Singing from the Same Songsheet…

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has echoed NSW Premier Bob Carr:

“I think Kevin has enormous ability and I think one day there’s a very strong possibility that he will be prime minister of this country,” Mr Beattie told reporters. He said what Labor needed most was a healer and that healer was Kim Beazley. “I just think at this time the party needs to be brought together and I think that Kim is the best person to do that and I’ll be working hard to help make him prime minister at the next election.”

There is no doubt that Rudd is under immense pressure not to contest the Labor Leadership. As I previously observed, both Premiers and faction leaders such as Big Bill Ludwig of the Queensland AWU have been trying to influence MPs. At the same time, fluidity within the caucus itself continues to grow, with support for Beazley crossing factional lines, and the Left (and to a lesser degree the Right) both split.

It will be very interesting to see which way he decides today. There’s a fair bit at stake for Rudd. The interventions from Carr and Beattie may well be code for “wait your turn”. Implicit in this is probably “if you don’t, you’re gone”. While Rudd would not suffer the same fate as Craig Emerson for going against the Queensland AWU line (and Emerson’s reasons for supporting Beazley have been rather pathetic in the true sense of the word), future preferment for Rudd is dependent on both the National Right in caucus and the will of Beazley if he becomes leader. It’s significant also to note that Beattie and Rudd are members of the same Queensland Right faction – Labor Unity.

UPDATE: 3pm AEST. Ruddy’s about to make his announcement. My guess is that he won’t run but Gilly will. We’ll know soon.

FURTHER UPDATE: As Ron advises in comments, Rudd is not running. That’s a pity. I can understand why he might have made this decision (not time, can’t win, pressure) but he will be accused of having squibbed it twice and that won’t be a good look if the Beazer crashes and burns. What were those comments PJK made about picking your time? The Labor Party, and the Australian public, would both benefit from a contest, at the very least so that Beazley has to articulate the reasons for his return apart from prolix platitudes. Let’s hope Gilly runs.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I agree with these comments by Rudd:

“We are the ALP, we are the alternative government of Australia, and frankly, right now, we are in a God-awful shambles,” he said.

“We need to patch this up straight away in order to lift ourselves out of the muck and become a viable alternative government for this country.

“This country deserves better than we are currently delivering.”

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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flute
2021 years ago

Beattie (and possibly Carr) want the chance themselves. I’d be very cycnical of anything that lot say about the Federal leadership.

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Carr’s got no hope at the moment, Flutey, and I really don’t think Beattie wants to move to Canberra.

Ron
Ron
2021 years ago

Rudd has announced that he isn’t going to stand.

As I read the story the name Sleazy Beazley popped into my head and just won’t go away.

Howard will be hitting the Kirribilli cellar tonight to celebrate. He may actually end up beating Menzies’ record thanks to a gutless ALP.

Polly
Polly
2021 years ago

For me it was sleazley Beazley?
I hope Gilly runs so he is not unopposed.

Peter Kemp
Peter Kemp
2021 years ago

Ron, as I read the news what popped into my mind was Danny de Vito and his condescending way of saying ”spineless wimp”.

Am hoping Gilly stands but now we’ll never know what the split between Ruddy and Gilly would have gone.

Meantime, Chaucer’s line on fat people:
”Oh womb, oh belly, oh stynking cod
Fulfilled of dung and corrupcion”

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“Sleazey?’ “Full of dung and corruption?” “Stinking fat people?” Sounds more like Paul and Carl’s daily diatribe than the considered reflections of the socially progressive……..if you can point to any significant difference between the strategic and foreign affairs perspectives of Beazley and Rudd I’d be happy for folk to point them out.

I preferred Gillard but I’m old enough to have worked out both that this was a highly unlikely outcome and also, that who I think might be an ideal leader of the ALP might have zero to do with enhanced ALP electability. Labor could spend the next 10 years identifying brilliant new leaders – from opposition. Let’s not underestimate the fact that many in the caucus (at least those not preoccupied with backstabbing, getting even and vengeful vendettas as a way of life generally ) are probably pretty much over leadership contests and brilliant, risky new star turns —- not to mention the punters at large.

For much of the last 3 years it’s been pretty much a soap opera of spills, contests and deepening rumours of same. I think there’s a desperate need for the sort of stability that will allow the party to consolidate and move forward. Beazley is only guaranteed till the next election – polls willing. After that, the election will pretty much determine what happens next.

In the meantime, he’s probably the closest thing we’ve got to a federal pollie that everyone likes – he’s almost an Australian icon – and he has a resonance in middle Australia that Rudd and Gillard don’t at this stage. It’s 3 years – I hope they maximise the opportunity and get on with it.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

As is often the case, I agree completely with Geoff. I’m only just back on deck blogging-wise, and haven’t yet raised the enthusiasm to post anything about the ALP leadership or anything else.

Gillard seems by far the outstanding candidate of the three touted contenders from where I’m sitting, but has Buckley’s chance given her factional affiliation and lack of experience. Rudd is a robotic, anally-retentive policy wonk with all the charisma of Bill Gates on Valium and, as Geoff observes, is pretty much indistinguishable from Beazley anyway, at least on international affairs.

Beazley is at least likeable and very experienced, albeit a two-time loser. You never know, karma might yet catch up with Howard, or he might retire and hand over to Costello. Still, these are depressing times for Labor supporters, and even non-aligned centrists like me (inserted in the hope of a Pavlovian response from Chris Sheil).

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Geoff, I’m not at all confident that the “soap opera of spills, contests and deepening rumours of same” will cease with Beazley’s election. The Premiers, union heavies, backgrounding Beazer supporters, bitter Crean and Creanites, all suggest that the promised land of unity will be easier invoked than achieved.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“Geoff, I’m not at all confident that the “soap opera of spills, contests and deepening rumours of same” will cease with Beazley’s election.”

Frankly, nor am I Mark. And the polls – many, many of them – are yet to come in …..

Peter Kemp
Peter Kemp
2021 years ago

Ken, I agree with ”anally retentive policy wonk” and Gilly lacks experience, but Bomber had the chance to take the fight up to Howard in 2001 and fluffed it.

My belief is that it is crucial to fight boots and all with Johnny. Gilly and Ruddy seem to have more ”ticker” in this regard. Latho had it but was too erratic and unilateral perhaps. Having the safe pair of hands argument is pursuasive but is also indicative of the weakness of the ALP in general. The liberals probably thought Billy Sneddon was a safe pair of hands as well in 1972.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2021 years ago

“The liberals probably thought Billy Sneddon was a safe pair of hands as well in 1972.”

True Peter. And they also thought Downer would be an exciting, fresh and new young party leader.

Mark Bahnisch
2021 years ago

Actually, it’s interesting to go back and read what Paul Kelly wrote at the time about how Downer had solved all the Libs’ problems – young but experienced, “born in the Liberal Party”, understanding that economic rationalism needed to be tempered with pragmatism, deeply committed to family values, able to surmount the deep divisions within the Liberal Party etc etc.

saint
saint
2021 years ago

Funny, when the Downer-Costello ticket was announced, we plebs thought it was a smart move by Costello to get rid of Downer by letting him fall on his sword. Mind you it backfired on Costello as well in one way.

trackback
2021 years ago

meanwhile back in the labor camp

The Ruddmeister has dropped out of the race for the Labor Party leadership.