When Spin is not King


Chart of the Australian Labor Party two-party-...

Chart of the Australian Labor Party two-party-preferred vote as estimated by the Newspoll, Roy Morgan and Neilson polls from the start of 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have written several posts on the subject of the need for the Australian Labor Party to do some work on itself. The demolition of the Party on the last NSW election was marked as a need to learn the lesson, and return to the values that Labor really stands for. The where to have a full, frank and independent assessment of what went wrong.

The results in Queensland are even more startling, and this not much more than 12 months after Anna Bligh‘s stellar performance during the Queensland Flood crisis. Now I don;t pretend to understand Queensland Politics, but from the point of view of an outsider, whilst the issues may be a little different to NSW the results are not dissimilar, and one suspects that the fundamental causes are not far removed either.

Support for the Federal Party seems to be languishing in the doldrums as well. Polls this weekend have support around the 28% mark, which whilst not an insignificant level of support is a level which makes for a significant voice rather than a government.

Now Labor seems to want to talk the talk, and rarely has there been a political force in Australia so media driven, and so hooked on spin. For the average punter it looks like Government without credibility. Julia Speaks of a victory when she gets something through the caucus. Of course there is a minefield, and she seems to have pushed major changes through an awkward lower house and the benevolent Greens in the Senate. And the spin on the success is writ large.

On the current showing the Greens are catching up – and the future suggests at this rate will see ALP-GRN in the sense that we talk about the Lib/Nat coalition.

Kevin Rudd, and many others are calling for a real and fundamental change in the Labor Party that will make it a democratic Party. The Unions are likely not to be too happy with the idea of giving up more power, however as you look at it, you wonder where the power does lie in the Labor Party. It seems to be more driven by spin than any sense of cause, purpose or ideal. The light o the hill seems a distant memory.

I suspect that the ALP is essentially change resistant when it comes to itself, and there will need to be a lot of struggle to rediscover their roots, and find a way to give that meaning and c connection in the modern idiom.  The union movement which has served the needs of many workers in an industrialed workforce looks to be having difficulty making it to meaning in the new paradigms of the labor market in Australia. If the union movement is becoming less relevant then the Labor Party must find new connections to stay relevant or face the possibility of fading from the landscape.

The fact that they now have single digit representation in Queensland should cause serious questions and real change. The concern is that we will have announcements, media hype,  and little action.

We live in interesting times

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