Julia Gillard made one extremely interesting suggestion in the remarks she made yesterday at an Australia Day function when announcing that she would not contest the ALP leadership. Gillard suggested that Beazley should drop his affiliation with the Right faction as a token that he would take advice from all groups within the part and to symbolise his desire for inclusive leadership. The suggestion doesn’t appear to have been accepted wholly, though Beazley says he will occasionally attend Right faction meetings and visit other factions as well.
Peter Fuller argued on another thread that Crean in particular was torn down because his relative independence from the Right was not well received. Crean and Latham both had a leadership base with a fair degree of Left and Centre support.
I think it’s a good idea. Wayne Goss became leader of the Queensland ALP after a period of open factional warfare, and his factional non-affiliation (though he was close to the AWU) was very helpful in ensuring that the disparate elements of caucus could be melded into a cohesive election winning team.
ELSEWHERE: The Devine Miss M says that Gillard’s being single and childless would make her a better leader. miss piss (of best Tassie blog fame!) artfully deconstructs Miranda at piss’n’vinegar.
It’s also important to remember, in the context of the contest, that unanimity is not the same thing as unity. The fact that Gillard made several constructive suggestions – also arguing that “new policy solutions – not timidity” was key (as against the “small target” strategy associated with Beazley) – demonstrates that her and Rudd’s participation was a plus in airing the issues that Beazley must deal with as leader. Beazley will make a full statement on policy and strategy on Friday.
Gillard is right about this:
Our recent history demonstrates that electing a new leader, even in an uncontested ballot, does not guarantee party unity. A new culture – of mutual respect and shared conviction – is the key to party unity. We must all make the effort to heal old wounds, and our colleagues need to be tough on those not prepared to play for the team.