to mandatory detention. There are many.

Gone are the days of the traditional labourers and working men. We are in an era of aspirational voters, many of whom are or identify with being middle class, and seem to be feeling more and more alienated from Labor. Perhaps this is an age of individualism, moreover perhaps it is an age of self-interest - egalitarianism is surely more a principle of Labor than it is of the Liberals.

I am largely centre, though I voted Liberal last election. But I am concerned about this. Conflict is necessary in a democracy to ensure accountability.
 

Generator

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Generator said:
Beazley may be liked by many as the conservative yet verbose man that he is, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he's the best person to lead a party that has been in opposition for so long. The ALP is in need of something new yet relevant, and it seems as though Beazley and the faction system will only deliever what is relevant. If the ALP is to account for the 'why fix what isn't broken' idea at the federal level, then something has to change.
Sorry, but I was feeling lazy (I'm sure that most would have looked through the recent Latham as it is, but oh well).

As it currently stands, federal Labor is hardly something that is worthy of praise (support, maybe). If it's to 'rise' again, it must articulate its platform so that it's both effective and different to that of the Coalition. In time, we must know what it is that the party actually stands for, and whether such a position is capable of reconciling the differences between the socially conservative outer-suburbanites and the socially progressive latte posse.

The aspirational values are something that must be tapped (Latham was their champion for a time, but not when he became leader, it seems), but at the same time they must be 'tweaked' so that rather than aspiring to escape from a substandard life, people begin to aspire to creating a better society for themselves and all around them, rather than just those of a similar frame of mind. Keating suggested that under Howard, optimism from those in power had been lacking, and that more than anything is something that the ALP could quite easily appropriate and use to their advantage and to work towards the betterment of Australia.

I could also delve into the problems that exist within the party machine, but as I'm not a member of the ALP and only a relatively recent observer I would be best to leave such comments to those in the press (the few willing to talk, anyway).

I may think of something else to say later, but this should suffice for now.

Edit: Just to clarify my position, I onced toyed with the idea of joining Young Labor, but that was only as I was seriously considering applying for a Democrats membership. Still, as with many, even though my initial vote may not always be for the ALP, it will always be preferenced ahead of the Coalition parties (if not second on my list of preferences).
 
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mr_shittles

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I reckon Labor is far from dead. It has a record majorities in Queensland and the Northern Territory, with the governments being re-elected in the ACT, Western Australia and NT since the last federal election. In fact, at the state level, Labor's popularity is miles ahead of John Howard's (proportionally adjusted) everywhere except NSW (where Carr is becomming unpopular), WA (where their one vote one valu reforms came under fire) and SA (where the control Parliament with the help of independents).

The approval levels of Beattie (Qld), Lennon (Tas), Stanhope (ACT), Martin (NT) and Bracks (Vic) are very, very high. If the Liberals lost power federally, every House of Parliament in Australia will have been controlled by Labor. John Howard's personal appeal is unstoppable . . . like Menzies or Hawke really. I can't see Howard ever being kicked out of office by the electorate.
 

leetom

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Labor needs to develop a strong, defining policy that exists in stark contrast to a standing Liberal one. My own crazy idea is to take a hardline stance on the Chinese Communist Party. I realise this means disaster for any monetary gain a trading relationship with China would bring, but such a stance would identify with the majority of Australians. Support would be received from those concerned with human rights, and the great mass of voting Australians who still hold a deep mistrust of Asia. The propaganda value is also decent, creating images of brave little Labor standing up to the mean Red giants while Downer panders about courting the Hunan province peasant-bandits.

The IR reforms are still to take full effect yet. I was talking to a friend from a traditional Liberal voting family today, with both parents working as teachers in the public sector. The family is unhappy with the proposed legislation, as it apparently further decreases teachers hopes for any wage increases. The IR reforms' potential to shift even idealogical stalwarts is significant. We must wait and see how Labor deals with the IR issue, and then we will be able to make a fiar decision as to Federal Labor's ability.

If all else fails, there's nothing else left except for joining the Party itself and changing it ourselves, first starting by purging Young Labor of the extreme left.
 

Sarah

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MoonlightSonata said:
Gone are the days of the traditional labourers and working men. We are in an era of aspirational voters, many of whom are or identify with being middle class, and seem to be feeling more and more alienated from Labor. Perhaps this is an age of individualism, moreover perhaps it is an age of self-interest - egalitarianism is surely more a principle of Labor than it is of the Liberals.

I am largely centre, though I voted Liberal last election. But I am concerned about this. Conflict is necessary in a democracy to ensure accountability.
Agreed. It does reflect social changes but also the economic and structural changes which have taken place (ironically initiated by labor) e.g decline in primary sector, growth in services sector of the economy. And also increasing social mobility where ppl from less advantaged backgrounds are now gaining an education and aren't limited to jobs in the primary sector.
mr_shittles said:
I reckon Labor is far from dead. It has a record majorities in Queensland and the Northern Territory, with the governments being re-elected in the ACT, Western Australia and NT since the last federal election. In fact, at the state level, Labor's popularity is miles ahead of John Howard's (proportionally adjusted) everywhere except NSW (where Carr is becomming unpopular), WA (where their one vote one valu reforms came under fire) and SA (where the control Parliament with the help of independents).

The approval levels of Beattie (Qld), Lennon (Tas), Stanhope (ACT), Martin (NT) and Bracks (Vic) are very, very high. If the Liberals lost power federally, every House of Parliament in Australia will have been controlled by Labor. John Howard's personal appeal is unstoppable . . . like Menzies or Hawke really. I can't see Howard ever being kicked out of office by the electorate.
From what i've read, people seem to have faith in Labour at the state level due to their belief that labour can deliver on state issues e.g schools, health however on a federal level, people have more faith in Liberals due to their economic credentials e.g low interest rates, low inflation (in comparison to past inflation levels), economic growth
 

theone123

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yea sarah is rite

labor will dominate state level governments always and liberals will always dominate federal government at this stage...
 

leetom

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I salute you. Go forward, brave Labor rationalist. I will join you soon.
 

Phanatical

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I'm a Labor voter, but only because Labor is the least of the evils down in Canberra. At USYD, I've gotten on the wrong side of both the Labor Left and Right because I believe in the fundamental right to my freedom of speech, and I would like to disagree with the caucus if I am so inclined.

What we need are a lot more independents in the Federal Parliament. I would like to encourage each and every one of you to look seriously at the policies of your independent candidates, and perhaps even support them.
 

Meldrum

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Everyone wants Labour to survive and, once again, become a viable alternative to conservatism. Even the Greens. Have you noticed that each time Labour losses popularity, Brown releases another hair-brained scheme?
 

withoutaface

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The current Labor position is a very difficult one, and I think right now all they can do is wait for the Coalition to make a major economic blunder, because so far as I can see nothing else is going to bring them down.
 
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katie_tully

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mr_shittles said:
I reckon Labor is far from dead. It has a record majorities in Queensland and the Northern Territory,
Whilst it has record majorities in NT and QLD you need to remember that these states/territories don't hold the majority of the population.

I think we'll find that people are losing faith in Labor based on the recent events. I doubt anybody can find security and reassurance in a political party which can't even remain at peace with itself.
 

withoutaface

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katie_tully said:
Whilst it has record majorities in NT and QLD you need to remember that these states/territories don't hold the majority of the population.

I think we'll find that people are losing faith in Labor based on the recent events. I doubt anybody can find security and reassurance in a political party which can't even remain at peace with itself.
The Liberals are looking rather unsettled at the moment also.
 
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katie_tully

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Renegade back benchers...yes.
I wouldn't say to the same degree as labor though.
 
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katie_tully

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I think Kim went in thinking it would be the same as last time he was leader and cannot accept that the party has changed.
 

leetom

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Agreed- Swan and Kim did well in responding to the Budget in such a small time frame. I think it is an idicator of their ability to manage and present effectively. The Liberal Party is horribly successful in twisting Labor policy into some gross form of its actual self- anti- tax cut indeed.

Labor seems to lack an effective propagnada machine to counter the ridicules from the Liberals. The suggestion that Labor was a 'high-taxing' party should have been countered immediately with the truth- that Labor was campaigning for more evenly distributed tax cuts.

What is the 'third way', Asquithian?
 
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Rafy

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Indeed. The labor message becomes distored and is more than often unclear to the electorate

Its something they need to work on.
 

MoonlightSonata

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leetom said:
Agreed- Swan and Kim did well in responding to the Budget in such a small time frame. I think it is an idicator of their ability to manage and present effectively. The Liberal Party is horribly successful in twisting Labor policy into some gross form of its actual self- ant- tax cut indeed.

Labor seems to lack an effective propagnada machine to counter the ridicules from the Liberals. The suggestion that Labor was a 'high-taxing' party should have been countered immediately with the truth- that Labor was campaigning for more evenly distributed tax cuts.
I know, Labor needs to work on their 10-second sound bites and come up with some better motifs and punchlines than "eaze the squeeze", which is far too arbitrary and meaningless. At least, no matter how wrong it may be, the basic idea of "Labor is denying you from getting a tax break" is short, sharp and hits home. They need to work on their public relations.

Not all of their shadow ministers are particularly good or assertive speakers either. Stephen Smith for instance, regardless of his true merits, is a very soft and ineffective speaker. He needs to be more confident and persuassive.
 

Rafy

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MoonlightSonata said:
Not all of their shadow ministers are particularly good or assertive speakers either. Stephen Smith for instance, regardless of his true merits, is a very soft and ineffective speaker. He needs to be more confident and persuassive.
Thats one of the problems i feel faces labor. Their ministry selection process seems to be not based on merit, or political competancy, but populatrity and support within factions. This faction system results more often than not denies the best people from assuming the roles they would be most effective in. And then there is the personal level. You have compent politicians been overlooked due to personal disputes. Just look at what latham did to the likes of mcmullan.
 

leetom

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Mcmullan is still out in the cold as well.

As for Latham, he should shutup. His reign is over and he should resign himself to at least superficial support for the Party. I find it disgusting that he can lead the party for a year and then say that it doesn't have a future. Latham himself played a role in Labor's apparent demise, he should be wary of critisicing it so readily.

Smith was quite accurate in speaking of Latham's time at the helm- "a sad personal experience for Mark and a sorry political experience for the Labor Party".
 

Enlightened_One

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Conflict is necessary in a democracy which is why the idea of one party having control of both houses frightens me. Both the major political parties have survived rough patches and I've no doubt Labor will, like any true working class underdog, battle it out until they regain their footing.
Perhaps this is the perfect time for another party to rise up. Australia has changed and unless Labor changes to them they will be swamped.
Having said that I like Beazley's new stance. It might not appeal to many, but it has a certain idealistic quality that anyone with half an eye on politics may admire. He intends to do what he thinks is right and not worry about votes or spinning the truth or chasing popularity. Noble, Idealistic, but I wonder how much of it is not just a fancy spin to get back voters.
 

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