Be Prepared

ALP Caucus members are reported to be having meetings to work out who the next leader should be. Latho might also be better advised to pick his mates for their communication skills next time:

Labor frontbencher and a close supporter of Mr Latham, Joel Fitzgibbon, said while he believed Mr Latham retained the support of most of his caucus colleagues, talks about a replacement were under way.

“Well there’s talk of a few meetings happening around the place,” he told the Nine Network.

“There’ll always be those who will seek to take opportunity with the difficulties being experienced by others. But no doubt there’s another group who feel that you’ve got to be ready, there’s got to be a contingency plan. They’ve obviously still got some doubt about Mark’s long-term health. And I suppose it’s responsible to start talking about who would be next in the event that Mark wasn’t able to continue on.”

So, if Latho’s no. 1 supporter says it’s “responsible” to have a “contingency plan”, is there anyone left who believes that Latho’s leadership will survive?

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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David Tiley
2022 years ago

I think the troppo mob is caucusing for Julia, with elocution lessons. Mind you, I reckon Johnny Howard’s voice grates too, but I’m from Adelaide.

Geoff  Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I don’t think that there’s anything “wrong” with Julia’s voice. She simply has a broad Australian accent. It’s interesting how possession of same can be seen as a potential political liability. We never talk about it but I guess there’s an assumption that a tertiary education is supposed to take the edges off. PJK famously has Aussie inflection (he always puts me in mind of a wharfie talking round his rolly) but then Latham and Howard do too and they went to Uni. John Anderson has squattocracy vowels, so does Downer, with a bit of English public school chucked in and Kevin Rudd speaks in afternoon Embassy reception English – when he spoke of “a bloke being crook” the other day it sounded like a North Shore NIDA grad attempting a walk-on role audition in the “Summer of the Seventeeth Doll.”

Are we holding Julia to a different standard?

Zoe
Zoe
2022 years ago

TISM said it best. What are ya? Yob or wanker?
Better a smart yob than a dumb wanker.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

“She simply has a broad Australian accent”

Not to mention Hawkey!

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

if these are the same political geniuses who organised Bomber previous campaign against Crean then I wouldn’t be too optimistic.
They couldn’t organise a ‘pi—up in a brewery’!

The old ALP I knew at least had people who could organise a leadership coup properly.

C.L.
2022 years ago

Beazer/Rudd should be the ticket.

Keep Julia in reserve because it’s too early in the term to have her prospects destroyed too. That’s assuming she’s likely to be as effective as the Troppo Faction presumes. (I’m open on that question). Give her Treasury for now. Swan should shadow Abbott.

I might be wrong but I don’t think Latham will resign. He sees obstacles as milestones in his own narrative of greatness and that’s probaby what he’s thinking now with respect to his illness.

Beazley is no bigger loser inherently than Howard was before his astonishing ascendancy. And let’s face it, if Bomber really wanted out he wouldn’t have hung around as a backbencher.

He wants the top job.

That’s my take on things, FWIW. Don’t listen to Homer – a man whose idea of musical greatness is Leif Garrett shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

Antonio
Antonio
2022 years ago

As Mark can I’m sure attest, at the end of the day, all theorising aside, it’s going to come down to factionalism. A seismic shift would have to occur for a member of the Left (Gillard, Macklin, Tanner) to win the ALP leadership. The extremely powerful NSW Right will never allow it and let’s face it, they have the numbers in the National Right.

So who else do we have left?

Rudd: Qld Old Guard Peter Beattie faction. The hardline Qld AWU won’t like it but the old Guard does caucus with the national Right. Personally as a Liberal, I hope Rudd does win. This guy is SO out of touch with the average ALP member let alone the wider Australian society that he would completely crash and burn.

Swan: QLD AWU Right. Mark, please correct me if I’m wrong but with his history with the dodgy Birminghams and Barbagallos in the Qld ALP AWU, he would be a walking shitsheet. But respect where it’s due, he is probably the most “in-touch” member of the front bench and a formidable strategist. I think Howard will still cream him.

McMullin: Unaligned Centre-Left. Will be a compromise candidate if anything. Very skilled member but chronically under-utilised in the ALP. Let’s face it though, he looks too much like Howard!

Stephen Smith: WA Right. I can see it now – Basil Brush for PM! He also has a pile of factional skeletons in his closet and I’m not sure the Left would be happy with him. Besides he lacks the Sisters of Mercy’s Vision Thing.

Beazley: A statesman but a has been. Don’t forget he also has major health concerns looming in the background.

In summary, Tanner would be the best candidate for the ALP if these things were determined by merit. Rudd would be the best candidate for the Liberal party.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Antonio, I don’t know that Swan was too closely aligned with the Berminghams and Barbagallos. Different sub-factions of the AWU at the time. Swan wasn’t close to the Buranda Soviet. Lee btw I think was the fall guy for the whole Sheperdson Inquiry thing – Lee is a very strange man but quite likeable in an odd way.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

ps – not a bad assessment though. I’ve never met Ruddy but Swan’s a nice bloke – bought me a carton of xxxx once when I was an impecunious student :)

Antonio
Antonio
2022 years ago

Point taken about the Shepherdson inquiry, Mark.

What I was thinking of was old Swanny’s brown paper bag Democrat preference deal fiasco. See here for details and links. http://www.crikey.com.au/media/2003/04/23-sommerfeld.html

On a totally tangential point, it would be really interesting at some point to read your reflections on your time with the infamous Qld AWU back in the Barbagallo and John Cherry days tracing your early involvement with and later rejection of the Qld AWU machine.

Btw, when I was Secretary of the UQ Union in 2003, we were approached by the writers of Secret Life of Us for materials relating to the Dirk Moses and Victoria Brazil 4ZZZ saga. Apparently a mini series about the last gasps of the UQ Labor Right is in the works…

Intriguing viewing I’m sure.

Antonio
Antonio
2022 years ago

On the topic of Queenslanders with Shephardson links, this came through today to Crikey (crikey.com.au) subscribers:

2. Cruelling Kruddy or spoiling Swan?

Political correspondent Christian Kerr writes:

This, dear subscribers, is the Bollinger Grande Ann

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Antonio, I think it’s a miniseries about 4zzz – there’s something about it in Andrew Stafford’s book Pig City as I recall – which I wrote about in my first Johburg post –

http://troppoarmadillo.ubersportingpundit.com/archives/007474.html

So I guess the dying days of the UQ Labor right are only tangentially covered :)

It would be interesting to revisit those days – the whole period at UQ from 88 through 93 was very odd. Nobody could believe at the time that 3000 students would be attending protests in the Main Refec, that the Union buildings would be occupied for weeks on end. In a sense, it may have been a bit of energy surging up from the end of the Joh period. I was involved with zzz from 85 onwards – and there’s lots of links and lots of interesting connections.

My involvement in the AWU was really a result of its being the group in control of the ALP Club when I went to Uni in 86. The AWU was then presenting itself as being strongly pro-Hawke and Keating and also dedicated to revitalising the Qld ALP and supporting Goss. It’s important to remember how hopeless the Old Guard Labor Unity mob were and how tight their grip on the ALP was til the AWU/Socialist Left alliance in 87 began to turn things around. People like Swan in particular were also opposed to economic rationalism. It was a reasonably broad church before Ludwig took over when Hodder became an Industrial Commissioner. A lot of Barbagallo’s activity has to be seen in that context. There were also a fair few charismatic figures around – Lucas for one, and Dave Barbagallo was always larger than life in every respect. My falling out with the AWU in 88 was partly political as I opposed some of the retrogressive stuff in the Student Union – ie the moves against zzz and the Women’s area – and I was in sympathy with the Murri people’s stand on land rights which caused huge conniptions in the union that year – and partly personal/political (I’m reluctant to talk about that aspect).

The people I’m still close to who were associated with the AWU back then are largely Buranda Soviet alumni or associates. The Buranda Soviet btw was the Buranda Branch of the ALP (most of whom lived in Fanny St, Annerley) and largely people who’d moved from the CPA with Lee Bermingham to the AWU earlier in the 80s. For a while, I lived in Fanny St as well. Also a few comrades from my time in NUS from BCAE and Griffith. Very few of these people are involved in the ALP now. I always found the CPA-AWU drift odd, but I think I understand it now. I also briefly went out with a woman who was in the CPA.

What I’d love to do actually is write some fiction about all this. As I was saying with regard to Andrew McGahan, I think that’s the best way to capture the feeling of how strange things were in Brisbane politics back then. But first I have to finish that damned PhD!

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

ps – I’d completely forgotten about Swanny, the Demos and the brown paper bag.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

on Crikey, as I said, there were some very different groupings in the AWU. And people in Queensland Labor have always had long memories and politics isn’t played with kid gloves here in the Deep North.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Oh, I should also say that I believe Cherry was innocent of any intent to do anything wrong in the matter brought before the Sheperdson Inquiry. He’s a nice bloke and a friend of mine.

Antonio
Antonio
2022 years ago

Yeah it sounds like a very bizarre time that many now in the ALP would probably rather forget. I’m sure Paul Tully would like to forget running as president on a Liberal team with Barry Atkins against the ALP Club. Equally, in 1986 with the UQ ALP Club voting with the Right on council to sack Howard Stringer for stealing Joh’s UQ Voluntary Student Union plans from the Vice Chancellor’s desk.

Bizarrely enough, Betty Wernham (longstanding Union executive secretary) always told me that (young Nat) Victoria Brazil was the brightest and nicest executive member she ever worked for. Oh and she never forgave you for throwing the microphone around at council meetings!

These days the AWU on campus are a shadow of their former selves with the descendents of Bevis and other Old Guarders dominating the ALP Club. I’m beginning to think that you can predict the factional future of the ALP in a particular state 5-10 years ahead by watching what happens to the ALP clubs on the sandstone campuses in that particular state. The pragmatic Labor Left (NOLS) have mostly held the UQ Union in a vice grip for the last few years – a sign of things to come for the Qld ALP? (Anna Bligh as premier perhaps????)

Milton Dick never did win a campaign at UQ did he? Some things never change… :P

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Interestingly, we in our NUS days were part of NOLS not Labor Unity despite the AWU thing – hence how I got to know people like Evan Thornley and Tracy Ellery (who’ve certainly gone on to much bigger things), Kate Deverall and Julia Gillard.

“Equally, in 1986 with the UQ ALP Club voting with the Right on council to sack Howard Stringer for stealing Joh’s UQ Voluntary Student Union plans from the Vice Chancellor’s desk.”

I was there – they used to put on a fine spread of prawns in the old E.G. Whitlam room for the Council meetings. I can remember Jillann Farmer (the President) “explaining” the decision to students via megaphone in the Main Refec the next day to general indifference.

“Bizarrely enough, Betty Wernham (longstanding Union executive secretary) always told me that (young Nat) Victoria Brazil was the brightest and nicest executive member she ever worked for. Oh and she never forgave you for throwing the microphone around at council meetings!”

But I’m sure she’d concede I was a very dignified Chair of Council in 1990! I always liked Victoria – I don’t think she knew what she was getting into – invited her to my 21st – she didn’t stay for the skinnydipping in the Uni pool though.

Re – Betty. It was good to catch up with people like her and Dawn and Lesley at the opening of the Rod Innes Room last year. I’ll have to bestir myself and get in touch about the mooted reunion for all past Exec members. It should happen! I know where to track a few down – in a typical manifestation of the Brisvegas half a degree of separation thing, Michael Caldwell (Treasurer, 94) lives in the same apartment block as I do in New Farm.

“(Anna Bligh as premier perhaps????)”

Don’t write off my mate Mr Lucas!

Well enough nostalgia, I’m off to sleep!

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Bomber will only stand if there is NO other candidate.
That will not happen.
for the only time in mmy life I agree with Warren Snowdon. There is no looking for votes yet.

CL is president of the ABBA and Neil Diamond fan clubs!
FXH is Vice President

Jillann Farmer
Jillann Farmer
2022 years ago

Actually, Mark, you seem to be starting to suffer dementia already, as your recollections are quite wrong. The document that howie stole was not Joh’s VSU plan, but a document that the DDVC was preparing to rebut, which had it gone public, would have been ineffective. It didn’t, so it wasn’t, and the move for VSU didn’t go ahead…until now.
BTW – there were no prawns at council meetings – to my recollection no catering at all, but definitely no prawns, of that I am certain, because I am violently allergic to them. next time, try to be truthful. You never know who is lurking!
cheers
Jillann

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Jillann, it was a very long time ago! I definitely remember going to a meeting or function in the old E.G. Whitlam Room that had something to do with the Union – Rob Allen and Bevan Lisle dragged me along and there were prawns! Perhaps it wasn’t a Council meeting. I’m certainly not intending to be untruthful, but reminiscing about things that happened 19 years ago sometimes misses the mark slightly!

And it wasn’t I who characterised the document Howard allegedly stole but Antonio.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

While I’m clawing CL’s eyes out elsewhere about another issue (because I’m right and he’s wrong) I’d second his take above about Jules, the Beazer, and Swan stalking Abbott.

Though I’d give Jules a bit more time in the health portfolio to refine a 21st century Medicare plan that won’t backfire and haunt her later on. (And I think her accent’s quite sexy. Nothing like a an earthy Aussie chick talkin’ dirty.)

And anyone who writes any pollie off now should remember what we all said about Howard 15 years ago.