As a number of commenters have already advised Troppo readers, Mark Latham has resigned as Labor Leader and as Member for Werriwa. At some point I might do a retrospective on Latho’s time in office, but at this stage I just want to wish him well, hope that he recovers his health, and thank him for an interesting year or so in Opposition.
I’m in the Uni library at the moment on the hunt for journal articles for my thesis, so I don’t have time for anything other than a quick post. My suspicion is that the party machine and elements of the Right faction will try to produce a consensus outcome – back to the Beazer. We’ve heard a bit over the past week or so about a previous Lazarus with a triple bypass. I think that this would be a mistake if Labor wants to have any chance of winning next time, though we have to remember that the contest might be Beazley v. Costello or Beazley v. Abbott if Howard doesn’t stick around for the full term. In favour of Beazley is that he’s a known quantity and that he did well in maintaining unity after the 96 defest. The arguments against are basically that he’s a failed leader electorally, has displayed few signs of policy innovation, and for some, his performance on the Tampa.
I think Labor needs to move on. My preferred leader is Gillard, but I’d be happy with Rudd. Smith might prove a wildcard and better than many anticipate. Swan’s probably best utilised where he is, and Tanner would be interesting.
UPDATE: Beazley’s in the race, Swan’s not.
FURTHER UPDATE: Gilly’s coming back from Vietnam, Ruddy says it’s more important for him to be in Aceh for the time being. Neither is saying if they’ll stand at this stage. Smith and Tanner haven’t been heard from yet. I’d say the weights are on to ensure a Beazley coronation by acclamation.
ELSEWHERE: The Currency Lad has a good roundup of blogosphere opinion. I agree with Rob’s initial assessment that Rudd probably won’t run – allowing Beazley to be elected unanimously. Since his colleagues with whom he’ll be consulting are likely to be the same colleagues that support the Beazer, I predict he won’t contest. Beattie’s endorsement of Beazley last night shows that Rudd’s own faction – Labor Unity – agrees with the Queensland AWU on this. A unanimous election would also mean that there is unlikely to be a vacancy in the Deputy’s chair. It all depends though on what the Creanites and Latho supporters do. It would make sense for everyone to support Beazer – he’s clearly an interim leader, no matter what noises he’s now making, and it leaves the growing field time to build a profile and position themselves for a later run.
I’d also recommend people read Andrew Bartlett’s interesting reflections on Latho.
Rob Corr has put up another post where he endorses Gilly. So do I, and I broadly agree with Rob’s analysis.