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Moving forward and moving on: Rudd, Roxon and the future of the ALP

As Paul Keating told Julia Gillard not so long ago, every prime minister is carried out of the job in a box. His fatalistic advice was meant to be comforting, indicating that the party room or the public…

For the Labor Party to fully put the past behind it, the bloodletting and obsession over Kevin Rudd needs to stop. AAP/Lukas Coch

As Paul Keating told Julia Gillard not so long ago, every prime minister is carried out of the job in a box. His fatalistic advice was meant to be comforting, indicating that the party room or the public will inevitably dispose of each prime minister, regardless of how popular they once were.

But Keating’s aphorism covered only part of the story. For governments and the parties that sustain them, the length of tenure in office also matters.

How an ex-government is able to look back on its time in power influences very strongly its capacity to regenerate in opposition. The defeat suffered by the Howard government in 2007 was substantial. John Howard lost his seat, only the second prime minister to suffer this humiliation.

The election loss was imminent almost a year out from election day, from the moment that Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard became Labor’s new leadership team. The Liberal party room had most of 2007 to respond to this new challenge by replacing Howard with Peter Costello, but it chose not to.

Significantly, once they found themselves out of government, the Liberals didn’t indulge in severe recriminations. Howard wrote a book. Costello wrote a book, in which he included some incidental sniping at Howard.

Tony Abbott wrote a book. Abbott’s assessment of the demise of the Howard government was that the public had concluded in 2007 that after four terms and more than 11 years, the Coalition had been in power long enough and it was time for a change.

Labour should arguably look at how the Liberals responded after their crushing defeat at the 2007 election for a model of how to move forward. AAP/Alan Porritt

This analysis was crucial to the Liberals’ post-defeat mentality. As painful as the loss had been, the party felt satisfied that it had enjoyed a good go at government.

This contrasts strongly with the position of the Labor Party as it tries to deal with last month’s defeat. Labor’s victory in 2007 was, as already noted, substantial. In terms of seats won and the party’s healthy primary vote, it should have been enough to sustain the ALP in office for three terms, which in modern politics could be regarded as the breakeven point for any party in office. Anything beyond three terms is a bonus, as Howard learnt in his fractious and final fourth term.

But Labor under Rudd, then Gillard, then Rudd again, managed to hang in there for a mere two terms, only the first of them in a majority position in the lower house, lasting less than six years all up.

For all of Labor’s legislative victories – the National Disability Insurance Scheme, education reforms including the national curriculum and the Gonski formula for schools funding, the repeal of WorkChoices, the legislating of a price on carbon – the party will continue to look at the Rudd-Gillard years as a time of lost opportunities.

This was not how Labor looked at the Hawke-Keating era, which saw the ALP win a record five consecutive terms. The Whitlam government, like the Rudd-Gillard government, won two terms, although Whitlam’s period of office was compressed into just three years. The ALP’s method of dealing with Whitlam’s landslide 1975 defeat provides a powerful contrast with the reaction of some high-profile Labor figures to the 2013 election loss.

First out of the blocks was the retiring member for Perth, Stephen Smith. On election night, with the votes still being counted, he declared on national television that Rudd should resign from parliament forthwith because he would forever remain a symbol of the disunity that had wrecked the Labor government.

Soon after, another ex-MP - this time Craig Emerson - launched into a poisonous personal attack on Rudd, describing the man who had just led the party to the election basically as mad and selfish, an unstoppable engine of destabilisation who should get out of public life immediately.

And then last week came the capper, with yet another newly-departed MP, Nicola Roxon, using the highly-regarded John Button Lecture to recycle her past attacks on Rudd with some added material: Rudd was not just chaotic, he was rude (but never, on her own admission, to Roxon) and, simply, a “bastard” who thoroughly deserved to be ditched as leader in 2010.

Her view is that if Gillard, as Rudd’s replacement, had along with ministers such as Roxon at that time run out a detailed public explanation of just how utterly worthless Rudd had been as prime minister, the political outcome for the ALP would almost certainly have been better. Bear in mind, Rudd was still in his first term as prime minister when rolled.

Roxon is another who wants Rudd to resign from his seat of Griffith pronto. She does not suggest that he is a bad representative of his electorate. She even contemplates the possibility that he might behave well as a backbencher.

Roxon’s reason for wanting a by-election in Griffith? Pollsters.

I believe we must also confront the bitter truth that as long as Kevin remains in parliament, irrespective of how he behaves, pollsters will run comparisons with him and any other leader.

If Roxon’s political acumen as displayed within her lecture is what Gillard relied upon as leader, then the Australian public has been given a fascinating insight into 1) how Gillard met her political fate by making so many cack-handed pronouncements and 2) the dysfunctional professional attitudes that sit at the very heart of the modern Labor Party.

Nicola Roxon has joined the list of ex-Labor MPs to have criticised Kevin Rudd, describing him as a ‘bastard’ who should resign from parliament. AAP/Alan Porritt

By any measure, Rudd must take a big share of the blame for what went wrong, but Roxon’s analysis is that, at root, he must shoulder the lot. It is a ludicrous proposition. Why did his aggrieved, frustrated ministers not confront him? Where was their courage? Were they too frightened of demotion, of losing their status and their salary, and all that power?

The truth is Rudd will never be able to destabilise Bill Shorten or any other future leader. He will never attract support from anyone in the caucus. He had two runs as leader. He is spent. Having led the party to a big loss, he is never again going to be taken seriously as a possible leader or be able to attract widespread popularity.

In the wake of 1975, it would have been easy for ex-ministers to fashion a case against Whitlam over his imperious style, lack of interest in economic policy and strategic fumbles on the day of the vice-regal dismissal.

Senior members of the party could have blamed Whitlam for so much that went wrong. Instead, the party locked in behind him kept him on to fight another election. It looked forward, not backward, and devoted itself to remaking its policies and reaching out to new parts of the community. Only seven years later, with a comprehensive new platform and Bob Hawke at the helm, it swept back into power.

Roxon, Emerson and Smith have taken another tack. They appear to want to keep the fight against Rudd going, trying to hound him out of parliament through character assassination.

All three have enjoyed massive salaries as ministers and are about to access a superannuation scheme that’s vastly more generous than that available to the ordinary workers who are the backbone of Labor’s electoral support base.

In their zeal to denigrate Rudd, do they really want to hand his seat to the Liberals at a byelection? Liberal candidate Bill Glasson is a quality operator who scored a higher primary vote than Rudd on September 7, a profound reversal of the 2010 result in Griffith. The seat is now marginal. Griffith voters would be furious about having to vote again and would punish Labor.

Glasson would win a by-election, and almost certainly win again at the subsequent general election. Labor holds a paltry six of Queensland’s 30 seats. Would these highly-remunerated ex-MPs seriously want to cut that number to five just so that they can feel vindicated in their loathing for one man?

In purporting to diagnose the Labor Party’s malaise, it could be said they have in fact demonstrated it.

Join the conversation

136 Comments sorted by

  1. James Youngman

    Retired Traffic Engineer/Mathematician

    Is it possible for the ALP to move on from its recent past while Bill Shorten and his close associates hold power?

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    1. Rosemary O'Grady

      Lawyer

      In reply to James Youngman

      ... Bill Shorten, as someone said recently: 'the man holding the knife...' No. The best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour. Dysfunctional is the word.

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    2. Bruce Tabor

      blogger

      In reply to James Youngman

      It has been Bill Shorten who has shown precisely how Labor should move beyond the small mindedness of Roxon, Gillard, Emerson, Smith et al and their disgusting outburst that show they are totally unsuited to high political office:
      http://billshorten.com.au/statement-on-alp-leadership-2
      "What Kevin Rudd, the Member for Griffith, does is entirely up to him. His efforts in the last election helped ensure more Labor MPs have returned to Parliament than they otherwise would, and I will acknowledge that…

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  2. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Couldn't agree less Shaun.

    It was not just Rudd's incessant plotting and backstabbing over the last three years, it was also the poll driven nonsense that infected the caucus like mass hysteria. A pathetic display of hysterical poll-chasing.

    The Labor Party cannot and should not ignore the lessons of the last six years - although I would far prefer this was not done publicly. But the roles played by the likes of Fitzgibbon and Bowen who were so attached to winning that they would destabilise…

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    1. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter,
      "it is not about personalities....it is about what the ...Labor party stands for"

      Peter after they work out what they stand for.....perhaps they should look at who elected them
      and whom do they represent"

      I think lost in all of the hype was the fact that the voters felt that Labor did not represent them any more... only their self interest.... yes the party is important but so is Australia and its people.

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Ella Miller

      The worst thing about the whole Rudd business Ms Ella has been the utter contempt and fear of the electorate. That opinion polls (invariably wrong) were all they knew and understood of the people who elect them.

      Tony Windsor - the best amateur politician in the business - needed no polls to tell him what his people thought... he was one of them, organically connected to his community and he would never ever reduce them to the statistical sludge spewed out by marketing surveys... doubt if he ever…

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      " Tony Windsor - the best amateur politician in the business - needed no polls to tell him what his people thought..." LOL

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg North

      Mr North, your arrogance is showing ... 22 years as an independent MP at state and federal levels ... margins to die for ... and now Barnaby Joyce ... good luck with that... LOL.

      Incidentally the rot in NSW is not confined to the ALP - your lot narrowly escaped putting one of Obeid's "mates" up against Windsor. The NSW Liberal Executive is a panel of property developers and political lobbyists. Not that I'd be offering you lot any advice for free at all. LOL

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It was recognised Peter and dealt with, something Labor seem unable to do, NSW and federal Labor as great examples LOL

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    6. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg North

      Only by luck Mr North. Mr Torbay would now be the member for New England were it not for the timing of ICAC's hearings into Obeid. And how curious that the tentacles of such corruption seem to know no partisan bounds.

      Best of luck cleaning out the Liberal Executive in NSW BTW ... we're talking crims here and the NSW Labor Party does not have a monopoly on attracting gangsters. LOL all you like, but I'm hoping you lot might actually do something about it. And it won't be pretty.

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    7. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Perhaps that is why some argue that ALP means "Another Liberal Party".

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    8. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter I agree that Labor must learn lessons from the last 6 years.I'd add that poll-focussed decision-making as regards leaders also took place while labor was in opposition . A good example is the removal of Simon Crean who valiantly argued against joining the Iraq invasion ,but was criticised by journos quoting polls and sniffing the political breeze.

      This article by Adjunct Assoc prof Carney could have migrated directly from the good old "Age" during the Gillard years. At the time of Rudd's…

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

      Environmentalist

      In reply to wilma western

      @ Wilma

      "One of the many mysteries about the way the overwhelming majority of political journalists dealt with the Gillard Prime Ministership."

      To which we could add the dearth of journalism in analysing the many and substantial policies during the Gillard years.

      Lest we forget:

      http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/business/media-2/old-media-ethical-failure-propelled-gillard-demise/

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    10. Marcus L'Estrange

      Teacher

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Despite all the problems of the last Labor government the battlers get more crumbs from the rich mans table than from the Tories.

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    11. Michael Sheehan

      Geographer at Analyst

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "Tony Windsor - the best amateur politician in the business"
      I'm not sure that somebody who spent 23 years in Parliament, currently living high on the hog of a life-long pension could be described as an "amateur politician".

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    12. David Wolf

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      There is a false assumption at work here. Polls have absolutely nothing to do with what the public thinks. Everything we know about the actions of our politicians is reprorted to us by the media. They select the photos, the quotes to highlight, the soundbites, and present the public with hours of so-called authoratative comment which amounts to the spin of the vested interests they represent. And what the public thinks which is reflected in THEIR polls is nothing more than what the media has…

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

      Environmentalist

      In reply to David Wolf

      An excellent summary there, Mr Wolf. Neatly encapsulating the lack of thoughtful journalism, the need for discussion on the near insurmountable difficulties regarding the wellbeing of our leaders, be they political or business.

      The fact that those who do dare to rise above the middling standard of discourse are inevitably attacked for daring to point out when the dear leader is starkers.

      And the disappointment that the political articles on TC frequently (not always) simply reflect some of the the usual spin from the MSM.

      Thank you.

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  3. Tracey Henderson

    Manager

    Whilst your right and they all bear some responsibility for allowing Rudd to wreak havoc, it's a situation many of us have experienced (hello News Limited journalists) and it's only in hindsight you realise what's happened. Rudd is despised by many of his former colleagues who will blame him for all that went wrong. The selection process for Bill Shorten bought them a bit more time for some public blood letting - but other than the inevitable slew of books, think the narrative has already commenced focusing on achievements rather than personalities.

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    1. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Tracey Henderson

      Tracey, "focusing on achievements rather than personalities"

      Tracey, somehow i feel about the Labor Party as a' house that has fallen down.'
      It is no point in rebuilding the house till you have worked out why it fell down...you can't use the old foundation till you have checked if the problem arose there ?

      Peter I agree they need to take the fist full of poles our of their ear so they can hear!

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    2. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Ella Miller

      We need a Blaire to resurrect the ALP. Don't see it happening here for a loooooooooong time. Too many vested interests and too intrenched in petty public squabbles.

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    3. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      Oh no Raine , you can't mean Tony Blair type? I was worried about his support for Bush invasion of Iraq but willing to believe he was trying to ameliorate gung-ho Cheney and Bush until I read Balir's autobiography , "A Journey" . Put me right off - and that was all Tony's work - not a journo intervening to tell me what to think !

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  4. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    Whatever the reasons Labor parliamentarians allowed Rudd to act out his messiah role, Labor need to look back a bit further to why he was annointed in the first place, a lack of leadership potential and left/right factional disscord.
    It would have been a boost to an already swollen ego for he as a non factional member to have both major factions acquiescing to using the public image he had created for himself.
    Whether ministers lacked courage or enjoyed the rewards of being ministerial, Rudd in…

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  5. Yuri Pannikin

    Director

    I disagree. They need to use Rudd as a reminder that the ALP needs to reform -- maintain the Rudd reforms and implement the Bracks, Carr and Faulkner recommendations. If this happens under Shorten, I'll waltz nude down Main Street.

    Read this incisive analysis by Alan Stokes (SMH):
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/labor-too-slow-to-reform-20131015-2vk0j.html

    Rudd has been, and always will be problematic for the old Labor Party because he tackles union power head on. (In the Goss term in QLD as…

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    1. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Actually Rudd was happy to use the Labor machine - unions and apparatchicks to get where he got to . And don't forget the campaign against Work Choices was at least as powerful in harvesting votes for the ALP in 2007 as any other factor.

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

    Environmentalist

    What a complete nonsense of an article.

    Comparing Whitlam era to Rudd? Did Whitlam spend the following 3 years after he was brought down by destabilising his party?

    Labor has problems, which have been far more adroitly presented by Peter Ormonde, a self declared farmer, than the regurgitation of Murdoch led spin. Shaun Carney, an experienced journalist, could do far better than this. Could do better, but for the malaise affecting many in the mainstream press; a disturbing trend designed to rewrite history.

    Well done to the former Labor ministers prepared to speak out their valid experience of Rudd & Gillard - lest we forget.

    Labor cannot heal unless it knows where it festers.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      " Labor cannot heal unless it knows where it festers. "
      You got that part right Dianna LOL

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    2. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Greg North

      'Where it festers?" The whole country "festers".
      Labor has no idea what is really going on.
      Shouting slogans, green or not , is no way of understanding why so many people are confused and feeling unrepresented.

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    3. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Shaun Carney with Robert Manne was trumpeting the demise of the Labour govt immediately after Rudd's 2012 challenge failed ,gathering only a small minority of caucus votes .

      Journalists and academics as players.

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  7. john tons

    retired redundant

    Our pre-occupation remains with party politics yet it seems that both major parties are ideologically bankrupt - the problems that we face as a nation (and indeed globally) are not amenable to the ideologies that seemed so successful for much of the twentieth century. the Club of Rome Report of 1972 which argued that the world was on course for collapse appears to be vindicated by the recent work that the CSIRO has done - peak oil, peak resources generally, population growth require a major shift…

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  8. John Newton

    Author Journalist

    Rudd, Gillard and Shorten to one side, the ALP has lost the confidence of the electorate because it has confidence in its principles. Indeed, lost direction.

    Let's hope Shorten has a moral compass

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    1. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to John Newton

      Yuri, have read the link.
      Whilst I did not take notes ...should have.
      The impression left with me from the article is that ;
      LNP mostly represented by lawyers and business... perhaps because that is who their base is?
      Labor... many unionists.... I do not see any thing wrong with that ... because who knows the plight of the workers better than a union? Whilst I am writing this i have thought of the bad apples in the union base. But then you have them in walks of life.

      John... totally agree. When I spoke of the Labor party as a house that has fallen down...perhaps
      as you said " the problems we face as a nation...and globally" Could form tha foundation of Labor's response... I live in hope.

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    2. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Ella, the problem is that the ALP needs to have a wider representative base to survive. Sure, unionists have a place in representation, but so do many other professions and interests -- like environmentalists and tertiary trained people for example. With the current cabal in power, this is not likely, as Stokes has pointed out.

      I have not counted, but it seems to me that the Hawke ministries were much more representative and that the ALP has actually gone backwards in this respect since that time, as I think of Evans, Jones, Ryan, Dawkins, Kerin, Button, Blewett etc.

      The bunch that criticised Rudd were mostly lightweights and, significantly, most have gone while Rudd is still there. Only a few to go.

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Ella Miller

      " because who knows the plight of the workers better than a union? " LOL Emma!
      How many union membrs have you ever known that would speak kindly of their union reps?
      How many union reps have you ever seen getting their hands dirty?
      A little tidbit for you:
      In a lot of employee situations, workers elect the most useless worker to be a rep, hoping that it will sideline them and on occasion the useless will have put their hand up so as it does get them to the side of the workforce.
      And then you might want to go into a few workforce environments and ask them what their union rep does for them.
      You could start with the HSU!
      Why do you think Union membership is getting nearly as low as ALP membership?
      And if you go around and survey a few different work places, you could get really shocked for the some of the happiest most content work places will be where there is no union membership in common with a great management/employee relations.

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    4. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Greg North

      Your comments reflect a sad state of affairs.

      Perhaps Unionism is another case of a great institution gone terribly wrong.

      In theory unions have the potential to be an immense force of good. for the welfare of working men & women.

      Is the aphorism "power corrupts etc" a reason for unions unpopularity, or has it been the bosses and governing elites that have successfully undermined the relevance of unions.

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    5. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Lots of things have seen the decay of unions Stephen ... structural change in the economy with the attendant decline of large manufacturing operations, the increased integration of unions into economic managerialism so that wages and conditions are settled through courts and tribunals by lawyers, right down to the rise of self-interested individualism against any sense of belonging to a 'class' or community of interest.... it's a long list.

      But at the core of it is that everyone gets a free ride on what unions negotiate or argue on their behalf ... there really is no reason to join. Some even think the employer has just supplied these wages and consitions from some sort of altruistic concern for their welfare or through their own hard work.

      The HSU is but a symptom of the malaise rather than a cause I think ... not just for unions but all our traditional institutions from poliotics through to corporations.

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    6. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Excellent point Peter. Union influence is perhaps more important through flow-on impacts to non-union members.
      All it takes is a small group of unionists to influence the entire workplace. If conservatives really believed that declining membership meant unions were irrelevant they wouldn't bother seeing red any time the word 'union' was mentioned.
      I'm not as worried about free rider effects as others - having dealt with unions in my time in tough times, unions understand that no business means no jobs and no union members. My experience was they understand that overreach can mean an existential threat to the union itself, although there are of course very public examples of some pretty bad secondary boycotts etc.
      I look at the way Holden has negotiated a pay cut as something that would be almost impossible to achieve through attempting to negotiate with each and every worker individually. Food for thought.

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    7. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Greg North

      Those comments "In a lot of employee situations, workers elect the most useless worker to be a rep, hoping that it will sideline them and on occasion the useless will have put their hand up so as it does get them to the side of the workforce" .are totally unfair and from personal experience, incorrect, Greg.

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    8. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Recent publicity about extra perks for Wal King previous head sherang of Leighton being a counterpoint to the HSU tho' Williamson as self-confessed fraud went much further

      John Cain ex-premier of Vic ( elected 1982 ) recently wrote in The Age that the overrepresentation of unions in the Labor power structure must be changed from 50% of conference to something closer to the 18% of the workforce that is unionised. Cain has cred as one of the Independents that brought about reform of Vic Labor in the 60's-early 70's.

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  9. Jonathan Adamson

    Brain Surgeon

    Labor can wax and wain all they like but bottom line is that it has never had any success with a faceless man leading the party. It only works with powerful personalities with charisma. It is pretty simple. A left of center party will not have natural leadership - those with high ambition and strong self promotion - in high numbers to chose as leaders so it needs to cultivate a strong personality to galvanise the party.

    Bill Shorten is not going to work because he has no charisma. It is all very well for those outside parliament to be calling for Rudd to resign but who the hell is going to save the seats of those left at the next election when Shorten's lack of ability to connect with the public matters. Labor needs to plan for what actually works and get out of wishful thinking mode.

    There is one thing that is guaranteed as time goes on. Opinion poll pressure will build on the Labor Party. Every discussion when it comes to their leadership needs to consider this.

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    1. Ken Piaggio
      Ken Piaggio is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Medical Practitioner

      In reply to Jonathan Adamson

      I think you and I have diametrically opposed views about 'healing'.
      Healing never occurs with 'cutting and slashing' (which just leads to 'scarring') but by marshalling all sides who 'own' and accept their contribution, respect for another's point of view, that someone 'seeing' things from a different point of view is not wrong - just 'different', embracing the learning from the other's view point, and applying that learning to 'problem solving and generating innovative and not so innovative ways…

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Jonathan Adamson

      Rudd will not ignore Roxon and sit out the storm for no good reason of his own Jonathon.

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

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Ken Piaggio

      I did not mention "slashing and burning" as a means to heal. Nor was healing the point of my comment which centred upon the lack of rigorous analysis on the part of Carney who simply chose to regurgitate Murdoch's spin.

      Labor has problems. Better to focus on real issues such as regaining the trust of its forgotten supporters.

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      I AM actually a bit of a slash and burner I'm afraid Ken (and Dianna). The last 30 years has seen a profusion of weedy undergrowth invade the Labor Party in NSW, in particular a deep connection with gangsters dating from Graeme Richardson and Danny Casey's Balmain Welding... now they wear suits and plot over $100 million swindles rather than preselections and branch stackings. As Richardson put it in his revealingly titled autobiography - Whatever it takes.

      The NSW ALP is dominated by white "middle class" toothy types who believe in nothing beyond their own personal ambitions and interests. Until that changes - if it can change - anything else is purely cosmetic and poll-driven.

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

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mr O

      I understand your POV. I have a problem with people putting words in my mouth.

      Your concerns as to whether Labor can change ( for the better of its constituents) are valid and not helped by such a limited article that Carney has produced.

      Like war, the first casualty in political discussion these days is truth.

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  10. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    You can never leave history behind. History cannot be undone or shoved in the back of the closet and forgotten.

    But hopefully the biggest lesson from history is to learn from it, and then move on without looking back too often, but often enough to be reassured that past mistakes have not been in vain.

    KR needs to be part of history, not part of the present. If that seems unpalatable then history has served no salutary purpose.

    Same for Julia Gillard - the moments have passed.

    Analysis may comfort the stalwarts, but it is the present that propels us towards solving the huge problems of the 21st century.

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  11. Bob Raftopoulos

    retired conspiracy theorist and pioneer digital artist

    In my early business years 70's, working in Brisbane, QLD was regarded as the branch office of Melbourne and Sydney.

    The born to rule mentality of Melbourne and Sydney corporations and of politics still apply today.

    The argument that Rudd was a bastard to depose him was no more than an excuse so that the Melbourne faction could install their own leader.

    And they did so with the help of the ABC who ran an Australian Story on Gillard a couple of weeks prior to Rudd being deposed. The program…

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Bob Raftopoulos

      May be grasping at straws, but perhaps the fact that Qld kept electing Joh over and over left the lower states with an unflattering opinion of that state.

      Whether justified or not, Joh was seen as a bit of a dictatorial buffoon and a master of nepotism.

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    2. Gabrielle Henry

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Your comment is very ignorant of history. Regurgitating this nonsense does not help your case. Bjelke Petersen was never elected with more than 33% of the vote. He remained in power due to the gerrymander. It is always better to work from facts and evidence. I agree with Bob's point about the Victorians wanting more power and the prejudice agains Rudd because he was from Queensland. Your comments merely reinforce that prejudice.

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  12. R. Ambrose Raven

    none

    Again and again, we have this silence regarding the prominence of the mainstream mass media in driving the conflicts between Krudd and Labor that has exercised so much influence over the course of political discourse before, during, and after Gillard Labor.

    It doesn't matter, nor did it ever matter that Abbott et al were as untrustworthy about their claims regarding a Great Big Budget Black Hole as they were about The Great Big New Carbon Tax.

    Rudd the politician exploiting the moral corruption…

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  13. Peter Dawson

    Gap Decade

    "Why did his aggrieved, frustrated ministers not confront him?"

    This is why I don't believe Rudd was rolled because of his faults and failings directly. That's just a cover story for the real reason he was unceremoniously turfed out.

    Knowing that he was a fair to good chance of being re-elected for a second term, they would have stuck with him no matter how bad he was, but they didn't. They would have white-anted him during his second term, and waited until the polls indicated that it was the right time to roll him, but they didn't. I can only guess that there was some as-yet unacknowledged factor at play.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      There're more than a few people who believe that Rudd was used to present a leader that was to be acceptable to the public at large Peter and the interesting thing is that like the Hayden/Hawke switch, with the LNP losing favour over WC and Howard being seen as hanging on, even within the LNP, the proverbial drovers dog could have lead Labor to a win in 2007.
      In the lead up to 2007 and beyond Rudd was taking the ALP in a direction that did not appeal to factionional power was possibly the other…

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    2. Gil Hardwick

      anthropologist, historian, novelist, editor and publisher at eBooks West

      In reply to Greg North

      Back in 2007, and we were all there - it wasn't so long ago - the only real problem was Howard remaining at the helm for too long, we can guess trying to beat Bob Menzies' record as Australia's longest serving Prime Minister.

      All Rudd had going for him, in essence, was that he's not Howard and it was time for a change.

      It took little time for people to wake up not to what he isn't but what he is; what he turned out to be.

      Like the rest of them.

      Colin Barnett here in Western Australia, like Gillard in 2010, came into power in 2008 on a hung parliament but quickly consolidated and achieved his majority, then on 19 March 2013 led the Liberals to a resounding victory.

      If there is to be any "moving forward" at all, it won't only be concerned with what Labor is continuing to do wrong, but what the LNP Coalition continues to do right, electorally at least.

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    3. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      Gillard was only ever a puppet. Can anybody seriously think that an avowed far-Leftist like her would have been the popular choice among the Right for any other reason than that there was a nice long set of strings attached to her that could be readily tweaked, in the form of the AWU WA and Victorian frauds that she was involved in with Wilson?

      There is still a great deal of bloodletting to come, I suspect. The dark days are far from over for the "Party of the Worker" and its shadowy puppet-masters.

      As a lifetime Labor voter, I have never once voted against the Party, but I am increasingly finding myself thinking about whether it might not be a good thing if it was to be broken down to such an extent that the free-riders decided it would be better to find another horse to hitch their wagons to, instead of overloading the poor bloody broken-down pit ponies any longer. If the Victorian Fraud Squad do their work properly, that might not be too far off.

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    4. Peter Dawson

      Gap Decade

      In reply to Greg North

      Well if we're going all the way back to 2007, the impression I got at the time was that the Libs threw the election. I think maybe they got wind that the "GFC" was coming down the pike, and being Libs, thought if there was any good time to be in oppostion, 2008 was it. (Remember the whole "Oops, we just got caught handing out fake Labor election material" Lib staffer debacle right before election day? They threw it!)

      As for the factions, the same applies to them: "Why did the aggrieved, frustrated Labor Party factions not confront Rudd?" If they had the numbers to roll him, surely they had the power to make him do as they wanted, not as he pleased, and surely the latter (controlling him, not rolling him) was the simpler and safer course of action.

      It doesn't add up. They say the stars wouldn't be where they are without a whole lot of dark matter out there adding its influence.

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    5. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      Must admit I've always wondered who if anyone dared to speak with Rudd when they realised he was descending into a megalomaniacal fugue. I cannot imagine that his colleagues just hung about grumbling in corridors while the whole cabinet process and business of government got a bad attack of the George IIIs. Or was his madness so great that all trembled before his irrational rage? We will have to wait for the memoirs.

      My betting is that Rudd will leave parliament at the first opportunity, once he realises he has no future as a Lazarus with a triple bypass. And if he doesn't realise that - god help them all.

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    6. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      HIs ministers did confront him. read Laurie Oakes "on the Record" - and remember that Oakes cannot be portrayed as a Gillard supporter.

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    7. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Read Laurie Oakes "On the Record" Peter - and James Button's "Speechless".

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    8. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to wilma western

      But these are books Ms W ... archaic near medieval creatures necessitating the outlay of cash. Bit like the self really. I'll see if I can get the local library to invest in them. They may have to drop their subscriptions to "Truck and Bus" and "Heifer World".

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    9. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Marcus L'Estrange

      Not at all. The point is that the majority of genuinely labouring workers are socially conservative, which is at complete odds with the social progressive white-collar service professionals such as the public-payroll teachers, who have an agenda that is essentially destructive of the things that most blue-collar workers regard as centrally important socially.

      You have a voice because you are educated and your employment gives you plenty of time to do things other than work, while the blue-collar workers are silent because they are task-focussed and relatively less well-educated. You're simply shouting them down, as you just tried to do with me.

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

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mr O

      "I'll see if I can get the local library to invest in them. They may have to drop their subscriptions to "Truck and Bus" and "Heifer World"."

      Chuckle... Truck & Bus...Heifer World...probably interchangeable...chortle...

      :D

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    11. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to wilma western

      Yet this is a classic non-sequitur. Just because they confronted him does not imply that there existed sufficient strife to deceive and betray a first-term prime minister who won the ALP office after many years in the wilderness.

      Rudd set a fast pace no doubt, and some would not have welcomed that. And don't forget there were many things to do in that first term. He would have won the next election; the conspirators knew that -- and all the time, union power and electoral reform was in the balance. They had to act.

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    12. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Yuri,

      Rudd indeed might have tried to set a cracking pace ... but running the show all on his own saw the business of government actually grind to a halt. I talk to a few senior public servants and the anger over Rudd's madness spread far beyond any political intrigues in caucus. The bloke believed his own PR bulldust - a messiah with unlimited ability - beyond any and all colleagues or the hundreds of professional advisors whose advice he consistently overturned without discussion.

      The 'real Kevin' appeared during the last election campaign where he began spewing out his brilliance on the run - like special tax concessions and economic zones for Northern Australia - absolutely unhinged and cringe-worthy. The bloke was delusional and overwhelmed by his own sense of a personal historical mission.

      Labor's biggest mistake wasn't in getting rid of him, it was in letting him hang around for the next three years. He should have been getting treatment.

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    13. Marcus L'Estrange

      Teacher

      In reply to Craig Minns

      Comrade I'm now a retired teacher. I'm in a faction of one in the ALP: the cream of the working class. With teacheing it was flat out from morning to dusk and then homework. If you read my paper on Gonski I would hang Comrade Kirner from the nearest lamp post becuase of the harm she did to working class education.

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    14. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I can see that you've read the 'Gillard supporter handbook'.

      Now I'm not suggesting that Rudd was without substantial fault, but exaggeration and concoction is naturally necessary to justify the most brutal, treacherous and ultimately ineffective political act in Labor's history -- on a par with the Whitlam sacking -- and by his own party!

      BTW, like you I suspect, I've walked the halls of public service power. Some managers would give Dilbert's Pointy-Haired Boss a good name.

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    15. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Only been a public servant very briefly Yuri and that was in NSW. Only took a couple of years before I was rattling the bars and trying to escape ... very much the reserve grade team - and too corrupt for my liking.

      My links with the Federal Public Service come from the political side of the business.

      Not so much a Gillard supporter as a Rudd loather - but I do think history will judge the team of 2010 -2013 very kindly. But I have no time for rats.

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    16. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I must admit, I was not a 'high roller' in the PS (state, and feds of a sort), but I did have a senior position that put me very close to CEO action. Yes, it can be 'pull your hair out' time when you have to work under a dunce. Same in any profession and organisation I guess.

      And you know me, always willing to compromise and see the other point of view . . .

      I know Goss and Rudd did Peter Beattie over when the Goss Gov came to power in Queensland in the 90s. They left him out of the ministry for years. He never forgot, naturally, and it explains much of the vitriol from him in recent The Australian newspaper pieces. Again, very poor form from Beattie I thought. In the Goss era, this was union versus 'academic' power once again, but Beattie did deserve a spot as he was obviously a quality performer.

      History may indeed see things differently in the Rudd and Gillard era.

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    17. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      I must admit I was rather disappointed by Roxon's rather trivial instances of Kevin's relationship with the public service. Had she done a bit of digging - maybe talking to some of the lower orders - she might have discovered that those bureaucrats playing handball on the grass were carrying papers and briefing notes that had been compiled by senior public officials from all over the country often at very short notice and requiring thousands of hours, overnighters, weekends and unpaid overtime…

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    18. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      " The bloke believed his own PR bulldust - a messiah with unlimited ability - "
      Peter, see you are coming around to some logical thinking.
      Are you saying the ALP should now see about him being committed somewhere!
      Would that be a first for Australian politics?
      I can see it now, Kevin being dragged off in a white jacket shouting " I do not doe easily, you just ask Annabell for I told her "

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    19. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg North

      No I think they should just dump him ... Therese can sort it. Not really Labor's problem any more .. or ours thank heavens. Good riddance.... but I do wish you lot had been able to arrange that western Sydney bloodbath the polls were all so certain of ... bloody hopeless.

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    20. Ken Piaggio
      Ken Piaggio is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Medical Practitioner

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      'Therese can sort it'
      You are always good for a well reasoned argument and delightful turn of humour but it seems that Kevin Rudd pushes some buttons for you.
      We have seen a lot of 'he said, they said' about Kevin, even in conversations I too have had with people who have worked with him. Very few people here, I suspect, have any long term personal experience with Kevin, so do we REALLY know?
      'The bloke was delusional' If he was, should he not deserve our caring, not our abuse? Is he any more of a 'rat' than many others or are we just looking at the 'cheese' and making assumptions.
      I have not seen you get into the 'kicking' of someone like this.
      Would someone bring back the Peter O that I always look forward to reading.

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    21. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Ken Piaggio

      Sorry Ken... you're right of course. I get furious when I am reminded of the last three years - and it only gets worse when I think of the three years ahead which I regard very much as part of the Rudd legacy. Abbott didn't win this election, Labor gave it to them. An utterly disgraceful performance.

      The caucus should have acted to get rid of Rudd once his behaviour in the 2010 campaign became known. And it was known - both to caucus and the press gallery. He should have been exiled to the cross benches... so yes not purely down to Rudd but from a collapse of courage and nerve in caucus - they only did half the job.

      I'm not sure that unbridled narcissism and overweaning ambition are covered in DSMV - they should be. Then I might even manage to squeeze out a drop of sympathy.

      I'll cheer up by tomorrow I promise.

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    22. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Ken Piaggio

      Ken, you obviously haven't been around long enough! But I agree with most of your sentiment.

      The thing I dislike is the casual assessment of Rudd by people who don't know him, accept second-hand information, and, for personal hubris, resort to extreme character attacks based on limited information. I don't necessarily mean Peter (we all know his style), and for the most part these forums are well suited to venting.

      Political journalists should know better. They have a broader responsibility. Much of their reporting and analysis of Rudd, and I must say of Gillard by certain journos, was just pathetic and self-serving.

      (I still haven't forgiven Laurie Oakes for publicly outing Evans and Kernot.)

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    23. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Yuri please don't assume you know anything about what or who I know.

      I first met Rudd when he was a minion in the Goss Government attending the Premiers' Conference in the mid 80s. We were in the business of handing the States a serious dollop of cash - and for Rudd it wasn't enough, a trap, Queensland deserved more... and he was trying to wind Goss up to launch an attack on his Canberra colleagues ... for handing out a bucket of money.

      I thought he was unhinged then and subsequent events have only served to confirm my original assessment. None too bright either, but gee he really thought he was something. Narrow, suspicious, parochial and utterly self serving. Small town boy.

      Where I come from we don't canonise rats no matter how politically dead they are.

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    24. R. Ambrose Raven

      none

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      This and the related speculations have no basis in fact, as the writers would acknoewledge if they troubled to look through the media reports of the time.

      Forgotten the headlines of the time have we? Or carefully ignored them?

      ----Captain Chaos and the workings of inner circle
      ----Bursting the bubble
      ----Facade of Inclusion
      ----A committee set up every four days by Rudd team
      ----Prosperity for all in Labor's market democracy
      ----Leader's plate full of big ideas he can't stomach

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    25. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Ahh, Peter, I see . . . a political grudge from way back. Says more about you than Rudd I suspect. Did you over did he? That's fed-state relationships eh? (Goss was premier from 1989-1996. Rudd was his chief of staff.)

      Rudd spent 8 years overseas as a diplomat before Goss, and was educated at ANU. Hardly the 'small-town boy' picture you try to paint, but then we know your tendency to exaggerate, Peter. A little lacking in ecumenical sentiment also it seems to me.

      Funny, when you first talked about "rats" I thought you meant the cowardly mob who conspired against their own first-term prime minister behind his back. Now there's some real rats for ya!

      And 'where you come from', eh? Dear me, you are a tough guy.

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    26. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      No Yuri - again you do not know or understand. It was not about 'me' it was about a Federal Labor Government that was trying to do the right thing for Australians - including a large number of Queenslanders. Fortunately Hawke and Keating and the other premiers had more influence over Wayne Goss than Rudd and his frothing came to nothing... but not for want of effort. He was a nuisance but nothing more.

      Don't get me wrong Yuri - Rudd was probably a reasonable bureaucrat and maybe could have…

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    27. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, they will miss Combet, but that's all -- and I don't think that resignation had much to do with Rudd.

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    28. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Marcus L'Estrange

      Marcus, your view of the teaching profession does not accord with the current practice, where it is hard to find a teacher anywhere within a school before 8:45 or after 3:00, there is no such thing as homework, there are student-free periods in which marking can be done and, if the teachers I have known are any guide, after the first few years an accumulation of lesson plans and other material means there is almost no work done at home. There is a reason that teaching has become one of the prime…

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    29. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Kevin actually took leave for a short while after the 2010 one person ballot.

      I had no reason not to admire Rudd PM during his first 2 years though I thought he was a bit eager to front the telly every day. But right from the start of 2010 he didn't seem to be on top of his game. The Q&A with all young audience saw him on the defensive from the first question - not relaxed, prickly. Then there were those repetitive excruciating TV shots of Kevin visiting hospital after hospital holding an oldie's…

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    30. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Yuri. Rudd didn't even contest the 2010ballot . He went for some short leave then enjoyed being Foreign Minister for a while, Soon he was plotting with his small band of caucus supporters and constantly feeding the media scathing critiques of Gillard. The contrast between media treatment of Rudd PM and Gillard PM is staggering. Media knew but didn't write about Rudd's disfunction ; right from the 2010 election campaign they collaborated with the Rudd camp in attacking almost everything Gillard did. The exceptions were very few.

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    31. Gabrielle Henry

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I appreciate that this is your opinion but it is not factual. Labor people in Brisbane have a very different perspective on Kevin Rudd than this. We often do not air our opinions publicly because the debate is too much like a high school fight. We don't want to get burned. The last thing Labor in Brisbane needs is to lose the seat of Griffith. When you tell Rudd to resign you are insulting all of us who helped to get him reelected. He has helped a lot of people here and a great many community organisations. We look at him as one of only 6 federal members and 7 state members in Queensland and 7 local councillors in Brisbane. Instead of attacking try to have more understanding of our position.

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    32. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Gabrielle Henry

      Gabrielle ... I understand your position quite well I think... and I wouldn't for one minute wish to insult those who worked to get Rudd re-elected. I just wish they had an actual Labor candidate to work for rather than a Rudd candidate.

      How did he ever get to be a Labor candidate? - certainly not due to anything he believed in.

      I'm old enough to be quite blase about losing seats in by-elections when in opposition .... you'll win it back with a decent candidate and enough local support…

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    33. Gabrielle Henry

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Rudd is a community based leader. You might not like him but he has enormous popular support in his electorate. He had hundreds of volunteers who were not party members working on his campaign. He did not spend anything like the $2.3 million dollars which the Glasson campaign spent in the electorate. He has supported local issues for his entire career and engaged with the local community the whole time. His work as a local member is exemplary. I don't think this means he was a not at fault several times during the life of the last government but lets analyse with facts not fictions. His main problem within the party is that he did not have a union base. He wanted party reform that many others did not.

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    34. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      : ...his relentless treachery should not ever be seen to be acceptable let alone rewarded"
      Really? Still harping on the old song, Peter? Character assassination of Rudd? What about your omission of the initial treachery of Gillard and her faceless mob, including Swan, et al?
      Who are we to tell those in Brisbane (Griffith) folks who they should vote for? Shouldn't we let those in Griffith make up their own minds? When was it ok to insult the decision/s of an electorate? I thought only the current dysfunctional ALP was good at that. You, too Peter?
      I didn't vote for Rudd or the ALP this time but it is ugly to continue to decry Rudd when the initial insult and treachery was the stabbing of a sitting PM of Australia. Hope the ALP gets roasted at the next election, too, for its unceasing attack on one of its own. Carnivorous ALP!! ALP doesn't know when to SHUT UP or behave decently.
      LNP, here I come as your new recruit, after rejecting the antics of the current ALP.

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    35. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Gabrielle Henry

      Oh no don't get me wrong Gabrielle - I'm sure Kevin had considerable popular support locally. But I'm talking about something a bit more complex - what Gramsci called an "organic" leader ... from them, with them, one of them. The sort of credentials that old time labor leaders used to have in spades.

      But his leaking during the 2010 campaign was utterly shameful display of petulance and spite.

      I think he believed the hype that came out of the Kevin '07 campaign ... that he thought it was him…

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    36. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      Yep - if the old song means you don't set out to cripple your colleagues in the polls.

      Unless you live in Griffith Raine you've never voted for Rudd.

      And I suspect that Rudd's initial preselection was not a decision of a mass of locals either. We don't get to make up our own minds - we get to choose or reject what's been offered up by the machinery.

      As I've mentioned here before the collapse of support for Rudd in caucus was reflected in an atmosphere of chaos and incompetence spreading…

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    37. Gabrielle Henry

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      A large part of the problem is that you are assuming Queensland Labor is like NSW Labor. It is not. This is not the place to discuss what Queensland Labor is like. It makes us very angry when people who are ignorant about Queensland make ill founded assumptions about what happens here. Peter Beattie has many faults but to his credit his reforms of the party over the last twenty years have kept the factions in reasonable balance and have kept corrupt practices out of the party. We are also very vigilant about that. Rank and file party members are in a constant struggle with dominant unions but we are not giving up. I am just not going to constantly discuss Kevin Rudd. I am sick of it. Please accept that he is not a demon and move on. I am working hard for Gramsci's vision of the party in my local branch. Rudd is not stopping me nor is he stopping anyone else.

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    38. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Gabrielle Henry

      I like Peter Beattie. Talk to him about Kevin. He makes my views look quite sanguine.

      I'm quite happy for you Queenslanders to run your own show as you see fit - but the price tag for such utter autonomy is not imposing critters like Kevin on a national polity.

      Not just Kevin incidentally - it was all those in caucus who make their decisions based on polls and self-interest - the furnitures.

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    39. Gabrielle Henry

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It wasn't Queensland politicians who voted for Shorten. Look elsewhere for someone to blame over that. Stop fetishising blame on one individual. It is ludicrous. Please move on. The Fergs and their politics have been a Victorian problem for the national party for many years. Why don't you lecture them instead?

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  14. David Stein

    Businessman

    Shaun,
    Lots of good points, but not sure I agree with the overall assessment that the ALP doesn't have the right mindset about the Rudd and Gillard legacy.
    You are conflating the ALP's honest assessment of Rudd's behavior and how the ALP views its policy achievements in government. These are 2 separate questions. Roxon is articulating the horrific scenario of a Rudd destabilization as Shorten Labor rebuilds. Not a pretty scenario - party members would look with horror on any continuing self immolation…

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    1. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to David Stein

      David,

      You are missing the big picture -- and that is reform. The party will not reform and has no future while Shorten, Feeney, Farrell et al are organising. Farrell is going next July when senate term is up.

      Rudd should stay and 'destabilise' this mob -- seeing that this seems to be the word of the year. (Yes, you heard me right.)

      Incidentally, the grassroots party membership mostly recognise this.

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    2. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Yuri,
      I was responding to the OP. I agree with your enthusiasm for greater membership involvement in the party, and it turns out Rudd did something beneficial to change the way the leader is elected.
      Notwithstanding, is instability the best way to bring about the change you want? I think not. What is it that Federal Labor does well? I would argue fresh thinking and policy innovation are things that sway voters to vote for Federal Labor. The party also needs good candidates and effective structure and leadership. It seems to me gradual reform to enhance the strength of membership is important, but the broader Labor movement is also key to policy and ideas formation. So, the union movement, welfare groups, NGO's, and even business and churches should be 'in the tent' so to speak.

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    3. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to David Stein

      Welfare groups are not part of the Labor movement, they are rent-seekers who interpose themselves between the providers of services and funding and the beneficiaries. Likewise for the Unions in today's incarnation. In both cases they could be readily done away with and few people would notice.

      The biggest problem for the Labour (not the Labor) movement is that there are no longer many people who labour; it's irrelevant. As a result, the party has become a queer mishmash of Fabians - mostly from the government-payroll "service sector" - and petit-bourgeoisie professionals, all pretending that they are really workers. The few people who really are workers are voting for the other side because at least that mob seem to be concerned about letting business do well enough to pay them instead of worrying about how to milk a living out of them when they're unemployed.

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    4. Yuri Pannikin

      Director

      In reply to David Stein

      David, of course policy is the main game, but it can only be implemented when we have the right people to implement it. We don't; not while certain unions/factions are infesting the ALP.

      As far as the method, "crash through or crash" I propose. Of minor import, but Whitlam remained leader of the Opposition until he lost in '77 after he lost in '75.

      If you consider the initial Rudd betrayal in historical terms, you can see how outrageous it was, especially for the ALP. These people in control now believe in little beyond power for themselves.

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    5. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Marcus L'Estrange

      Why? What's wrong with people standing behind their professionalism and genuine performance record in arguing their individual case? That works just fine in private enterprise. The public sector unions are an anachronistic hangover.

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    6. Marcus L'Estrange

      Teacher

      In reply to Craig Minns

      Not all welfare groups are rent seekers. What about the Sacred Heart Mission in St Kilda or Father Bob Maguire's group.?

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    7. Craig Minns

      Self-employed

      In reply to Marcus L'Estrange

      Those are welfare providers who existed without government and would exist whether the Government funded them or not. However, they are not typical of the "not-for-profit" sector, which typically spends more on paying for administrative overheads, including executive wages, premises rentals, "lobbying" and the rest of the panoply of being a modern cash cow than on providing services.

      It's just another example of the creation of a structure that limits individual agency. As a small example, I offered…

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    8. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Yuri Pannikin

      Yuri were you serious about … "Rudd should stay and 'destabilise' this mob"? If so, it is the best statement of the decade!! This current self loathing ALP mob does need to be destabilised and only Rudd can do this. Stay on Ruddie baby, you have to do nothing; your very presence will send shivers down the spine (if they have any) of this lot". There'll be more of Roxon-type ugly public speeches and the lot will explode or implode. Yippeeee!!

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  15. leonie wellard

    retiree

    To Peter Ormond. You raised a point I've been seeking an answer to. What is it that prevents unions' hard-won benefits from going only to unionists? Is it a law, tradition, or simply stupid?

    If only union members received such benefits, the membership numbers would greatly increase. Too simple, really.

    I've long believed that unions are for unionists...not for the hangers-on who stick out their hands for the spoils of others efforts.

    Does anyone have the right answer to my question?

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to leonie wellard

      Who's this Ormond fella??? We true "e" Ormondes do not speak of them.

      But the 'free-rider' problem is a long-running issue for unions. From an 'economic managerialist' perspective, the most stable outcome is to have wages etc all moving along at a slow and steady uniform rate (while hot spots - like mining) make their own insulated arrangements.

      But longer term for unions it makes no sense unless they have the institutionalised workplace role and legitimacy found in Europe and Scandinavia…

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to leonie wellard

      " If only union members received such benefits, the membership numbers would greatly increase. Too simple, really. "
      There're two opposing forces you could say leonie and first is that unions usually negotiate awards on an industry wide basis and so while you do still have some industries with strong unions such as the BWU which means you do not get a job on a major building site without your ticket, not all industries are so afected.
      Secondly, there are many employers who recognise good working performances and who are prepared to pay wages that are beyond award rates to those they feel deserve it or that employers want to hang on to.
      So it is not so much a case of individual hangers on but unions often being the collective hanger on when supply and demand of skills comes into play.

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    3. leonie wellard

      retiree

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hi, Peter Ormonde (with an 'e'. Sorry about the previous typo but then I did enjoy your humourous response).

      Thanks for the prompt reply and especially for the links....they were most informative and interesting.

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to leonie wellard

      Just wish there were some obvious answers to the problem Leonie.

      I do have a hunch - I'm reknown from my evidence-free hunches - that if unions actually engaged more directly with their members and the workforce more generally - all multicultural and feminised as it is - they might find a whole new raft of issues and concerns to address their needs and interests - like childcare, like discrimination, like religious/family leave etc.

      But that would need a very different sort of culture, a new sort of union and a new breed of organiser. Time will tell.

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  16. Anna Ross

    Healthcare professional

    The ALP now has 2 genuine ego-driven psychopaths as past leaders
    (Rudd and Latham). Just a few weeks ago Nicola Roxon was assuring us that Rudd was the best person to lead the country, yet just a few days ago she delivered an industrial-strength shellacking to him. How can a party which proclaims itself fit to lead the country deliver up 2 duds like this? As Hawkie said "You can't govern the country if you can't govern yourselves".

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  17. Gil Hardwick

    anthropologist, historian, novelist, editor and publisher at eBooks West

    Thank you indeed, Shaun, for reflecting the broader reality for Labor and in that the view I think of the vast majority of Australians.

    It's way past time for politicians to acknowledge and respect the fact that if you are a member of a party then you must obey the rules of the party, and show loyalty and consistency as a party, or resign and become an independent member.

    Two points need to be highlighted.

    First, where was the courage of senior Labor ministers in asserting their role as responsible members throughout the six-year debacle? In it's absence, rightly, they are all equally at fault; I dare suggest culpable in their negligence.

    Second, where is the Labor Party itself headed with all this? What on earth was it seeking to achieve by selecting and promoting such ministries?

    Those of the sorts of things we'd all be looking at down the track, as the next election inevitably draws close.

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  18. Marcus L'Estrange

    Teacher

    Roxon calls Rudd a bastard,17/10, was a correct call but she is not without sin and therefore cannot cast the first stone.

    She disgraced herself for not voting to increase the miserly Newstart allowance of $35 a day, which is one of the lowest dole payments in the developed world. Nicola then decided to retire from Parliament on a pension of $140,000 plus for life, because her child was turning eight and Roxon wanted to spend more time with her. However she also then voted for to force sole parents…

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

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Marcus L'Estrange

      Marcus

      If you are going to play the bastardy card best to understand who started what.

      "Moves to shift single parents onto Newstart began under the Howard government in 2006 and have continued under Labor. Since January this year, the single parenting payment is no longer available once the youngest child is eight."

      http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/more-children-of-single-parents-in-poverty-20130621-2on4u.html

      I too was disappointed Gillard did not reverse Howard's slam on single parents - Labor is certainly not without its mistakes. It is getting back to whom Labor represents that is part of the journey Labor needs to make.

      Is Labor simply LNP lite or does it now have a backbone? With the election of Shorten as leader, another from Labor's right, I don't see much of a change any time soon.

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    2. Marcus L'Estrange

      Teacher

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Of course I know the history but for Gillard to not reverse the decision was unconsciable. To make matters worse she admitted on 12/2011 that the real unemployment figure was 20% plus with another 1 million wanting more hours of work.

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  19. Raine S Ferdinands

    Education

    The current ALP's hatred for and fear of Rudd reveal lots more about the ALP party than Rudd. That the views of the electorate (esp Griffith) ought to give way to the views of Smith-Emerson-Roxon (born out of bitterness and personal vendetta) is an indication of how self absorbed, blinked and power corrupt ALP has become. Emerson will continue to support Gillard till his dying days; this many can understand for various reasons. Roxon claims that she was never on Rudd’s receiving end; not true…

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  20. Peter Lang

    Retired geologist and engineer

    What's the point of trying to 'Lave Rudd Behind'?.

    Why try to pretend Labor didn't elect one disaster after another to be its leader?

    Why doesn't Labor recognise that it continually chooses nasty and incompetent people to be its leader?

    Rudd, Gillard. Latham were all really nasty, divisive and incompetent leaders. In fact, there majority of the Labor MPs are little different. They don't come from the real world. They've got to where they are by progressing up through the union movement or from being Labor apparatchiks. So, they've learnt to be nasty to progress.

    They've had no exposure to the management side of business. So they are totally incompetent and managing the country. They simply do not understand what is involved.

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    1. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Peter Lang

      "They've had no exposure to the management side of business. So they are totally incompetent and managing the country. They simply do not understand what is involved".

      I concur with this part, Peter. But we need to understand the axiom that 'we don't know why we don't know'. When one's life experience was dictated by being a union rep (later ALP leader) with no experience in managing business, then surely this vendetta against business corporations will be reflected in their political life as well. Some in the ALP are bent on killing the goose that lays the golden egg. No wealth creation, no re-distribution; a simple truth some some can't seem to fathom. Keating understood business. Rudd understood business via his wife's thriving business. The likes of Latham, Gillard and Shorten don't get it. Sad.

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    1. Oliver Dunne

      retiree

      In reply to alexander j watt

      Apart from not being able to resist the opportunity to give Nicola Roxon a swipe, I'm unsure what is the real point of Shaun Carney's article. If Rudd is finished and sitting on the back bench or jaunting around the world, what useful purpose is he serving the Labor Party by remaining in Parliament. In recent history, I can think of no other defeated Liberal or Labor leader other than Rudd who has remained on in Parliament sitting as a source of constant embarrassment to his or her successor. He…

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    2. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Oliver Dunne

      If a by election was called in Griffith labor would probably lose it. Labor needs as many seats in parliament as possible. Kevin is doing the party a favor by not resigning. I'm sure he can sit on the back bench, and behave like a politician. The problems in the labor party are not named Kevin Rudd.

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      That's where I'd disagree Janeen ... why does Labor need Griffith in Opposition ... someone to make the tea? Rudd carries more baggage than any value he may have once had. For that matter so do large numbers of the soft furnishings who escaped the prophesied murderous rage of NSW voters.

      Far better to ditch the lot, preselect genuine candidates of talent and commitment and get on with rebuilding a new Labor Party without the lingering stench of Sussex Street, Obeid, Richardson and the inherent croneyism and mateocracy. None of them believe in anything beyond their own ambitions and right to rule.

      Give me a party of Tony Windsors anyday.

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  21. Geoff Anderson

    Brain Surgeon

    The ex-Ministers are behaving like spoilt children whose lolly jar as been taken off them. They must feel the loss of Ministerial leather very deeply.

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  22. John Homan

    Engineer

    With most of us our strength are also our weaknesses.

    Kevin Rudd has been marked as a narcissist (possibly a psychotic)

    Presentation is narcissists strength. Because of a sense of insecurity they have a great need to be liked, admired and respected, and so they develop great capacity to present well to those whose approval they need, as was evident in Rudd's selection as leader, and his success as leader in the 2007 election.

    The reverse side is that all this building of his credibility and popularity was built on a foundation of his insecurity and vulnerability. To maintain and defend it lead to his dictatorial, micro management style of behaviour, hiarchall and disrespectful of others.

    Winning the election was his personal victory and road to greatness, and did benefit the country and party. His subsequent behaviour was about him and servicing his greatness.

    John Homan
    Yeppoon

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  23. Gabrielle Henry

    logged in via Facebook

    The claim that Glasson is a quality operator overlooks the fact that the LNP spent $2.3million on their campaign in that seat. They still only got a 5% swing.

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    1. Rotha Jago

      concerned citizen

      In reply to Gabrielle Henry

      Why do so many cultured and talented Labor supporters concentrate on personalities? It is destructive, but worse than that, is is the conversation you have when you are not having a conversation.
      It is so easy to analyse this or that personality.
      It is called 'Triangulating'. http://www.cpa2biz.com/Content/media/PRODUCER_CONTENT/Newsletters/Articles_2011/CPA/Jul/TriangulatingOnJob.

      It takes less effort than watching The X Factor on TV. Do not imagine that you are contributing anything to Australian politics past or present.

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    2. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education

      In reply to Gabrielle Henry

      The fact is LABOR LOST!!! Labor needs to move away from its obsession with Rudd and STOP "eating its own". Carnivorous Labor is now also vision and hearing impaired. Good God.

      Let's (the rest of us) move on and ensure that the LNP delivers what it promised.

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    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      For those of us interested in politics Raine there's a lot more to it than winning or losing. Winning is more than just getting 'your team' in on the gravy train ... it's about how 'your team' can change society, whether it can convince and shift public attitudes and interests - more than just a popularity poll ... it's what you do when you get there and what your vision for Australia is and how effectively you've been in building support for it.

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