On the 7.30 Report, Dr Peter Botsman called for a rank and file election for Labor Leader. His criticism of Beazley for lack of party reform was also interesting. Crean tried to some extent, Beazley did not. The fact that Beazley is the candidate of AWU leaders Bill Ludwig and Bill Shorten, and of the NSW and Queensland Right machines is dispiriting in this context. I made some detailed points about the need for Labor to reinvigorate its structures and develop a participatory culture in this earlier post, and I think this is an important task for the new ALP leadership.
As to direct election of the leader, both the Tories and New Labour in Britain now have this system. The disadvantage is that it’s very difficult to remove a non-performing leader. As the Australian Democrats could no doubt attest, with Natasha Stott-Despoja’s leadership in mind, if the Leader elected by the party membership lacks support in the Parliamentary Party then big problems occur. Still, it’s worth thinking about.