A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, December 01, 2006

"New Labor" may mean something different Down Under

In Australia the Labor Party has a leadership ballot on Monday, the second in as many years and 5th in the time Labour in the UK has had one leader.

No new-fangled OMOV or electoral college there - only the 88 ALP MPs get a vote.

It's between incumbent retread veteran leader Kim Beazley (from Western Australia but historically an ally of the powerful New South Wales Right faction) and Queenslander Kevin Rudd, the shadow foreign minister, who is running as "New Labor". Rudd was historically a Beazley ally but has paired up with Julia Gillard from the Victorian Left faction to pull in left votes. The NSW Right has split over the election with former state premier Bob Carr backing Rudd, but current state premier Morris Iemma backing Beazley.

One Labor commentator called the election one between "Right and Righter" (hmm... how unlike any recent infighting here in the northern hemisphere).

The main rightwing unions seem to be sticking with Beazley on the basis that he has the gravitas to take on John Howard whereas Rudd might be taken apart by the coalition in the same way the inexperienced Mark Latham was. Former Latham supporters are said to be behind the Rudd leadership bid.

The latest round of ALP infighting looks mainly to be helping Howard, whoever wins on Monday.

More here and here


Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting development - Rudd and Gillard are moderates from their two respective factions (soft right and soft left), whereas Beazley and current deputy leader Jenny Macklin are from the hard right and hard left respectively. If Rudd and Gillard are successful then it should at least start to end the perception of Labor as so broad a party that it tends towards in-fighting. Latham was the closest the ALP has come to Blairism, but went completely off the rails.

6:14 pm, December 02, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They really are a shambolic lot the ALP, they seem to be forever having leadership challenges and stability seems to be lacking. On Kim Beazeley he already lost two elections, that they went back to a two time loser is beyond me.

Sadly John Howard will win a fifth term down under despite been a pretty oboxious right winger, no one I know in the ALP expect success at the election which is due by the end of next year.

Talking about Australian politics, I think congratulations should be extended to Steve Bracks on winning a third term in Victoria only the second Labour govt to schive this feat, the last being in the thirties.

If only all the state success could not be replicated nationally!

11:24 pm, December 02, 2006

Anonymous Alan Davidson said...

It's not the first time "New Labour" meant old, down under. In 1989, Jim Anderton exited stage left from the NZ LP to form NewLabour. That was basically a one-man band but he's done alright for himself: he's still in coalition with the great Helen Clark.

But this lack of discipline within the Aussie LP is disconcerting. The electorate does not like party in-fighting. I'm afraid that Howard is going to capitalise on these shenanigans.

12:54 pm, December 03, 2006


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