All Over the Shop

Latho has made his statement. Reaction seems, largely, well, confused. The SMH ponders whether the Party will go back to the Beazer or plunge into the unknown. Senior MPs, this time identified as frontbenchers, are said to be confused and angy:

Far from soothing his party, Mark Latham’s statement has fuelled anger and frustration across his front bench, throwing federal Labor into disarray. After a week of waiting for Mr Latham to give an explanation of his illness and its prognosis, Labor MPs say the statement fails to resolve the two most vital issues: the real state of his health and his long-term leadership plans. Exasperated by Mr Latham’s failure to make a tsunami statement, many senior MPs were even more disillusioned by the absence of a detailed explanation of his health in yesterday’s statement.

The Age characterises Latho as “trying to buy time”, while Michael Gordon in the same paper says “confidence in Latham is evaporating”, and rates the pretenders to the throne. The Australian says “Mark buys Gillard some time”.

You’d have to wonder who’d want to lead this mob. Maybe Gilly’s supporters should hope for her to become Deputy and wait and watch as another leader is sacrificed. It’d be really nice if Labor got its act together, though.

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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Geoff  Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

So, you’re the alternative PM and you’re involved in a bit of a media stoush around your continuing absence in a time when the focus is very much on national response in a time of great international disaster. What you obviously don’t do is to arrange for a colleague with no obvious reason to do so (other than being your mate) to front the media and say something like: “Yeah, he’s really sick but it’s none of your business with what. He wasn’t going to say anything about it at all, then the bloody tsunami came along and blew that bastard out of the water and incidentally, wasn’t that a terrible thing to happen? Right up there with some Tory harpie encountering Mark frolicking at an 800 buck a night resort at Terrigal (which stacks uncomfortably with the popular imagery of the PM listening to his bakelite wireless in his fibro cottage at Hawk’s Nest). In fact, Mark was largely confined to his room with this illness I can’t tell you about and that bitch can get stuffed. In fact you can all get stuffed until Australia Day when Mark will of course be tip top, fighting fit, raring to go and commited anew to a broad, collegial, inclusive approach in advancing the great Labor agenda. Happy New Year. Now piss off before we call the cops.”

But you do.

Rex
Rex
2022 years ago

“Now listen up. I’ve been bloody crook as a dog, crook as a dog I tell you, and the whole political correctness brigade has been getting on their big fat high horse, and telling me that I should be making some comment about a natural disaster that occured somewhere else. Why don’t you pull yer head in ya bloody hypocrits. I coughed up for the victims. I put my hand in my wallet just like thousands of other Australians, and you know what? ‘Cause that’s all I could do?

So you’re all pissed off with me because I didn’t get my speechwriters together to cobble together some nice sentiments so we could all go ‘oh that’s nice’. It’s not like I could actually criticise the PM because you know what? He did a good job putting together the tsunami package. ask you? What conceivable benefit to the victims would there be If I’d fronted the media, looking like shit, and saying “I feel your pain”? It’d just look like the empty media managed event that it of course would be.

The right thing to do, the honorable thing to do was to donate, and shut up, anything else is just self serving windage”

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Rex, On current form I reckon you’ve got his follow-up….

liam hogan
2022 years ago

Mark—Julia Gillard cannot become Leader of the Labor Party. The whole point of the factional system is to stop members of the minority factions from being put in positions of power.
Besides, the problem with Labor isn’t that they don’t have a decent Leader or leadership contender, it’s that after two decades of factional oligarchy, all of their members have fucked off to the Greens, to One Nation or to Bing Lee to buy plasma-screen TVs.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“or to Bing Lee to buy plasma-screen TVs.’

….Where they’ll be spotted by a concerned voter who’ll swiftly tip off the SMH. I agree on the factional realpolitik with Gillard but we live in interesting times. I’m not sure how “Left” Julia is but I’d suspect, not very. Helen Clark once had a thoroughly undeserved reputation as a “Cherry Guevara” muncher but she’s been the ultimate, can-do political pragmatist as NZ PM. Crean and Latham are both Right faction members who were/are reliant on the Left…it’s a crazy, jumbled up, mixed up world. All I know is that the political zeitgeist increasingly looks a helluva lot more like Julia Gillard than it does Latho, Beazo, Ruddo, Swanno or Smitho. There is something profoundly fresh and ‘now’ about Gillard. There ain’t no baggage. If I was them I’d go for it. Inevitably, they won’t.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Liam, I’m well aware of the factional issue, as you know. On this one, I’m with Geoff.

Rex
Rex
2022 years ago

You’re right Geoff, Gillard is ace. Dunno about the voice though, too sharp, too jagged.

“Anatomy is destiny. More to the point, vocal chords are destiny. From time immemorial, the male of the species has recoiled from aspects of the female voice. Too shrill, too high, too scolding, too tentative: women can’t seem to get it right….

Overcoming this natural handicap requires determined effort. Margaret Thatcher’s rise from Finchley MP to Prime Minister was owed in no small part to hard work with a National Theatre voice coach who lowered her pitch by 46 Hertz to a point where it fell half-way between the range of male and female.”

http://www.bjr.org.uk/data/2002/no2_maddox.htm

Aside from sending Julia to NIDA, I think the other great hope of Labor is Lindsay Tanner.

This guy exudes cool. That’s what the ALP need, cool. Something to contrast against JH’s bandy legged waddle and plain ordinariness. Tanner is cool, calm, measured and unflappable, and yeah I know he’s SL. So bloody what? If the ALP right had any sense left they’d pick the best candidate, not their favourite colour.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

“I’m not sure how “Left” Julia is but I’d suspect, not very.”

A commenter on Joel’s site clarified this:

” *

Just to clarify, Julia Gillard is not a member of the Socialist Left. Julia is a member of the Independent Left in Victoria, who are alligned with Martin Ferguson. Here in Victoria, the Ferguson Left are in an alliance with Labor Unity (the right). Julia would not be in parliament without the support of Labor Unity, as they have the numbers in her seat. All her electorate staff are Labor Unity.

However, when Julia goes to Canberra, she is part of the National Left. But this didn’t stop her during the 2004 ALP National Conference breaking from the binding left decision to vote with the National Right on the refugee resolutions.

Not so left after all”

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

“A commenter on Joel’s site clarified this”

I’m with miss piss:

“Yeah, but as someone who really doesn’t give a flying fuck about factions and whathave”

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

woops, I mean Liam.

Peter Kemp
Peter Kemp
2022 years ago

Go Julia
Having a potential lady PM in waiting would create a new dynamic in Oz politics. And a lady who is arguably one of the sharpest tools in the shed—ask Tone Abbott what it feels like to be sliced and diced.

Utter confusion too for Herr Howard as he would not know whether to take the kid gloves off or not.

Agree with yellowvinyl, faction fighting within Labor is not only monumentally boring but so f…ing counter-productive.

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

“I couldn’t give a toss about whether Julia is from the left wing, right wing or chicken wing as Joh just said.”

I don’t think Joh said anything just then. I mean “once said”. I desparately need to get my vcr fixed so I’m not up all night watching movies on the abc then I might make some sense!

Peter F.
Peter F.
2022 years ago

The Labor Party will need to be careful. The truth about the philosophical meaninglessness of contemporary factions has been a closely-guarded secret, but this thread indicates that some of the bloggerati are onto them. Factions are now personality driven. While some romantics continue to regard themselves as “left” or “right”, there are no relevant policy distinctions.
So as yellowvinyl precisely identifies, factional allegiances are now entirely counter-productive. They are no more than devices for pretending that the two best contenders, Tanner and Gillard, might be electoral poison.
However, it’s critical that Labor also picks up on Mark B.’s (and other TA posters’)point – that the leadership predicament (appalling as it is) is less important than the Party’s determining what it stands for, and developing relevant policies so that it can present an alternative vision to the electorate.