It’s Time!

Recently I published a post suggesting that the performance of the Rudd/Gillard governments in policy terms was actually quite impressive. On the other hand, Julia Gillard’s ability to sell that message has been spectacularly poor, for a variety of reasons some of which I don’t even understand.

Independent MP Tony Windsor made the same point on ABC Lateline last night:

EMMA ALBERICI: Why doesn’t the rest of the community share your perception that this is a good government? …

TONY WINDSOR: Well I think there’s a number of reasons for that. I think some parliamentarians, some commentators and quite a lot of the general public are still viewing this parliament through the prism of a majority parliament. It’s not a majority parliament and we haven’t had many minority governments in our history. So they’re still tending to see it as Labor-versus-Liberal, and they look at the Senate in a slightly different light because they’re used to that being slightly different.

I think the other reason – well there’s two other reasons, I think. Tony Abbott has addressed this parliament with the – sort of the objective to destroy it early on. That hasn’t happened. But that sort of aggressive no to opposition – no to everything that comes up, real opposition-style politics, so he’s been very effective in sort of driving the perception that there’s some sorta chaos going on in the Parliament. I think at the Government level, and this may be partly a reflection of some of the individuals or it might be just their being wary of the hung nature of a parliament, but they haven’t marketed a lot of their products very well. And there’s some very effective long-term policy initiatives in this parliament, more than I’ve seen in any one parliament that I’ve ever been in, whether it be Gonski, NDIS, the Murray-Darling, the National Broadband Network, some of the renewable energy/carbon pricing arrangements – very successful, but long term in their nature. The beneficiaries of a lot of these programs aren’t going to be by September 14; they’re going to be probably in two, five, 10, 20, 50 years’ time. And I think that’s shown an effective parliament, even though the Government may not have been able to market some of those things very effectively.

If you believe (as I certainly do) that most if not all of the listed reforms are important long-term achievements in the national interest, and that some of them will certainly be unwound by an Abbott government if it gets the chance, then what should you do?

My answer, whether you are a voter or a federal Labor politician, is that you install Kevin Rudd as leader ASAP. Even if you know that he is an unbearably nasty, narcissistic, micro-managing  turd. Even if you know that he is a treacherous rat who sabotaged Labor’s chances at the 2010 election as a payback for Gillard’s treachery towards him.  Even if you believe (as I do) that Julia Gillard is a decent and (in many ways) capable woman who has been unfairly maligned, often in a grossly sexist way.

It is almost unarguable that only Rudd gives the ALP a fighting chance of saving Labor’s policy legacy  for future generations of Australians  by preventing the Coalition from gaining an effective Senate majority:

If current polling continues, and Mr Abbott wins a majority in the House of Representatives, then to repeal the carbon tax he would need 39 votes in the Senate. Currently the Coalition controls 34 out of the 76 seats.

The Coalition will win another seat in Tasmania and is likely to claim Greens’ Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s South Australian seat, Mr Green said. That takes them to 36 votes – three shy of the majority needed to repeal the tax.

While the Coalition is unlikely to win any more Senate seats, it is likely the three extra seats it needs will be held by conservatives who oppose the carbon tax. Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan said the Coalition can count on his vote against it. That leaves only two more votes.

”The key benefit of minor right-wing parties being elected to the Senate is it gives the new Coalition government a negotiation path for legislation through the Senate that doesn’t involve talking to the Greens or Labor,” Mr Green said.

To get his way, Mr Abbott needs minor right-wing parties to swap preferences, and in several states he needs the left-wing vote to fall to historically low levels.
To control an extra Senate seat in Western Australia, Queensland or NSW, the combined first preference vote for Labor and the Greens would need to fall below 43 per cent.

Such plunges in the progressive vote almost never happen but Mr Green says it is likely in Western Australia and Queensland.

I’m certainly not suggesting that Rudd would be likely to sustain the 50% two-party preferred result suggested by this week’s Nielsen poll. However I am suggesting that he would almost certainly buttress the ALP’s 2PP vote and ensure that it does not fall below the critical 43% level where the Coalition gains effective control of the Senate.  It’s time to elect a treacherous turd as Labor leader!

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Phil
Phil
8 years ago

I admire your sentiment in trying to protect/conserve the legacy of this government; however I think that the Australian public deserve the shit that an Abbott government will unleash upon them.

Alan
Alan
8 years ago

It’s time to elect a treacherous turd as Labor leader!

Isn’t that what was tried in 2010?

Alan
Alan
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Parish

The trouble is that the same rule must apply to both sides or to neither.

Deputy prime ministers who leak and background against their own leader can hardly decide later that leaking and backgrounding is beyond the pale. Ditto prime ministers who leak and background against their own foreign minister. What was incontestably beyond the pale is the drivel that spewed from a small group of ministers about disloyalty and psychopathy.

The pit that gapes beneath this government was this government’s own doing and an effective leader would have been able to deal with internal ructions.

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
8 years ago

I sincerely hope I have got this wrong ; are you saying that you would prefer ” an unbearably nasty, narcissistic, micro-managing turd. ” as potential leader of the country, to losing power??

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Parish

tend to agree … control of the senate and the hubris it induced was Howards down fall. Mind hopefully the ‘hunters and fishers’ wont be too crucial to getting things though, either

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
8 years ago

PS
It is pretty obvious that the coalition has read the deep mood of the electorate as ‘no more sudden half baked surprises’ and ‘do propertwo way consultation…. (not focus groups)’ the idea that it all will be wound back into a leveled city is paranoid.

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Parish

Carbon and minerals taxes are not working , the Gonski has turned into a bidding war not a better funding scheme and i have my doubts that any sort of working NBN is achievable , going of the track record to date.

nottrampis
8 years ago

Ken,

A good article but inaccurate in one aspect.

The first dishonest treacherous turd so to speak was the idiot who dumped on Kevin Rudd in an attempt to portray Julia Gillard in a better light.

Without that inspired piece of strategic genius originating from the NSW Right we would have heard nothing from the Rudd camp!

As I have written over at my place the ALP are going to be thrashed for reasons no-one but I have actually written about!

Definitely in Around the Traps!!

john r walker
john r walker(@annesanders)
8 years ago

Ken Dare I suggest that the idea that K Rudd as opposition leader would reliably fight to protect anything that is seen as a ‘Gillard’ legacy is , insane?

derrida derider
derrida derider
8 years ago

install Kevin Rudd as leader ASAP. Even if you know that he is an unbearably nasty, narcissistic, micro-managing turd. Even if you know that he is a treacherous rat …

Think it through, Ken – a good slab of the electorate actually know he’s all that and if he becomes leader they will soon be reminded of it (not least by all the deposed Ministry). True, the slab of the electorate that have never accepted Gillard as legitimate PM is larger, but the point is that Rudd would be most unlikely to win in September anyway and then you’d be stuck with a deeply divided Opposition. You couldn’t axe him a second time without people thinkig that you, not he, is the problem.

Whereas if Labor loses under Gillard then Shorten would be leader and Rudd would be extremely isolated (he’d probably resign parliament soon enough). You’d then have your best chance of a small but united and effective Opposition with some shot at the next election.

Of course if Rudd did pull off a miracle win his position would initially appear unassailable – but given his distinctive management style it would only be a short time before he found people resigning around him (have you read “Exit, Voice and Loyalty”, BTW?) and before his government was at least as unpopular as the Gillard one. He appears to have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.

nottrampis
8 years ago

as promised!