He’s a Total Rooster Mate!

This piece by Matt Price in today’s Australian was timely, because I too had been wondering about whether “rooster” was such a bad term of reference for a fellow Australian male. In the loose-limbed vernacular circles that I move in, it could almost be heard as affectionate – and I think we can all agree that you could certainly be called a lot worse by Mark Latham. And Kevin Rudd deserves to be after deciding that it would only be honourable to inform Crean about these naughty chooks sniffing around the Beazley roost after he inadvertently bumped into a couple of them at the airport. What a rooster he is……

Whatever, the game is certainly joined and the ALP will be in paralysis until it’s run it’s course – and “running it’s course” might not be just a simple matter of a leadership vote.

Crean is the most uninspired ALP leader since Arthur Calwell. He is the compromised, dynastic-scion embodiment of a faction-ridden, apparatchik politics. A politics which produces a leader on the basis of the sum total of his least negative qualities – rather than his most positive – and then querulously chides the electorate for it’s inability to appreciate him.

Comparisons with Howard’s unpopularity in Opposition are frequently made but don’t stack up in my opinion. Howard fought tenaciously for over a decade for the chance not just to lead, but rather to use the leadership to effect his conviction-based agenda. Crean hasn’t got a discernible conviction – let alone an agenda – other than that he’s the leader and that, presumably, is that. The rest is the stuff of platitudinous schmoozing balanced with the over-blown, reactive, “we’ll all be rooned” scenarios that every government initiative brings forth. I wonder that no-one stops to consider that the electorate’s political cynicism may, in no small part, be due to the brain-melting boredom induced by the utterly predictable “messages” conveyed as the armament of our tediously adversarial – and insultingly simplistic – machine politics.

Beazley is liked, Crean isn’t. But if Beazley wants the leadership he’s going to have to fight for it. In short, he’s got to be a Howard. I don’t think he can be. On the other hand, Crean can’t “win” – whatever way it goes. It’s going to be interesting.

The wider context is the federal ALP itself. The ALP currently runs State and Territory government in Australia precisely because the proximity of people/aspirations/politics force a more pragmatic engagement. In that sense, the states and territories are arguably the inheritors of Hawkeite labor – a pragmatic, business-like politics that panelbeats the vision into the lived reality and the aspirational into the achievable, reflecting Australians back to themselves in a familiar, vote-attracting way. The federal party is still reeling from Keating’s self-indulgent reversal of that dictum and seems irrevocably split about where to go from here.

For the next few weeks at least all the directional indicators are pointing to blood in the hencoop.

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Alan
Alan
2022 years ago

The paragraph describing Crean has just scored my snark of the week prize.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

To some extent you are off the rails.

If Howard is so ‘conviction driven’ how come he pores over polls and focus group research. It does not jell. The best example of this is Tampa. Why did a conviction driven politcian take over 200 boats to discover his convictions?

Calwell would have won the 1961 election on today’s boundaries and even John Howard has elections so you don’t need a ‘great’ leader to win office.

What everyone seems to lost sight of is that if we had an election going on the latest polls the ALP would win given Howard’s propensity to lose votes in a campaign.
One other thing is look at political history and see the last time the Federal election went differently to the States.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

“Latham later described himself as a “fighting cock” (which his critics agree is half-right).

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Agree Chris. I thought Price’s “fighting cock” take was wicked.

Homer – being a conviction pollie doesn’t mean you ignore the polls. If you do, you tend to end up being an ex-pollie with convictions.

woodsy
woodsy
2022 years ago

“I wonder that no-one stops to consider that the electorate’s political cynicism may, in no small part, be due to the brain-melting boredom induced by the utterly predictable “messages” conveyed as the armament of our tediously adversarial – and insultingly simplistic – machine politics” – maaaaate, you orta be in politics !!! As soon as the federal ALP can, as you so eloquently suggest “force a more pragmatic engagement”, they will have more electoral success. That should happen about the same time pig farmers successfully graft wings onto their animals.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

How can Howard be both a poll-driven polly (Tampa, GST and detention centres) and a dictator who disregards the will of the people as expressed by polls (Iraq and Hollingworth) at the same time? I smell a little bit of “having it each way” in these oft-repeated mantras of the left.

Th latest Newspoll two-party preferred vote (51-49) is the first of the last six polls that has shown the split that close. Homer, you are really clutching at a water-soaked straw about to sink with Crean. Perhaps you ought to wait until the next poll before you start pronouncing the beginning of a trend.

Robert
2022 years ago

But now Newspoll and Nielsen are showing much the same thing — Labor within striking distance.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Geoff’s description of Crean is true. But the same can be said about Beazley.

It’s Time … for Mark Latham.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Dave,

One of the few reasons I can think of in favour of Kim Beazley as leader is that he’d make sure that fool Latham never got within cooee of any position of influence (which is precisely why Latham is out front in opposing Beazley’s challenge). Latham in charge would make even Paul Keating look like a great Labor leader. Comrades, the light on the hill is a barbecue. It’s the Libs roasting roosters. Does Latham’s nonsense go over well with the punters? I doubt it. Ordinary Australians recognise a clown when they hear one.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Gotta disagree with you, Ken, about Latham. He is no fool. He saw through Beazley in 1998 as a man of no policy or political fortitude, and he was proven dead right. Close Beazley watchers from his 13 years as a minister predicted it, and they were right too.

Ordinary Australians are turned off the Labor Party because they sense, correctly, that it doesn’t stand for anything, or at least nothing coherent.

Latham has ideas, he has an agenda and is willing and able to to take the fight to the Liberals.

Beazley has none of those qualities and never will.

Crean could have these qualities (could, not does), but his presentational style is terminally awful.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Dave,

I’m not advocating Crean in a pink fit, as you know. But Latham would be much worse. He may have a policy agenda, but it’s a particularly silly communitarian one, which is no doubt why Margo Kingston reckons Latham is so great. I wonder what his policy position is on flushing the toilet after use.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Oops! I meant I’m not advocating Beazley in a pink fit (or Crean for that matter). I need to go to bed. I’m not even making sense to myself.

Gianna
2022 years ago

OK, Beazley, whoever. Now can we all shut up about leadership and talk about Labor policy??

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

To paraphrase Coloned Kurtz, Gianna – I love the smell of a wild-eyed optimist in the morning :-)

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I think that’s “Colonel” though Colon-ed might work as well…

Patrick
2022 years ago

As time goes on, I like Keating.

If anyone is to take credit for the current economy, it is him. Howards biggest attraction is Keating economics without the scary social policies.

(Yes I know Howards social policies are scary to some people, but not the swinging voters in marginal seats.)

Gianna
2022 years ago

what i dislike about Howard’s Australia is that on the one hand we’re constantly told how wonderful the economy is since the Libs have been in power, and then on the other hand there’s all this pressing need for major structural reform (tax, education, health, etc). what’s with that.

Norman
Norman
2022 years ago

Clearly, Gianna, Howard has changed his approach since the Referendum. He has discarded the old Monarchist slogan, and replaced it with [a slightly amended version] viz,
“(Even) if it ain’t broke, you (can still try to find something better.)”

derrida derider
derrida derider
2022 years ago

A few points:

– the comparison with Arthur Calwell is unfair. Calwell was a man of strong principle and could also make a good impromptu speech (look up his response in parliament to Menzies’ announcement of our commitment of troops to Vietnam – if only Simon had done as well over Iraq). No one can accuse Crean of either of these.

– It wasn’t Kurtz who had the “I love the smell of napalm in the morning …” line. It was the other mad Colonel, played by Robert Duvall.

– Anyone with pretensions to libertarianism or small-l liberalism should be appalled by this communitarian shit. It’s too much like Tony Abbott’s social policy – indeed it stems from the same sources (Rerum Novarum and early Fascist ideology).

– And Latham lacks some of the technical people skills required to stay at the top of politics (in fact the phrase “social graces of a pit bull” comes to mind). Mind you, given time he could learn – but he aint near ready yet.

trackback
2022 years ago

A technical post, pay it no mind.

Interesting thing about Jeff Buckly here and another interesting thing here about roosters….

trackback
2022 years ago

Ouch

Ken Parish on the Labor leadership:He is the compromised, dynastic scion embodiment of a faction-ridden, apparatchik politics which produces a…