Monday, February 27, 2012

Caucus saves Julia Gillard but can anything save the Labor Party?

Julia Gillard has won the ALP leadership spill today, 71 votes to 31 over Kevin Rudd and so continues us a remarkably unpopular Prime Minister while Kevin Rudd promises to go quietly to the back bench.

But with 'dysfunctional' being the elephant in the room for the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, nothing is for certain.

Julia Gillard and backers have been emphasising that the next election is at the "end of 2013" which a long way off in politics. They are hopeful she can turn the tide of public opinion in that time.

One thing in her favour is that much of the electorate angst over the ugly betrayal of Kevin Rudd has been overshadowed by absolute electorate exhaustion with the whole boring business of Labor leadership shenanigans.

For Kevin, it may well be that nobody wants to hear one more thing about faceless men and legacies and finishing the job.

For Julia, she is in danger of being the new Kristina Keneally of Labor politics - leading a government so tainted that it won't matter what she does, or what policies and reform are achieved...

And there are a couple of names I think should be mentioned - Mark Latham and Malcolm Turnbull.

Mark Latham was chosen by Labor for the 2004 election and we all remember his handshake and his subsequent whitewashing from history by the ALP.

Then Kevin came to the rescue but we now learn that his leadership was apparently as dysfunctional as Latham's must have been to earn such neglect from former colleagues.

What does that say about Labor's ability to produce and choose normal, healthy, whole leaders? It's not really my question, it's Labor's - based on their own comments.

And meanwhile the Liberals had a close leadership contest a while ago but we hear no serious or hurtful discussion about Malcolm Turnbull's leadership ambition. Does this indicate a healthier, more balanced approach to resolving this issues? Or is it that, unlike Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott just has the right numbers to keep the dogs at bay...

'Dysfunctional - 1. Not operating properly. 2. Deviating from the norms of social behaviour in a way as regarded as bad.' That kind of sums it up, let's see if our politicians have had their fill of 'dysfunction' and can remember their electorates and the nation...

Stay tuned... and keep praying.