The results of the New South Wales Election where much as expected – a Labor Rout. Mark Latham and Paul Keating have both had a spray. No doubt the media was out to invite sprays from all and sundry. In a funny way the uninvited sprayers are both pointing at the problem, but perhaps also being part of it.
The ALP is divided, not simply between left and right wing factions, but also between those who look to old values and those who look for a new reality, between Keynesian and Freedmanite Economics. The core values as the party of workers rights. Primarily egalitarian, essentially socialist, in its origins there is a new breed of labor looking for privatization, and raising the question is Labor simply an alternative the the Liberals, or does it stand for something different.
Paul Keating speaks about moral authority (and I understand there may be a question about the moral authority he has to raise the issue) however it is the failure to stand committed to a genuine mission means that the party, at least in new south wales has been committed to being in power, which is not enough.
The Labor Party in New South Wales must re-invent itself or die. The middle ground will be too excruciating to contemplate. Whilst the Greens do not have the depth of Labor, they do have a mission and a purpose, and if State Labor cannot find a mission (apart from being in power) then the Greens stand ready to pick up the non-coalition voters. And the Green face the issue of broadening their policy base without loosing a sense of the core mission. Primarily the Greens ned to develop meaningful economic policy threads.
State Labor in NSW needs to reach into itself and get in touch with it’s should and find out why they are the Labor Party and what they are committed to, and only then, pay attention to media and getting the message out. They have a couple of years to do it, and they will need a couple of years to do it.