Where to now for Labor?

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog started the topic in Friday, 24 May 2019 at 5:13pm

A healthy democracy needs a vibrant opposition. What would YOU do if you were Labor leader?

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Friday, 24 May 2019 at 5:16pm

Admit franking credits was a balls up, walk away from electric car target, pass the coalitions $1000 tax handout, making their projected surplus even harder, BUT.................... Stick to your guns on Adani.
Make it the franklin of the 2020s

Sheepdog

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 24 May 2019 at 5:22pm

A great question, for which I have no suggestions. The political discourse is in disarray. 

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Friday, 24 May 2019 at 7:55pm

I'll have a crack.

Transition period between now and say 12 months out from next election ........... There needs to be a disciplined focus on the Labor Party's values and not specific policies.

This might look like ...... A Labor government will always {insert general statement(s) on workers rights, wages, child care, health, education, environment}. Specific detail as it relates to policy should be avoided as it allows the LNP to buy a fight. Jungle warfare, strike and run/hide.

The Labor leadership team should focus and refocus on creating a narrative around the Labor Party's values so they become front of mind in the electorate.

These statements need to be short, sharp and to the point and need no further explanation than just repeating the statement again or saying it "means what it means". It will be playing scomo at his own game.

This transition period and strategy also buys the Labor Party time to very carefully recalibrate and/or dump policies that it took to the last election. It also allows time to assess the LNP's weaknesses as it relates to the parties values and to focus on those weaknesses.

On the Adani mine Labor should now shut up and allow it to proceed (subject to proper process if that is now possible?) unless there is a move to pour taxpayer's money into it either directly or via some sort of rent seeking concession and then it should absolutely hit the roof along the lines of "The Labor Party supports the mine but only on the basis that taxpayer's money is not put at risk. It the mine stand on its own feet". "Why should this mine risk hard working Australian's money?"

If everything that is known about how this Adani company operates is only 1/2 true its highly likely this mine go belly up like many of its other projects costing investors $$$ billions. If the Adani mine does fail let it be on the LNP's heads.

My 2 bobs worth.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 24 May 2019 at 8:17pm

There's an idea that conservative thinking, as it currently stands on Oz, is free of ideology because it rests on business as usual. Yet it is ideological, it's simply that we've slipstreamed in this current for so long it feels like it's free of dogma. 

That makes it difficult to implement an opposing force, it has to be couched in a positive way, but I believe it's possible, especially following an election that was decided by voter fear. That fear belies an underlying sentiment that people know we're all being sold a (neo-lib) lemon and that we're collectively on the wrong path.

So...

I recently read an interview with Ben Elton where he said 'The Young Ones' could never be made in this age. Not for PC reasons, or at least not how PC is often used, but just that audiences are fractured in myriad ways and you cannot have a national focus anymore.

And it going me thinking about national focus. I mean, this is sort of what people are thinking when they say they want the best for workers, or they want businesses to succeed, or when they toss a vote to One Nation - a diffuse notion of national interest. So how, in a rapidly globalising world, can you refocus on the national interest? We're clearly not doing away with the nation state no matter what the globalists say. So how..?

I think Labor have to draft up a new framework, a new economic and political model, and it has to repurpose the nation state while making the conservative model look out of date the same way neoliberalism made the welfare state look out of date.

They can start by nationalising some essential services, such as a foray into a burgeoning field like energy that will provide jobs (tick!), bring down energy prices (tick!), while at the same time showing Labor has a distinctly different plan for the future than Liberal. No Third Way tokenism, or Liberal-lite, but a legitimately different system so people can differentitate between the two.

Big business will oppose it so it'll have to be sold well, but fortunately there are models to point to (hello Equinor!), or it can even be some kind of Public Private Partnership with tangible benefits to Australians. Don't say we cant afford it. Think of the projects that governemnt has financed or subsidised that could've stayed in public hands.

Labor could slow immigration to the long-term average, which again will be opposed by globalists but it's an easy issue to argue against. No government has taken increased immigration to an election, increases were foisted on the populace without consultation, there's been nothing democratic about it. Point out stagnating wages, which truth be told are dictated by much more than immigration, but it's a positive discussion to be having. Just the fact that Labor will be having that discussion is positive.

The costs of a globalisation are worn by the lower classes. Point that out, repeatedly.

Immigration discussions always risk accusations of racism (ha!) or advancing unwanted patriotic tendencies, but I've always felt there's a way to articulate "we will decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they arrive" in far more gracious terms. Promote a sense of fortune rather than petulance. It's top down messaging. Change the government, change the country.

Take an expansive view of Australiana that doesn't rest on some 1980s image of ourselves, that understands pluralism is possible in one culture while serving an interest greater than any religion or migrant group. Treat Australia as an ark that we're all travelling on, businesses included, meaning no corporate rentseeking.

Labor needs to realise the way the wind is blowing. Look at Brexit. Look at Trump. Look at Modi. Global politics swings like a pendulum, back and forth. In 1983 Labor followed the lead of the US and the UK and deregulated the economy, but the pendulum has swung too far. Labor has to realise this and follow the lead like they did in 1983, only this time put some regulations in place.

It won't be 'business as usual', it'll be something different. But it's already going on elsewhere, Labor needs to get out ahead and implement it here.

Maybe not the strategy you were asking SD, and they're all undoubtedly big ticket items, but there's no point fucking around on the edges anymore.

factotum's picture
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factotum commented Friday, 24 May 2019 at 10:12pm

Seemingly apropos of nothing, what do you Eastern States types feel about Twiggy Forrest?

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 9:32pm

.

sypkan's picture
sypkan's picture
sypkan commented Friday, 24 May 2019 at 10:30pm

guysmiley and stunet have nailed it in two posts

"...but I've always felt there's a way to articulate "we will decide who comes to this country and the manner in which they arrive" in far more gracious terms."

the crux of everything

being able to do this and find those more gracious terms

Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Friday, 24 May 2019 at 11:26pm

Simple folk... Stupid folk... "how good is Australia" folk.
Nothing has REALLY changed... Sure the echo chambers are louder. The disgusting underbelly of society is far more visible thanks to the internet. But nothing is "that" different. Oh except for one thing that Stu said. The unions have been crushed. And what remains of them are quite nasty pieces of work.
But simple folk need simple messages, and good old fashioned negative disgust.
I see no one made much of a deal about this.
labor should be all over it

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-26/clive-palmer-seeks-approval-for-m...

Sheepdog

quadzilla's picture
quadzilla's picture
quadzilla commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 8:08am

WHERE?....NO where.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 8:14am

Pretty much covered this in my long post in other thread.

But in summary:

They need to go back to being Labor with a focus on everyday Australians and the wider community (including those in regional areas and the bush), instead of trying to be the new Greens party.

They lost this election when the coalition were basically at their weakest, hard to see them getting back in next term (unless Scomo really screws up) but as time goes on he is proving more and more that he is not at all silly.

Surprised with the move to bring Albanese, i would have thought the smart move was to go with Plibersek dont know much about her, but bringing in a women would have been a good move especially if they could pull things back closer to the centre.

But i did see a video straight after the election of her banging on about climate change, so maybe Albanese is the right choice.

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.

quadzilla's picture
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quadzilla commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 8:42am

Albo was in the ballot for leadership with BullShitten 6 years ago,he was my pick.
He is the Labor version of ScoMo(imo).

They have NoShow against ScoMo next time out.2025 is the earliest and it could well be 2028.

factotum's picture
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factotum commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 9:55am

"Simple folk... Stupid folk... "how good is Australia" folk."

Folk still running with the marketing man's self (and/or committee) made-up 'nickname'.

Folk on here.

Hahaha. Stop using it. If you can. That'd be a tiny start.

The media is an insidious thing, aint it?

Speaking of which...

"The unions have been crushed. And what remains of them are quite nasty pieces of work."

Nasty?

Sally McManus? Or the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF...the largest membership), say?

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 9:54am

And seriously, what do you Eastern States types feel about Twiggy Forrest?

Especially you dudes from Queensland and NSW?

sypkan's picture
sypkan's picture
sypkan commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 10:37am

best of a bad bunch?

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 11:25am

Stu said

"There's an idea that conservative thinking, as it currently stands on Oz, is free of ideology because it rests on business as usual. Yet it is ideological, it's simply that we've slipstreamed in this current for so long it feels like it's free of dogma.

That makes it difficult to implement an opposing force ......"

I think these words are profound.

The right's political approach is to defend the status quo and very slowly, with the benefit of long-term incumbency, firstly entrench and then incrementally expand inequity and therefore favour to the ever expanding "aspiration class".

How many times did we hear Morrison say in the last week of the campaign "there is nothing wrong in aspiration?" You can read your own subtext into that statement.

.......................

My thoughts since the election have varied but on reflection how on earth was Labor going to win when two billionaires (Palmer and Murdoch) spent the entire campaign criticising the party and its policies? This coupled with what @Sheepdog and @Stu rightfully call out about the electorate's inability to see the double jeopardy of voting against its own interests.

Labor could have run the best ever campaign but still would have struggled against Palmer and Murdoch's assault. How does that sit for future elections?

There used to be a truism in politics that Oppositions don't win elections Governments lose them and after the last 6 years the LNP truely deserved to be in opposition for a very long time. Not any more.

I tend to agree with people saying Morrison could be a 2 or 3 term Prime Minister if nothing goes wrong with the economy or more precisely world economy ..... how can the political arm of labour resist big capital? I'm also thinking my political values and beliefs are of another era, an era of less aspiration and more community.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 11:22am

Not sure why you're asking Facto. His corporate philanthropy, is that it? A model for the future, perhaps. Wealth creators that donate to causes.

I've seen the other side of it. Wife was CEO of an NGO founded by one of the Peppermint Grove mafia, they did some really great things and they were family friends wth the Forrest's who donated significant amounts but always heavily conditional, and sometimes prone to his emotional whims that would turn at any moment. A generous megolomaniac, but really, his philanthropy is testament to how much we're being ripped off by every other mining magnate.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 11:27am

A Forrest of skeletons in that closet !

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 11:54am

He played a major role in the anti mining tax media extravaganza; just another rent seeker that gives some back.

A Salty Dog's picture
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A Salty Dog commented Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 4:25pm

Hi Stu,

You stated:

"They can start by nationalising some essential services, such as a foray into a burgeoning field like energy that will provide jobs (tick!), bring down energy prices (tick!), while at the same time showing Labor has a distinctly different plan for the future than Liberal. No Third Way tokenism, or Liberal-lite, but a legitimately different system so people can differentitate between the two."

Been there done that. Rex Connor had a plan:

From Wiki:

"At the 1972 election Labor came to power under Gough Whitlam, and Connor was elected to the front-bench and appointed Minister for Minerals and Energy. In this portfolio he sought to develop an Australian-controlled mining and energy sector, one not controlled by the mining companies he disliked. Among his plans were a national energy grid and a gas pipe-line across Australia from the North-West Shelf gasfields to the cities of the south-east. He liked to recite a piece of poetry by Sam Walter Foss (who was, ironically, American):

Give me men to match my mountains,
Give me men to match my plains,
Men with freedom in their visions
And creation in their veins.

Connor's economic nationalism was popular with the Labor rank-and-file, and the 1973 oil crisis seemed to many to be a vindication of his views. After the 1974 election he topped the Caucus ballot for the second Whitlam ministry. But the flood of petrodollars which accompanied the energy crisis proved to be Connor's undoing.

During 1974 Connor sought to bypass the usual loan raising processes and raise money in the Middle East through an intermediary, a mysterious Pakistani banker called Tirath Khemlani. Because of strong opposition from the Treasury and the Attorney-General's Department about the legality of the loan (and about Khemlani's general bona fides), Cabinet decided in May 1975 that only the Treasurer, not Connor, was authorised to negotiate foreign loans in the name of the Australian government. Nevertheless, Connor went on negotiating through Khemlani for a huge petrodollar loan for his various development projects, confident that if he succeeded no-one would blame him, and if he failed no-one would know.

The Opposition proclaimed the Loans Affair a "reprehensible circumstance", which justified the blocking of supply in the Senate, leading to the dismissal of the Whitlam government a few weeks later by Governor-General, Sir John Kerr.

The journalist Paul Kelly wrote in his book November 1975: "It was the national interest that drove Rex Connor. He can be criticised for his naivety and poor judgement. But there is no charge against Connor's integrity... The Opposition implied in the lobbies that ministers were chasing personal gain. There is no evidence for this."[4] Nevertheless, by the time Labor returned to office in 1983, Connor's economic nationalism and dreams of massive state investment in energy projects had been totally rejected. "

Australia had an opportunity to provide itself cheap energy for possibly hundreds of years. Clearly the Libs didn't want their mates to lose out on the chance to make a dollar or two and made every effort to ensure it would never happen. Subsequent governments just made the situation worse by selling the gas for bugger all. Look where we are now: its been an absolute and complete stuff up and has cost the nation dearly, in my opinion.

With the ability to bring gas fired generators online quickly we would have had an opportunity to develop renewable energy to its max.

You can go back to when Menzies flogged all the scrap steel to the Japs in the late 1930's, against the wishes of the Union Movement and others. But hey we got a lot of it back for free!!! I can't think of anything the Liberals have done that has had long term benefits for this country.

In terms of financing any national development plan, there is a massive pool of funds held by Australian Superannuation Funds, which could be invested in income producing assets. All for the benefit of Australians in retirement. But under Morrison and Co there is no chance that will ever happen. The Libs/Nats are the only thing holding Australia back and the stupid public just voted them back in.

I'm still in shock. But we have learnt to never get between a cashed up retiree and his franking credits.

factotum's picture
factotum's picture
factotum commented Sunday, 26 May 2019 at 1:47pm

Waiting for the great leap forward!

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 12:53pm

So I have now discussed the election result with 4 couples I know who typically vote Liberal. All said that Labor went too far with the franking credits and negative gearing. I suspect all are active investors in these two areas. When I mentioned the deficit has doubled to over $600 billion over the last 6 years and asked them how should the government pay down this debt there was stunned silence. When I pressed further saying either taxes needed to increase or government services reduced again silence.

Herein is Labor’s challenge and the LNPs low hanging fruit to effectively use time and time again as a scare campaign. Just don’t threaten the status quo ..... all well and good as debt climbs but what happens when the inevitable recession hits?

factotum's picture
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factotum commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 1:20pm

As has been said somewhere before, let's see how the 'lucky country' shapes up when the luck runs out...and the Libs are in charge!

Shiver.

H2O's picture
H2O's picture
H2O commented Monday, 27 May 2019 at 6:57pm

@Stu "-I think Labor have to draft up a new framework, a new economic and political model, and it has to repurpose the nation state while making the conservative model look out of date the same way neoliberalism made the welfare state look out of date.

They can start by nationalising some essential services, such as a foray into a burgeoning field like energy that will provide jobs (tick!), bring down energy prices (tick!), while at the same time showing Labor has a distinctly different plan for the future than Liberal. No Third Way tokenism, or Liberal-lite, but a legitimately different system so people can differentitate between the two"

I think you are onto something here Stu , but after reading Guy's last post and thinking about what i was going to write my resolution began to fail, however here's my 2 bobs worth.

Bit of history and also prompted by Stu's recollections of his father as a dedicated public servant. I have worked "over the counter "from public servants all my working life and cannot speak highly enough about the manner in which the majority go about their work in a professional manner, often in workplaces that due to "budgetary constraints " are underfunded. The services they deliver are in stark contrast to the various outsourced ones that we often read about ripping off students/ disabled people or simply involved in the game of mates. War stories for liquidators I have spoken to, of business scams associated with uncontrolled gov spending would make your hair stand up

I run my own business and i want those who I directly employ and have responsibility for ,to deliver the services my business provides. Same as the government - a direct connection between the revenue that I receive (taxes) and how I spend it (gov services), This is easy to understand .

It might be a bit old fashioned, but the labor party has (or could argue) . a historic mandate for this, and at present it differentiates between the two parties.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 28 May 2019 at 9:30am

Cheers H20. Can't recall if I mentioned it or not or but under my old man's tutelage the NSW Land Title's Office was profitable, so debunking the myth that the public sector is inefficient.

Last year the Victorian Land Titles Office followed NSW and was also privatised. My old man was contacted about it and here's a few thoughts of his (read to the very last line):

“I had hoped to see what the stated justification was for the change but the case is lacking any support. Some of the justification relates to creating a more customer focussed organisation. But again, back in my time the NSW registry won the Australian Quality Award for Service Quality competing against  the private sector. That service quality must still exist as all the professional bodies, Law Society, Institution of Surveyors etc. opposed the sale of the registry. So, the government has foregone an annual dividend of 150 million and rising in return for a one-off payment of 2.6 billion much of which will go to fund a football stadium. Maybe this is short term political thinking or just political ideology. If there is any justification it can only be in the redevelopment of the computer systems. Many of these are now some 20 years old and no doubt are old from a computer viewpoint could be redeveloped. Whether that needed to be done by the private sector is a moot point as the registry had always been able to manage it previously helped by the fact that it was an executive agency. Landgate, which bought the NSW system in 2000, is currently redeveloping through Advara. Maybe they are now hoping to sell that back to NSW.” -Kevin Nettle, 2017

Accusations of a "bloated public service" are just as likely justifications for corporations to milk the public teat.

H2O's picture
H2O's picture
H2O commented Tuesday, 28 May 2019 at 8:28pm

Thanks Stu,
Agree 100% with Kevin's comments I ,(and I bet the vast majority of it's customers) was appalled at the NSW gov deal to sell the LPI . Service is not as good - first issue with a faulty registration ,the new private owners threatened to sue the clients if they went to the media- clients did - owners backed down - bullshit!.
My point here is that privatization of public assets or assets that should be held in public hands (because it is in the public interest- eg land ownership, defense , policing etc, ), should be directly under the control of the government- not sold off or outsourced.
This is not socialism -simply good policy and common sense. People should understand this and it could be the start of a narrative for the Labor party.