Sunday, December 03, 2006

Labor elects a new leader Monday?

The contest between Kim Beazley and Kevin Rudd tomorrow might determine who will be Australia’s next Prime Minister but my guess is that it won’t.

I think the Coalition will retain power federally in 2007 given the advantages of incumbency, the strong economy, the likelihood of a winding back of our tiny Iraq commitment and just the fact of a strong Howard team. Moreover, that there is a fight now helps the Coalition – Labor will have real problems if Beazley narrowly retains his position.

I think that the Coalition team would outperform any Labor team but I have long had much respect for Kim Beazley. I have to admit too that Kevin Rudd, in his chip-monkish way, has more ideas than most Federal politicians. Some see the contest as going Rudd’s way because incumbency, in this situation, is seen as a disadvantage. The Age this morning plugs Rudd on its opening page and in its editorial.

I think Julia Gillard would be an improvement over the slothful Jenny Macklin – I have a parochial interest as Macklin is my local member. Her career has progressed from being an uninspired civil servant to an idea-free hack for the Labor Left. Gillard however impresses.

If Rudd wins the contest the Labor Party will move further to the right which suits me. Losing the election would be a better outcome for Australia if it forces the ALP to take seriously its faction-driven internal problems which derive from its refusal to place the trade union base of the party in its proper, minor role.

We need two social democratic parties competing for votes federally on the basis of who can best manage our mixed economy. Who can best provide a prosperous growing economy while also accounting for the needs of disadvantaged and for the environment? The trade union movement is a dinosaur that should not be exerting a dominant influence on one side of the policy debates that occur.

7 comments:

whyisitso said...

Not far enough to the right to become actually right of centre though Harry, given his anti-market, anti-Hayek speech recently to the CIS. Heaven help us if this is called right-wing. Sounds more like a return to Gough to me.

hc said...

whyisitso, I'll think about that. Rudd does have a much more enlightened attitude towards nuclear fuels - but to be fair so do some on the Neanderthal left.

Being anti-Hayek does not make you left wing.

whyisitso said...

It depends on how you define right-wing I suppose, Harry. For example Alan Jones is very much anti free-market but he's considered very right-wing up here in Sydney. In my view anyone as anti-market as Jones is statist and therefore left-wing. Hitler is usually defined as extreme right. I'm not alone (but certainly in a very small minority) in considering his attitude on the State versus the individual makes him a leftist.

Bring Back CL's blog said...

Whyisitso,

No mate Hitler was a rightist all right. A statist in fact.
He let the capitalists do what they wanted as long it fitted in with his plans.

He was no market man.

Ruddy is. I suspect all he was doing was in his 'anti-hayekian' speech was broadening his image.

Let's face it how many journalists would even know who Hayek was.

rabee said...

I bet you a good wine that come next election if Rudd
is still leader, then Labor will win. When that happens we will be in for a few good years (that are not much different from the good few years we've just had, except we'll all turn PC and adopt feel good rhetoric)

hc said...

Rabee, I thought you were much too committed to the left to be that cynical Rabee - but it sounds plausible.

rabee said...

Harry,

"Good feel" rhetoric is very important to me. So is PC language. I am willing to change my vote for that, given fixed the candidate's policies. I think that Howard's rhetoric is simply awful, it offends me.