Kevin Rudd has gone on the record to suggest that if the Labor Party does not undertake major reform it runs the dire risk of becoming a less relevant minor party.
"There is a real danger that we simply fade away as other progressive parties around the world have done, becoming a shadow of their former selves against the aggressive conservative onslaught of a resurgent right,"
"We are fools if we do not understand that the public has had a gutful of what currently passes for much of our national political debate."
Could this be correct or is it just a bit of jostling to make Julia Gillard feel less comfortable as she comes to the National Conference.
On the one hand that is clearly a plausible opinion to canvass. In the wake of the rout of the long term Labor Government in NSW their was a commitment made to a thorough and independent review with a view to reform. I think the conclusion of that review was a “we was robbed” statement, which seems to me to indicate a systemic failure in the review process, which is in keeping with the inbred nature of the party on NSW where there has been a loss of a moral compass.
Kevin Rudd, thankfully somewhat removed from the NSW version of Labour argues for a directly elected leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party, from the rank and file membership of the party. Given the advance in technology that is clearly possible, and in keeping with the egalitarian ethos of the Labor Party.
None the less in listening to the call, one also realises that Kevin Rudd attracts strong support amongst the rank and file, and whilst he may not win in that circumstance he would certainly give it a good shake.
Against the egalitarian myth Labor has relied on caucus to manage the parliamentary party and present a unified front to the world. This in turn has become dominated by factions, and this has evolved to a difficult abuse of power and a reduction in the egalitarian in favour of, decision taken by the few in the back room where deals are done.
"The core truth is this; the centralised power of the factional leadership of the Australian Labor Party is exercised to the exclusion of the 35,000 members who make up our rank and file," said the Foreign Minister.
I believe for most people looking in from outside there is a level of Kevin stating the bleeding obvious. However it may well be that those who critically at the issue will conclude that there is another agenda in the reform that Kevin proposes, possibly some retribution for his ‘asackination’ when he discovered the lady who said she was standing behind him was actually twisting the knife.
- I think it is clear that the Labor Party does need reform or it will disappear up it’s own orifice.
- Universal plebiscite for the leadership is not necessarily the reform required though it may well help.
- Kevin can not be considered to be impartial in the call for it, especially where the reform he calls for may be seen to benefit him, or cause some grief for Julia, Bob and Wayne.