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Julia Gillard may have won the vote, but the ALP remains desperately dysfunctional

Julia Gillard lives to fight another day, having being reelected unopposed at this afternoon’s caucus meeting. While Rudd declared he would not nominate for the leadership this time, the destablisation…

Julia Gillard emerges triumphant after challenging Kevin Rudd for the leadership in 2010. She has survived two subsequent threats to her leadership since. Is this the new normal for Australian politics? AAP/Alan Porritt

Julia Gillard lives to fight another day, having being reelected unopposed at this afternoon’s caucus meeting.

While Rudd declared he would not nominate for the leadership this time, the destablisation by his supporters has undoubtedly damaged both Gillard and the perception of the party as a whole.

So where now for Labor? And what does this continual jockeying over the leadership - which is not restricted to the ALP or federal politics - say about the wider Australian political landscape?

There is a scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, when Brian has been crucified and is sitting on the cross. Through the Roman lines breaks the “Suicide Squad of Judea” and for a moment, everyone thinks they are saved. The Squad proudly proclaim their mission as “suicide”, and even though they have a chance to continue their run at the Romans, they lift their breastplates and stab themselves in the heart.

Watching that again recently, it is surprising how much this scene reminds me of the Federal Labor Party.

As our federal government descended into farce in order to decide our national leader once again, it’s worth asking whether our elected representatives are more concerned with coming together to govern the country, or splitting apart to save their skins at the next election.

Since Julia Gillard called a ballot to depose Kevin Rudd way back in 2010, the former Prime Minister has been a thorny issue for the government, highlighted by the leadership ballot last year. The issue of leadership has clearly distracted the government from actually running the country, and today’s tumultuous events showcase to the public just how much the Labor party is riven by internal factions.

This is the third leadership ballot in under three years, and it underscores Australian politics increased descent into internal popularity contests conducted without the input of the voters.

The biggest example of Australia’s rapid descent into quick fire leadership challenges can be seen in the NSW Labor Party. After the stable decade long leadership of Bob Carr, the state saw three premiers in five years, with one, Nathan Rees, memorably declaring his removal to be the work of “faceless men” operating out of public view.

The predilection for changing leaders has now been given the moniker “NSW Disease”, a pejorative term indicating a party riven with internal factions, headed by a puppet installed at the whim of the ascendant faceless men.

Yet this disease is not just contained to NSW, or even Labor, spreading as it has to other states and political parties. Earlier this month the Premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu resigned in the face of an internal revolt, another first term casualty.

And a week later Terry Mills was unceremoniously sacked while on official business in Japan, only six months after leading the Country Liberal Party out of opposition. One must wonder if Campbell Newman is somewhat nervous in Queensland.

And as many are noting: maybe Malcolm Turnbull is planning his run only after Tony Abbott may be elected.

Kevin Rudd failed to nominate for the leadership in the most recent spill. Is he the fedseral embodiment of the “NSW disease”? AAP/Alan Porritt

The trend is clear. Australian political leaders now run a huge risk of being deposed by their party. Whether this means they have to spend more time placating backbenchers and ministers, as opposed to making decisions in the best interests of their state, or country, is up for debate. But it would be naïve to think leadership rumblings don’t distract our key parliamentarians from their core duties, especially when the press is fed daily leaks detailing inner bickerings and disputes.

The danger of constantly agitating for a new leader is clear. In the absence of a direct vote for the state or national leader, the public is locked out of these discussions. Our election campaigns may be growing more presidential, focussing as they do on the leader to the exclusion of ministers and policies, yet we still only elect our parliamentarians, who decide who to elect as their leaders in turn. The public outcry when Kevin Rudd was replaced by Julia Gillard in 2010 is instructive.

Kevin Rudd was impossible to work with, the ALP ministers protested, yet he was clearly a very popular figure in the community. The public confusion after his axing highlighted the problem with our political system as it currently stands. By running such a presidential style campaign, many people simply voted for Kevin Rudd over John Howard, not Labor over the Coalition.

Perhaps it is time to break a sacred Australian political taboo and suggest the time has come to directly elect our leaders. The current sagas engulfing both our state and federal governments are clearly a huge distraction, taking precious time away from affairs of state and directing them towards internal politics.

Is it really that hard to stick with a leader for a full term? And if they’re that bad, why shouldn’t they go to the ballot box to face the wrath of the public, instead of simply putting a new face forward? Most people might consider this a crafty trick, and in the wake of today’s events it would be hard to disagree with them.

We need leaders that will break though the many complex and wicked problems confronting our society: entrenched cross-generational poverty, climate change, the changing security environment are just three.

Instead we get a version of a Monty Python scene – one that captures the absurdity of opening up your breastplate and doing the Opposition’s dirty work for them.

Join the conversation

83 Comments sorted by

  1. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    fair comment.

    but to be honest whilst labor is in disarray, the liberals dont present that great an option either.

    i know it gets down to whom you "like" more in many cases. but as has been said several times today, labor has passed an impressive amount of legislation.

    the trouble is that (as you point out) they seem to have a death wish.

    oh well on with the show.....the long long show.

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    1. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      Exactly. How many times does the PM have to show she has the support of her party, and the majority of caucus? This whole media frenzy has gone way beyond the point of ridiculousness.

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    2. John C Smith

      Auditor

      In reply to Judith Olney

      .. and the support of reds after a green acrylic shower and the one party few, what would you expect in a minority governmrnt. A job untill September and beyond, may be.

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    3. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to John C Smith

      John I'm not good with cryptic responses, I have no idea what you mean by your post. Please use plain language.

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    4. Ron Chinchen

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Unfortunately I suspect Julia will be gone with 1-2 weeks. Rudd or Crean will be PM.

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    5. Fred Bloggs

      Agent provocateur

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      Quite so: they're marching proudly out of step over the cliff backwards chanting a confused mishmash of "The Red Flag" and "I am Woman".

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  2. Comment removed by moderator.

  3. Chris Lee

    logged in via Facebook

    Although I admire Gillard's resolve and fortitude, I really cannot fail to think that maybe her clinging to power will ultimately mean the demise of labor. She must clearly see that her PMship is a huge liability for the labor party. People just don't like her personally. I don't know why, but her approval ratings have never been good. Rudd got knocked for having one bad poll, and she's experienced even worse than those polls ALL throughout her leadership.

    I really don't want Abbott to be the next PM. He will cut the NBN and the carbon tax. We need progressive and constructive infrastructure investments to power our economy into the future, and Abott and his cronies will only sit on their arses and say 'the market will figure things out'. And then they will decry the impotence of government when they fail to get things done in a timely and cost effective fashion. It's a self-fulling prophecy, they're a party that actively promotes the idea that government can't get anything right.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Chris Lee

      hi chris

      i really liked JG when she became pm, but to be fair i did not KR at all - AT ALL.
      and it was great to have a woman pm (just cos)

      but then the shine started to wear off and i kept hoping for it to reappear and it didnt.

      i then think she started over-reaching and tried to become too populist, but could never get there anyway.

      then she had another go at re-inventing herself, and even that didnt work. there was a glimpse of the REAL julia, but it then melted away in the blink of an eye.

      sadly i dont think there is any one person in my opinion that would make a good pm in either party.

      we need a leader for all occasions and sadly there are too many one trick ponies.

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    2. leonie wellard

      retiree

      In reply to Chris Lee

      Hardly "clinging to power" Chris Lee........no one challenged either her or Swan!!!!!!

      I'm damned sure that the Opposition (with its current rabble front bench) could not have accomplished anywhere near what Gillard's government has during a hung parliament. Far from being "actively promot(ing) the idea that government can't get anything right" JG and her front bench have had a massive agenda and have had passed far more Bills than anyone could have foreseen.

      Great work will continue through to September despite of a very hostile media.

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    3. leonie wellard

      retiree

      In reply to leonie wellard

      Reply to myself!!!!!!!!!!!Sorry Chris Lee , I realise I misread part of your comment.
      Still, it's been a stressful afternoon and I'm too used to people bagging JG...I got carried away a bit.

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    4. John C Smith

      Auditor

      In reply to Chris Lee

      NBN: more and more quick porn slowed by high electricty (carbon tax) prices.

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    5. John C Smith

      Auditor

      In reply to leonie wellard

      Achivements: death of fibre glass insulation installers. MRRT collecting almost nothing and reducing miners other taxes. NBN still connecting to cyber space. Media whips still being tanned. Raped by asylum seekers costing almost three billion dollars while children of single parents are made refugees in their own home. Carbon tax ......

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    6. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      SJR

      Am in agreement regarding KRudd - just something NQR - and later events proved that there is still something NQR.

      As for Julia, was happy to see a woman as PM "just cos". However, I have become more impressed with her - I cannot imagine too many politicians facing off the amount of flack with the equanimity and actually getting stuff done. Not all 'stuff' I agree with. However, she has proven herself to be an excellent negotiator, can deliver an excellent speech both nationally and internationally…

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    7. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      hi dianna

      we live in hope that JG will rise and rise to the occasion.

      i like to use the title of a margaret attwood book to describe KR - the smiling assassin.

      i'm reminded that a few years ago he was having a meeting with bill clinton. clinton remarked that having been lectured on american history by KR was interesting!

      i am less hard on crean, i think he was creating a scenario where there had to be a final moment of decision. to my mind he had the best interest of the party at heart, and in some ways became the sacrificial lamb.

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    8. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Crean most certainly did offer himself up. Time will tell the truth on that.

      I like your reference to Margaret Attwood - "the smiling assassin" indeed. Rudd. for some reason, raises the hackles.

      I just hope in the remaining months until September the ALP actually gets the message across to the public what they actually have achieved. Wish many Aussies would travel more to know how good we really have it here.

      I'm going to indulge in a little 'blue sky' thinking, Gillard wins and is therefore, (like Obama) able to implement some more of the 'sensitive' reforms such as a practical change to assessing asylum seekers (and saving tax payers money on expensive off shore 'processing'), equal rights to choose to marry, maybe even stop the anachronistic morning prayer - what do the many non-Christian pollies do during this ritual?

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    9. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      hi

      well presumably as a proclaimed non-religious person the PM plots against TA.

      when push comes to shove i would like to see JG as the PM after the election........but she and the labor party need to really rethink their priorities. the old days seem to have well and truly gone.
      it would be NICE to think the archaic factional mores would morph into a rational party of debate and consensus.

      but then again i also would like to win tattslotto.

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    10. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Playing the 'female' card may have worked for Gillard for a while. Calling Abbott a 'misogynist' may have temporarily gain some giggles. Waging a 'class-war' may have appeased some union leaders. Gillard and her mob continue to blame the media for all their troubles. What is often dismissed by Gillard and some members of Labor caucus is the fact that Gillard and her "faceless men" assassinated a sitting PM in such a brutal manner. It is quite different what Abbott did to Turmbull. The latter was…

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    11. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      " It is quite different what Abbott did to Turmbull"

      Neither side is any better than the other - they are both a nest of vipers with various teams of party apparatchiks scheming to attain control of the party and government by installing their preferred puppet.

      Whether or not this is done when the party in question holds government or is in opposition is insignificant.

      And we have just had a similar 'brutal assassination' of sitting liberal premier in Victoria. The only difference was that Ted decided to humbly step down where as Rudd preferred to go out fighting.

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  4. Aden Date

    Service Learning Coordinator at University of Western Australia

    "Kevin Rudd was impossible to work with, the ALP ministers protested, yet he was clearly a very popular figure in the community."

    I feel like this is one of those myths that has been repeated over and over so often it has become truth.

    At the time he was replaced at leader of the ALP, Rudd was not popular. This was in the wake of fumbling with the RSPT while the mining industry lay down an incisive campaign against it. The constant failure to pass the CPRS also contributed to a fall in the polls. The decision to replace Rudd with Gillard may have been made by faceless men, but it was done with the tacit endorsement of the Australian people, a perspective ultimately vindicated in Gillard's election.

    This myth that the factions are so powerful that a popular leader can be overthrown is bullocks.

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    1. Timothy Wong

      logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

      In reply to Aden Date

      @Aden Date,

      No there's a fair amount of truth to Rudd's inability to both work with other people or even to get along with them on a personal level.

      This includes not just the caucus and the cabinet but also the Canberra bureaucracy and public service.

      A good book on the subject is Nicholas Stuart's "Rudd's Way".

      http://blog.booktopia.com.au/2010/07/06/rudds-way-or-where-kevin-rudd-went-wrong-by-nicholas-stuart

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    2. Timothy Wong

      logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

      In reply to Timothy Wong

      "there's a fair amount of truth *to the picture of* Rudd's inability..."

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  5. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Quick off the mark to get a piece in James Arvanitakis but you are off the mark completely in not seeing the whole and actual picture. You're only seeing the results and judging incorrectly from them. You're swallowing and spreading around the News Ltd perpetrations upon the public.

    The constant leadership destabilization of this government is coming from Murdoch and the mainstream media, including the ABC. These are his sticks and carrots in operation, the display of his power in interfering…

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    1. Steve Phillips

      Nurse Practitioner

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Does not say much for the Labor party that it should dance to the tune of a businessman.
      You are saying they are a weak minded vaccilating mob of spineless milksops.

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    2. Fred Bloggs

      Agent provocateur

      In reply to Steve Phillips

      Well, of course, Steve. Everyone knows it pays to call yourself a victim in our Brave New Australia.

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  6. Riddley Walker

    .

    Julia Gillard may have won the vote, but the ALP remains desperately dysfunctional ....

    Sorry mate, simply repeating Tony Abbott's "this dysfunctional government" spin just isn't going to cut it.

    Over 400 pieces of legislation passed. The Murray Darling Basin Plan just ratified - no other government has managed anything near it. NBN, NDIS, managing the GFC, implementing a price on carbon pollution - the list goes on and on.

    Clearly you are unable to see through the constant media propaganda campaign against Gillard, bit of a shame for a lecturer.

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    1. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      Not to mention the NDIS legislation passed just yesterday, and the apology for the forced adoptions that was delivered today. What a pity the media finds it impossible to put anything positive into print or on air, and we have to put up with this leadership speculation drivel day in and day out.

      A note to journalists, grow up.

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    2. Fred Bloggs

      Agent provocateur

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      It's nice you're impressed, Ridley.

      Those of us who prefer thinking to cheerleading, however, are less so.

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    1. Hardy Gosch
      Hardy Gosch is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Mr.

      In reply to Dean Carville

      Hi Dean,
      No. It is meant to counterbalance the one-sided MSM/ABC/LNP "regime change" campaign.No more no less.What is "rubbish" for some is food for thought to others. I presume you still subscribe to the deadwood media?

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    2. Fred Bloggs

      Agent provocateur

      In reply to Hardy Gosch

      Fantastic to see such open-minded acceptance of other people's views.

      Really inspirational and I'm sure it goes down a treat at the local pub.

      You DO speak up down at the pub, don't you?

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  7. Judith Olney

    Ms

    This government, a minority government no less, has done a reasonable job of running the country, despite that constant media frenzy over leadership of the party. Today's endorsement of the PM just goes to show how very wrong the media have got it, yet again.

    Hopefully we will see some more mature reporting and analysis from journalists, instead of the childish game they have been indulging in for such a long time now. The MSM is reminiscent of the carry on of teenagers on the quad in high school. Time to give it a rest and grow up.

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    1. Patricia Byers

      retired

      In reply to Judith Olney

      While all this so-called leadership drama has been playing out I can't help thinking:
      "United we stand; divided we fall." (One of the benefits of having had a classical education.)
      Also:
      "They're bent on cutting off their nose to spite their face". (No double entendre intended.)
      The Opposition parties are obviously sitting back and gleefully watching the antics of the so-called "camps", stirring the pots for all they're worth.
      Those in the media representing powerful sectional interest groups are having a field day.
      Get real: do people in the Labor Party really want to win the next election or not? The way things are being played at present, it doesn't look like it.

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    2. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Patricia Byers

      I have been closely watching the reporting of political events over the last few years, and particularly in the last few months, I have not seen a single report on MSM that has been positive for this government, or for the PM personally. Even a positive event is spun as negative, or a positive story ended on a negative note. This has been so glaringly obvious, that it amazes me that others seem so blind to it.

      I will not be voting for either Labor or the LNP at the next federal election, because…

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    3. Fred Bloggs

      Agent provocateur

      In reply to Bazzio Newton

      They know they like to have the trough to themselves though.

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    4. Hugh McColl

      Geographer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Unfortunately for you Judith, the Australian voting system will not allow you to NOT vote for "either Labor or the LNP" at the next federal election. If you want your vote to be valid and to be counted you must fill in all the squares. Therefore you will vote for both the ALP and LNP, though perhaps not as your first preference. What will be interesting and crucial to each Party is who you will choose as your last preference. Rest assured that about half the new parliament (after September) will be composed of the least unliked candidates from a mostly unliked rabble. Your second last preference will probably elect one of them.

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    5. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Hugh McColl

      Good point Hugh, thanks. If things don't improve before the next election, I may just leave the ballot blank, I will however turn up and have my name crossed off, I don't want to incur a fine, no polly is worth that.

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    6. Hugh McColl

      Geographer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Don't leave the ballot blank. No, you wouldn't do that. Surely we know more about what is best for us than anyone else? Give it your best shot and let 'em know, and us too, where you're coming from. After all, how else are we going to know?

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    7. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Hugh McColl

      No, I probably wouldn't do that, I'll have my say, there are plenty of people in other countries around the world that have died just so their people have a vote in an election, just to have their say, and to not exercise my right to vote is like a slap in the face to them, (at least in my humble opinion).

      It is very hard not to become cynical, when there is so much lies and spin, and when ordinary people like me feel completely powerless to do anything about it.

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    8. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Judith Olney

      I have felt as you do now for the past 15 years. However, when I reach the voting booth I find myself voting Greens and preferencing an independent if they had policies with which I agreed.

      Before that, I did not vote at all for many years having lived overseas and been dropped from the electoral roll, my now deceased partner added my name when an electorate worker was canvassing our area, I was annoyed at the time because he didn't bother asking me first. Now, it seems like a memorial type of…

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    9. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Hi Dianna, I agree totally with everything you've put in your post, you have expressed pretty much exactly how I have been feeling about politics for the last three years.

      I will be watching and listening to the local candidates very carefully before I make any decisions in the next federal election. Living in what is considered a safe LNP electorate, I sometimes feel that anyone else that stands, never gets a real hearing. The LNP politician elected here last time, went to Canberra and was never heard of again in this electorate. He sits silently on the back bench collecting his pay, and does absolutely nothing for this electorate. He votes along party lines, always, even if this directly opposes what his constituents want and need.

      Will my one vote make any difference, I don't know, in the last state election at the beginning of March, this electorate was won on only very small number of votes, one of those could have been mine :). You just never know.

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    10. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Thanks Judith (and SJR of course).

      When I first moved to where I am living now, the electorate was considered a safe Liberal seat. Not so any more, it is being held, by a sliver, by a Labor minister I am pleased to say does stay in contact with electorate, although could do better. So did my vote count? I'd like to think so.

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  8. John C Smith

    Auditor

    Has any little boy ever challenged a girl @ primay or earlier and won or challenged in the first place?

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  9. Meagan Kae

    Principal, Founder at White Rabbit Studios

    James, for sure the key quote in this article is...
    "Perhaps it is time to break a sacred Australian political taboo and suggest the time has come to directly elect our leaders."
    What happened today highlighted the Achilles' heel of the Westminster system.
    Australia does not have a clearly defined "Bill of Rights" and the recent withdrawal of the media bill shows that the media does and will continue to play a vital role in Australian Politics.
    With the continuing growth of social media I suspect that "spills" will become part of the Australian dialogue unless as you suggest direct election of our leaders is considered and implemented.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Meagan Kae

      meagan

      comments in this forum show people can hardly agree on anything.

      a bill of rights would take a hundred years to complete, and another hundred for amendments.

      lets just tinker with what we have for our sanity.

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    2. Meagan Kae

      Principal, Founder at White Rabbit Studios

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Stephen, I am not at all suggesting we legislate a bill of rights or even become a republic (although I am a legal permanent resident of the USA ; ).
      It was more that I wanted to acknowledge the insight that James wrote of re a direct vote.
      I have had numerous discussions with my father on the topic of how a direct vote can fit into the Westminister system.
      Fun to discuss.
      ... and yes for sure what I love about The Conversation is the conversation that occurs.

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    3. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Meagan Kae

      hi meagan

      fair enough.

      do we have to be tied to every aspect o fthe westminster system.....arent we a free country.
      although i guess changes to the constitution require a referendum.

      some countries have a pres & a pm........a president suggests a republic (not necessarily i know)

      that would be nice....no more queen for us.

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    4. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Australia is now the only democracy without a statutory or constitutional bill of rights. It shows in the way that both major parties deal with rights issues. It would not be particularly challenging to draw up a document, apart from the mutual hysteria that both major parties would bring to the process. Even so, Victoria managed to adopt a statutory bill of rights without falling apart. Ditto New Zealand.

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    5. Fred Bloggs

      Agent provocateur

      In reply to Meagan Kae

      I disagree, Meagan. What we are seeing is simply the death throes of the traditional ALP organisational mode which is so susceptible to oligarchical control.

      Plato described the current ALP problems over 25 centuries ago. I recommend a re-read of The Republic, freely available on http://www.classicreader.com/

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  10. Bazzio Newton

    retired hurt at game of life

    What a low, snivelling, devious, act by Crean ~ Crean, the most strident & outspoken Rudd critic,m has so obviously tried to set Rudd up by pretending to be his sudden overnight ally and lead him into a Gillard trap.
    Even a fool could see such a blatant set-up, & Rudd's no fool.
    We can now sit back and watch as Crean retires from parliament, then Lo! & Behold! ~ is given a plum diplomatic job overseas just before the September election.
    My guess is Ambassador to Ireland, just like Arthur Caldwell.

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    1. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Bazzio Newton

      I'm afraid I tend to agree. Crean is supposed to have floated himself previously as a unity leader. The only difference this time is that he floated himself as deputy leader. I'd also note, just quietly, that Crean's tactics guaranteed that Julia Gillard would have many hours beforehand to prepare for a ballot, whose timing she could decide, while Kevin Rudd was left in the dark.

      The way to end the weakness of Gillard's leadership is to lift the Labor primary vote above 31%. When Gillard was elected…

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  11. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    You know, they have made great progress analysing language to the point of being able to identify Shakespeare's actual style and authenticate his works.
    So was this article, by a sort of reverse- engineering, written by a computer, using all previous articles of its kind as input data?
    Will this be the future of journalism, all avatars and algorithms?
    Brave New world indeed.
    It is certainly clear that, for some considerable time, there has not been very much authentic and original reporting at all.
    When did reporters start behaving like automatons?
    RoboHacks!

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    1. Fred Bloggs

      Agent provocateur

      In reply to James Hill

      James, there's nothing new under the Sun, (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

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  12. David Rennie

    IT Consultant

    My view is that the Labor party doesn't have the best political strategists
    and the Liberal party doesn't have the best policies.
    Your choice! 'Smart' politicians with bad policies or frustratingly bad politicians with good policies.
    Who wants to destroy the NBN?
    Who has no policy on Climate Change?
    Who's economic policies would have ruined the country in the GFC?
    Who hates refugees?
    Who hates gays/lesbians?
    Who's trying to buy the vote with middle class welfare?
    Who's a Liberal.

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  13. Garry Baker

    researcher

    One element this article fails to consider is Charles Darwin and his metaphor - survival of the fittest -ie: "Only the fittest organisms will prevail" Over the last week or so he would have had a smirk at all this media beatup, along with chewing over some of the supposedly educated predictions on what the outcome would be.

    The bottom line is this - Gillard has just proven she is the "fittest organism" within her tribe - thus she will better command public respect. No need for voters to like…

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    1. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Garry Baker

      It's pulling a really, really long bow to say that theLabor caucus is an example of 'survival of the fittest' and takes no account that what's good for Julia Gillard may not necessarily be good for the country or the party. T-rexes were once a good case of survival of the fittest but I wouldn't necessarily want one in charge of the government.

      A parliamentary leader sitting on 31% may be good at surviving caucus challenges when she can force the ballot at extraordinarily short notice. The number suggests she is not quite as good at leadership.

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    2. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      "" T-rexes were once a good case of survival of the fittest but I wouldn't necessarily want one in charge of the government.""

      Alan - Don't know about T-Rex's, but we certainly do have 21st century Neanderthals plying their trade in Canberra, where their track performance has shown that very few of them are good for the country. For years each of the parties have merely been flogging our god given assets(indeed, once "ever" assets), to raise some cash, yet Australia hasn't really prospered because…

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    3. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Garry Baker

      I dont disagree with any of of that except I see no reason to so unkind to Neanderthals, even Neanderthal prime ministers like the present incumbent who support every part of the program you so rightly decry. I'm fascinated by the knots otherwise sensible people tie themselves in to try and persuade themselves Gillard is a progressive prime minister.

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    4. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      persuade themselves "Gillard is a progressive prime minister." PM Dullard, I would say. She is mixing company with authors of the pink bats fix and a raft of other expensive failures - hasn't got the nous to find an equitable deal with an influx of boat people, yet seems totally unaware that climate change alone could have more than 20 million of them clamoring at our door. A band aid government if ever, lead by someone who has risen to a position in life beyond her level of expertise.

      None of these showboats are any good - None of them

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    5. Giles Pickford
      Giles Pickford is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired, Wollongong

      In reply to Garry Baker

      It says a lot about the mood in the community these days. One of the members of the Balgownie Hotel Disgruntled Husbands’ Association fronted the Bar and asked for a schooner of old and a spill of positions. He got his schooner, but the damsel behind the bar said he should wait a day for the rest of the order.

      Giles Pickford
      Wollongong

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  14. Wade Macdonald

    Technician

    Everyone wants to lead the party but few want to listen.

    Who leads that bunch doesn't matter....same snake, different head. Same goes for the Liberals/Greens.

    We all know it so why does the media waste all our lives building up such rubbish?

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  15. Tony Grant

    Student

    Labor is not the party of our forebears!

    Labor is the compromise now, after Hawke and Keating made it plain sailing for the "neo-con agenda" that f.... simple!

    Local and international capitalists do what they please, without fear and knowing they can partake in the overthrow of a sitting PM (Rudd/Mining Lobby) therefore, the image of Gillard is tarnished forever, and so it should be.

    Labor is "Oliver" asking for more please sir? Just a little, the reply NO via the political mouthpiece (Abbott…

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    1. Mark Bradbeer

      health professional

      In reply to Tony Grant

      Tony's on the right track when he says 'local and international capitalists do what they please...in the overthrow of a sitting PM.' Why do ALP MPs rush lemmin-like for electoral defeat this September? Follow the money.

      The Australian newspaper, two weeks ago, referred to Tim Mathieson [Gillard's spouse] past employment by 'Labor benefactor', Albert Dadon ('Man about the House' by Kate Legge, 9.3.2013), an heir to the Besen billions. Does he also employ the ALP?

      Dadon is a pro-Israel lobbyist…

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  16. Greg Boyles

    Lanscaper and former medical scientist

    I have said it before and I will say it again.

    BOTH major parties have become institutions where the scum rises to the top.

    I long for the day that BOTH major parties become bankrupt and we have to start all over again with new and a greater variety of political parties.

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    1. Giles Pickford
      Giles Pickford is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired, Wollongong

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      Dear Greg

      That day will come when the President of Australia is chosen by the people, not by the party.

      Come on the Republic. I hope Malcolm Turnbull hears us.

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    2. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Giles Pickford

      Giles, look at America's Republican and Democrat parties.

      Please tell me how becoming a republic will solve this particular problem for Australia.

      Regardless of whether Australia is a republic or a constitutional monarchy we need both major parties gone a perhaps a few major parties, none of which can form government in their own right.

      Perhaps with the opportunities for personal power and enrichment reduced due to the above scenario, we will attract a better class of politician. The Eddie Obeids etc in this country will have less incentive to enter politics and stick to ripping client off.

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    3. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      "stick to ripping client off."

      stick to ripping their business clients off.

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    4. Ron Chinchen

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to Greg Boyles

      For a start, despite the implication that the US system is what people would prefer, if we had a republic, I would definitely be opposed to such a structure.

      Realistically we have what seems the best government system in the world as far as I can see, Therefore when we become a republic, I agree with Malcolm Turnbull, that it should be using the minimalist approach.

      That means retain the existing House of Reps and the Senate, the president would be just another name for the prime minister's…

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    5. Ron Chinchen

      Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      Just as an addendum to that, the two or three or four party system we have is fine as long as the party that rules gets over 50% of the votes or voting areas. The problem with expanding it and say having first past the post is what Germany floundered through before Hitler took over in 1933 and what Italy is floundering through now. You end up with hundreds of parties, and a party ruling consistently with a minority vote. I'm not saying our system is great, but its better than the options.

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    6. Giles Pickford
      Giles Pickford is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired, Wollongong

      In reply to Ron Chinchen

      I don't want the US System which is broken beyond repair,

      I want our system to work.

      Surely we are smart enough to make that happen? It needs to be changed to abandon the emphasis on the "Great Leader" idea and shifted it towards the "Great People" idea.

      We need great leaders, but not the ones that focus all the greatness upon themselves. We need to adopt humility as a virtue, rather than pride.

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    7. Greg Boyles

      Lanscaper and former medical scientist

      In reply to Giles Pickford

      "It needs to be changed to abandon the emphasis on the "Great Leader" idea and shifted it towards the "Great People" idea."

      Good luck with that Giles, it sounds rather utopian to me.

      You are fighting against human instincts. Humans are 'programmed' to follow and admire a great leader in the same way that apes and lions are.

      You can't fight collective human instincts.

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  17. Ron Chinchen

    Retired (ex Probation and Parole Officer)

    Unfortunately I think the best person for the Prime Minister's job is Simon Crean. He's one very smart and wise operator and is well known in legal circles to have a very shrewd and clever mind. But unfortunately the public dont like him, probably because of the superficiality of him looking a little like an undertaker's clerk and not having a dynamic presence. But if he was prime minister I think the country would be in good hands. He and Turnbull are the only two candidates for the PM on both sides worthy of the job.

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