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The Forum > Article Comments > A caucus of Carmens? > Comments

A caucus of Carmens? : Comments

By Jeremy Gilling, John Muscat and Rolly Smallacombe, published 18/5/2006

Some thoughts on Laborís 'insoluble' problem.

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"whether Labor wins or not"? I think you can safely assume a loss in 2007, so that your proposals have current relevance.

A "caucus of Carmens" would soon lead to a carcass of the ALP. As would a barrowload of Beazleys or a gizzardful of Gillards. A leatherworks of Tanners or a roomful of Rudds might maintain a flicker of life, but more is needed for government.

I hope someone in the ALP is listening, a vibrant and viable opposition is vital for a healthy democracy.
Posted by Faustino, Thursday, 18 May 2006 11:12:16 AM
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I think this arguement is flawed and misses the point entirely as the definitions of "blue collar", "routine workers", "white collar", "union dominance", the masonic "rank and file", and this is a real good one: the evil "actitivist".

These days, where multi skills are more common, workers can wear blue collars and white collars in the same shift. I mean, c'mon, catch up with the times. What is a routine worker now? Most are forced into the casual workforce. Is that a routine? Of course not. The workforce has changed, but they are still workers, and some miss being represented by unions so that their workplace can actually be functional and safe.

Then there is the old mysterious "rank and file" that non ALP people see as something between the mafia and the X-Files. This is all mythology. I'm not an ALP person, but I understand the need for loyalty in a party, with not rats. Particularly in a tough call these days for workers.

And what is wrong with the "blue collars with knowledge"? Or do they have white collars in the office? I mean, who gives a toss? Should they be shot in James Bond style: because "they know too much". P-lease!

Then the real stinker, the evil "activists". Yes, Mr Mc Carthy, they might be North Korean spies. Better look under your bed before you go to therapy for paranoia.

If the ALP is learning from the Greens to consult with the Grass roots, then thank God they are learning, adapting, and moving along with common people. They need consultation with everyone under-paid, exploited, or in poverty. They want their lives back for their partners, families, and some kind of a vision that is for all of us in the future. I think the ALP can make it, as we approach the recession. But those old categories really suck because they are outdated.
Posted by saintfletcher, Thursday, 18 May 2006 12:59:25 PM
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It must be remembered that all states have Labor in power therefore we have the examples under our noses at all times. It doesn't take much brain to predict how they would run Federal government and I cannot see the present bunch being entrusted to run our country some time soon.
In a state where ambulances are continually on by pass, patients are stacked up on trolleys in passageways waiting for a scarce bed, we have the local Labor trying to find the best place to spend millions on stadiums and convention centres.
Labor is strictly amateur at best, disgraceful at worst. I would not trust them to run a chook raffle.
They are a mob of Carmens.
Posted by mickijo, Thursday, 18 May 2006 3:38:56 PM
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Cheers this is interesting. I think my articles are harder edged and still pertinent - so read:

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=159

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=3696

With primaries - you simply need at least 5,000 participating to ensure the Left doesn't win. That's the challenge.

Also the great advantage and disadvantage is the potential variety of candidates. Managed well it would be very good - much like the ability of Labor in Britain to have New Labour as well as Old. In many ways the strict discipline of the caucus is a vote loser in places like Queensland where an odd maverick counts for an extra 10% in the ballot box.

I think primaries are the method to engender a real vital link with the community.
Posted by Corin McCarthy, Thursday, 18 May 2006 7:37:53 PM
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Its not that easy with primaries. No billion dollar spin doctors, informercial campaigns, or plugs from Hillsong, 2UE, token celebrities or popular puppets, will convince middle Australia when they have rising interest rates, petrol price rises: out of control, loss of employment, rises in their costs of living. lower incomes and no infrastructure to help them. It is starting to look like a recesion and the same thing is happening in the US.

The military has no spirit of ANZAC when they mix their body bags like garbage. How un-Australian is that? The US count their bodies, and the Vietnam war syndrome haunts them yet again. At the end of the year, the writing is on the wall. George W Bush will mess his pants when he sees the retribution from his own people, at the congressional elections. Just like Blair did. The shockwaves will resonate down under.

Middle Australia will soon to get hurt so hard with a rude shock: no amount of voodoo media will temper their revenge at the ballot box. The swing against Blair's arrogance in the UK is revenge against a nonesense war, not some new belief in conservatism. They simply don't believe a word he says. The same with all members in the "coaltion of the willing", Australia included.

As for blaming the states for hospitals, it is no doubt that the states find diffuculty funding hospitals, schools, and transport when the Federal Government is deliberately starving them to death. The best form of attack is to starve them out.

Real consultation will find that ordinary people need these services. They want to know: "where is the money for the Hospitals?". Those with sincerity in the way this is done, with the party representatives really listening, will earn respect. Not a variety of "nice" people who make the place look "nice", but do nothing for ordinary people.
Posted by saintfletcher, Thursday, 18 May 2006 10:06:35 PM
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SaintFlatcher - you've missed the point.

Australia is broad, and its politics is difficult to map: it certainly cannot be won by a single message - though it is likely that a dominant message will be appropriate.

Primaries engender pluralism at their best.

I would consider that the Liberal/National coalition has a far wider message,and is certainly more plural than Labor. I mean Labor has no policy breadth across its MP's - except for "I like Kim" or "I hate kim": big deal. Politics is bigger than the leader.

People with a heavily Socialist viewpoint in Australia will be electoral death for the ALP for a long while: you'd better get used to that. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be some in the ALP caucus - say for seats like Sydney and Grayndler - but not for Parramatta or Lindsay or Makin etc etc.

Primaries would almost certainly ensure that variety and plural outcome. Managing it would be the interesting part.
Posted by Corin McCarthy, Thursday, 18 May 2006 10:42:08 PM
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