All mixed up in Australia!

April 28th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Age reports:

Labor has warned a “deficit levy” would define Tony Abbott as a Prime Minister if he pursued the new tax and  says the government was paying the price for the “deceitful, voodoo economics” of its election campaign.

Mr Abbott has not ruled out a short-term tax on high incomes to  reduce Australia’s deficit, as the opposition accused the the Coalition of preparing to break an election promise of no new taxes.

So Australian Labor is saying the Government should not increase taxes on high income earners, while the Coalition is considering doing just that.

On this issue, I am of course with Australian Labor. Labor may have left the Coalition a huge deficit, but they solution is not increasing taxes. It is restraining spending.

 

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Shorten says never again to the Greens

March 26th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Labor, which suffered a swing against it of about 9.5% to leave it with 27.4% of the vote, has also pointed to voter dissatisfaction with the power-sharing arrangement in Tasmania.

The federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said Labor’s formal relationship with the Greens was marked down by Tasmanian voters. Shorten said he could “foresee no set of circumstances that in the event that Labor was elected to government nationally, that we would go into a formal alliance with the Greens”. 

That’s a very strong statement, but reflects how deeply unpopular the alliance in Tasmania was.

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Thomson goes to jail

March 26th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

News.com.au reports:

HE ripped off lowly-paid health services workers, fraudulently using union funds to satisfy his cravings for prostitutes and porn.

He then lied to the nation — under parliamentary privilege — falsely claiming the charges against him were the work of vicious enemies out to cause his downfall.

But the sum total of disgraced former Labor MP Craig Thomson’s dirty deeds and deceit added up to just three months in jail yesterday — of which he served just two hours in the lock-up before being granted bail ahead of an appeal.

Thomson, 49, was given a 12-month prison sentence, but nine-months was suspended over two years.

That’s a light sentence, especially compared to what Taito Philip Field got.

 

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The secret Rudd donation

March 22nd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Australian reports:

KEVIN Rudd’s growing fears of losing his seat at last year’s federal election led to a fundraising drive among his supporters to pay for targeted polling and a secret $200,000 overseas donation that the party believes may have breached state electoral laws.

Labor’s pollster, UMR Research Australia, yesterday confirmed it had conducted a $200,000 “program of research” in Mr Rudd’s Brisbane electorate of Griffith ahead of the election on September 7.

The donation was received and UMR commissioned to do the research — understood to have included focus groups and “robo” call messages to voters — just days before the election without the knowledge of the national secretariat and state Labor officials.

UMR is now refusing to refund the money to the Queensland ALP, which sent a letter of demand for the $200,000 after a meeting of its administrative committee on Wednesday.

I have to say I’m with UMR on this one. They were commissioned in good faith by the party leader to do research, and they did the research. The fact the party now has to refund the donation that paid for it is the ALP’s problem. Unless there is more to this than meets the eye, I think it is outrageous they are asking their supplier to give them money back. It’s almost akin to the allegations against Countdown.

While Mr Rudd denies any wrongdoing, the committee was given legal advice alleging the donation from the former prime minister’s long-time friend Kung Chin Yuan, a Taiwanese-born businessman, may have breached Queensland electoral rules, as well as internal Labor rules on the limits for branches handling finances. Under Queensland laws, any donation of $100,000 or more has to be disclosed to the Electoral Commission of Queensland within weeks of its receipt. Mr Rudd says all disclosures were the responsibility of the party.

ALP state secretary Anthony Chisholm told the committee that until this month, he was unaware of the donation until it was discovered in an audit of the Griffith branch. The audit found the donation was paid directly by Mr Kung into the Griffith branch bank account from his bank account in Taiwan and withdrawn hours later to cover the UMR bill.

The Queensland ALP is demanding UMR pay back the $200,000 so it can return the donation to Mr Kung, a Labor donor since 1998.

It’s no surprise that Labor broke electoral laws. But the refund is their problem, not UMR’s.

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Australian Labor goes for the racist approach

March 13th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

398810-07434724-a97a-11e3-9a89-1de6a43f024e

 

This is the cover of a brochure put out by the Australian Labor Party against Liberal candidate Carolyn Habib (who was born in Australia incidentially).

Some may argue it is just using her surname, but it is clear the effect they are going for with the following aspects:

  • No use of her first name (Carolyn)
  • The bullet-riddled crumbling wall which looks like a Middle East warzone
  • The military style font

Also the reverse side doesn’t use a photo of her, but a sinister silhouette.

1203_habib2_sp

 

Very nasty stuff.

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Thomson found guilty

February 19th, 2014 at 6:33 am by David Farrar

News.com.au reports:

THE Health Services Union will seek to recover money from former MP Craig Thomson, who was today found guilty of misusing union funds to pay for sex.

A defiant Thomson has denied the allegations since his arrest last January, but he was today found guilty of dozens of charges.
Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg found he was guilty of six charges of using HSU credit cards to pay for sex, as well as other charges including theft.

I liked Julia Gillard, but her defence of Thomson and refusal to move quicker against him was appalling judgement, and rightly damaged her Government.

Mr Thomson’s defence barrister, Greg James, QC, said Mr Thomson did not deny making the transactions but argued about his authority to do so.

The defence was that as a union boss, Thomson could spend union funds on whatever he deemed necessary.

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Tasmanian Labor says never again to Greens

January 19th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Australian reports:

TASMANIAN Labor has ended the nation’s first experiment of Greens in cabinet, conceding power-sharing with the minor party alienates its core supporters, suffocates its messages and must never be repeated. …

She said caucus had resolved that it would never again have Greens “in cabinet” and would not make “power-sharing deals”.

Yet the only possible route to power for NZ Labour is through the Greens.

Senior national Labor figures have urged the party to end its dalliances with the Greens. Union leader Paul Howes last week called for the Tasmanian agreement to be the last anywhere in the country.

Once bitten, twice shy.

To give you some idea of how unpopular the Labor-Green Government is, Labor were at just 18% in the latest poll in Tasmania (Nov 13). That is under half of what they got in 2010.

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Former Australian Labor President’s corruption admitted

October 17th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The front page of the Australian yesterday was about how the former ALP President and union boss, Michael Williamson, took $600,000 in cash in 300 envelopes. The union movement in Australia is riddled with corruption as they have become so powerful. Worse they have control over many Labor MPs. This is one reason the decision by NZ Labour to give unions even more say in their party’s management is regrettable.

News.com.au reported:

Williamson admitted to using blank union cheques to pay $338,470 to his wife, Julieanne Williamson’s company CANME, between July 2006 and June 2009.

He never declared his connection to the business and there was nothing to show for Mrs Williamson’s work which could have been performed in-house for $40,000 a year.

Williamson had an employee say the work was approved at a union meeting before shredding meeting minutes and creating fake invoices claiming his wife worked 80 hours a week.

Williamson admitted taking $600,000 in cash kickbacks through Alfred Downing, the director of Access Focus – a supplier to the union, the facts said.

Williamson arranged for Access Focus to produce the quarterly HSU document with prices inflated by around 20-25 per cent.

Downing would pay the union’s procurement manager, Cheryl McMillan, and she gave cash to Williamson on at least 300 occasions, the facts said.

The union hierarchy allowed Williamson to take signed blank cheques, the facts said.

The vice president of the organisation “simply trusted … (Williamson) would use the blank cheques in the best interests of the union”, the facts said. “No cross checking … was ever done.”

Incredible. No accountability at all.

Another story looks at the politics:

Senior Government figures argue there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to exploit public disgust over corrupt union officials and expose the entire movement to a royal commission.

They are keen to get cracking on draft terms of reference that would allow a high powered investigation into allegations of corruption across the union fraternity.

Such an investigation could potentially include members of the opposition – and damage Labor’s prospects at the next election.

No decisions have been taken – and Prime Minister Tony Abbott is yet to be convinced of the merits of such a probe.

But equally the exploits of Mr Williamson will aid the voices who want allegations of corruption thoroughly pursued.

Dubbed the “$1 million man” due to his extravagant lifestyle, Mr Williamson took nepotism to new heights, ensuring his family were looked after through union contracts and dodgy management practices.

There is also no doubt that his admission of guilt spreads beyond the HSU and its long-suffering members.

Williamson is the first of a number of political and union figures who are facing potential jail sentences or stiff financial penalties for their alleged misdemeanours.

There is no doubt there is a culture of corruption in several large powerful Australian trade unions.

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Shorten wins ALP leadership

October 13th, 2013 at 5:22 pm by David Farrar

Bill Shorten has been elected Leader of the ALP. He got 64% of the caucus vote and 40% of the members’ vote which have a 50/50 weighting.

30,500 members voted out of around 40,000 members (which is a very small number for their population).

This is a victory for the unions and the Labor Right who were backing Shorten. Will be interesting to see his Shadow Cabinet.

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Aust Labor proposed a gay MP quota!

October 3rd, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The ABC reports:

Labor leadership candidate Bill Shorten wants to introduce quotas to boost the number of gay and lesbian politicians in Parliament.

Mr Shorten is continuing his pitch to the party membership, sending out a manifesto that calls for the introduction of quotas for politicians representing minority groups.

He says the party should consider quotas for Indigenous Australians and the lesbian, gay, bixsexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.

NZ Labour are introducing a gender quota, and I don’t see how you can argue for a gender quota yet argue against a gay quota. Once you start down the quota route, it is hard to stop.

Also having a gay quota will be challenging also. Do you have a quota for LGBTI generally or individual quotas for each subset? Lesbians won’t accept a gay man as necessarily representing their interests, so you may need a separate quota for gay men, lesbian women, bisexual men, bisexual women, pre-op transsexuals, post-op transsexuals and intersex persons.

Or you could of course just not have quotas at all on the basis they are demeaning and they judge a person on just one aspect of what makes them up.

There is nothing wrong with having a commitment to diversity. But quotas are a very harmful way of achieving diversity.

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Coalition looks set to win three more seats

September 14th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The ABC is now forecasting that the Coalition will win 92 seats, up from 89 on election night. Labor is down to 54. That is barely above the worst predictions under Gillard.

Shorten and Labo are standing for the Labor leadership. There is a rumour that Rudd thinks the next election is unwinnable, and he will stay on so he can try for the leadership again after 2016! It is ironic that Shorten, the former ACTU boss, is placed in the right faction of Labor. Could you imagine a trade union boss in NZ being seen to be on teh right of a Labour caucus? :-)

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2013 Australian election thread

September 7th, 2013 at 7:14 pm by David Farrar

The exit polls to date show there will clearly be a change of Government. Roy Morgan currently has it as:

  • Coalition 42.5%
  • ALP 33.5%
  • Greens 11.5%
  • Palmer 5.0%

On a TPP basis they have Coalition 52% to 48%. That would see the Coalition with 83 seats to 60. If Palmer preferences go more strongly towards the Coalition then they say it is 53.5% to 46.5% and 88 seats to 59.

The Sky News/Newspoll exit poll has it 53% to 47% for the Coalition TPP and projects Coalition 97 seats (+25), Labor 51 seats (-21), Greens 0 (-1) and Independents 2 (-3). Their primary vote is Coalition 45%, Labor 36%, Greens 8%.

These are just exit polls. Actual results should start around 8 pm. It is possible that Labor could lose every seat in Queensland including Rudd’s. His seat is being tagged too close to call on the exit poll. Do remember that exit polls can of course be wrong if they are taken in unrepresentative polling booths. Also seat projections are based on linear swings, and normally there is considerable variability from one seat to another in how much they swing. So don’t jump to any conclusions before we actually get some results in.

I’ll try to update this post when there is significant news, but will mainly be tweeting.

UPDATE: And it’s all over. Sky News now has it Coalition 76 and Labor 46. Abbott is now PM-Elect!

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A Labor glossary

September 7th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Some amusing entries at the Labor Glossary.

Democracy
noun
A series of poorly managed focus groups.

Equality
noun
The pursuit of the objective of preventing minorities and the underprivileged from abandoning support for Labor in numbers that would be electorally fatal, by doing the absolute bare minimum to address their grievances.

Fair
adjective
Anything that is believed to enhance Labor’s prospects in Western Sydney or other marginal electorates.

Surplus
noun
It’s not here yet. Please come back in 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016.

Very good.

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Inside the Rudd campaign

September 2nd, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

News.com.au takes a fascinating look inside the Rudd Campaign. It seems beyond dysfunctional. Highlgights:

  • Critics joke that by the end of the campaign the Rudd flying circus may consist of Hawker and Rudd literally piloting the plane, so centralised is the decision-making by the two old mates.
  • To raise morale, staff at CHQ are encouraged to clap each other. In the event of a daily “win”, staff stand around applauding their colleagues.
  • All policy is being made up on the road, with no one wanting to disagree with Bruce or Kevin for fear of being fired.
  • “The message of the day sent out from CHQ to seat directors never matches what Kevin stands up and says.
  • The Canberra press office is even worse off, not even CHQ filling them in, press secretaries there are left to wander the gallery with no information on what is happening that day, relying on watching Sky News to piece the day’s message together. It’s a complete shambles.”

I’ve been involved in some some shambolic campaigns, but nothing approaching this horror story!

 

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Malpass on Rudd

July 1st, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Luke Malpass writes in the Dom Post:

To understand why Julia Gillard failed so miserably as prime minister, one must understand the shortcomings of Mr Rudd.

When he was elected prime minister in 2007, hubris quickly became apparent.

He considered himself a philosopher king, penning trite essays such as how Protestant theologian and Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer would have voted Labor, and a 7000-word tome on how it was his sacred duty to save capitalism from itself.

Only social democrats, he opined, could navigate Australia through the global financial crisis.

Sadly, philosopher kings are often difficult human beings, and so it was with Mr Rudd. It is well documented that members of his own party were waiting for the day when “the public hates Kevin as much as we do”.

He was poll-driven, prone to tantrums, horrendous to work for and with. Last year fellow Labor MP Steve Gibbons called him a “psychopath with a giant ego”, and his own treasurer, Wayne Swan, said he had a “deeply demeaning attitude towards other people including our caucus colleagues”.

In 2010, many were pleased to be rid of him.

However, it’s often overlooked that Mr Rudd was dumped in large part because many of his policies were either poor quality or unpopular and his administration inept.

Rudd is a deeply flawed human being, but as Luke Malpass writes, that is not why the public went off him. They didn’t know about this other stuff.

Climate change topped the list of Rudd policy failures. Despite bloviating that it was “the greatest economic, moral and social challenge of our time”, Mr Rudd quickly abandoned doing anything when it became unpopular.

An ineffective fiscal stimulus was still being spent in school halls years after the global financial crisis had passed, while a home-insulation disaster came complete with house fires, deaths, and a ruined industry.

He presided over an abandoned laptops-in-schools programme. He introduced an unworkable and punitive mining-super-profits tax.

He legislated the Fair Work Act, taking industrial relations back to the 1970s. He dismantled the “Pacific solution” for asylum seekers, helping restart the odious people-smuggling trade, and 100 boat people are now arriving daily.

Arguably, his biggest failure.

For this reason Mr Rudd’s elevation will probably make little difference. The policies are the same, and are still unpopular.

The basic conceit, under which Labor has operated since 2009, is that it is no good at “selling its message” – the notion that people might just not like the policies is never countenanced.

A lesson for more than Australian Labor.

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Kevin Rudd

June 28th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Someone made a very good point yesterday regarding Kevin Rudd, is that the timing of his coup means he doesn’t have to do any governing – just campaigning.

That is possibly not coincidence. There is a huge amount of testimony that he was an incompetent Prime Minister. But he is a very good campaigner.

You have to laugh at the gall, in this story:

New Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has used his first address to Parliament to call on MPs to be a ”little kinder and gentler with each other”.

Hours after he was sworn by Governor-General Quentin Bryce, Mr Rudd used his first official comments as Prime Minister to acknowledge the contributions of former prime minister Julia Gillard and former treasurer Wayne Swan, while talking of the difficulties of political life.

”As we all know in this place, political life is a very hard life. A very hard life indeed … But let us all remember particularly on days like this that in this Parliament and in this place we are all human beings,” he said.

Incredible. He spends three years undermining Gillard, and then once he has dispatched her he asks for people to be kinder and gentler.

The Dom Post editorial notes:

Mr Rudd, a Machiavellian schemer who has devoted the past three years to undermining the woman who ousted him as prime minister, is not someone about whom as many nice things can be said. The challenge for the rival Liberal Party, poring over quotes from current and former colleagues, was not what to include in its first anti-Rudd advertisement but what to leave out.

That is so true. Their first advertisement is below and it consists purely of quotes from his own Labor MPs,

Mr Rudd’s newfound friends do not expect him to win the coming election but they hope that, with him at the helm, fewer of them will lose their seats.

Their calculations mirror those that led Helen Clark and other Labour Party notables to persuade Sir Geoffrey Palmer to make way for Mike Moore as New Zealand prime minister eight weeks before the 1990 election.

But will they keep him on as opposition leader? He might be ALP leader for just three months?

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Krudd is back

June 26th, 2013 at 10:38 pm by David Farrar

Well kevin Rudd won the leadership back b 57 – 45, after a two year campaign of destabilisation of his own party and Government. This says volumes about his character.

Personally I liked Julia Gillard. I know many people who have dealt with her, and even a couple who have worked for her – and almost universally they say she is excellent to deal with. She was pleasant, professional, and someone you could work with. Of course I disagree with her politics, and she made a couple of momentous errors with her u-turn on carbon tax plus support for Craig Thompson. But she was well regarded by many – even if that didn’t include much of the public.

Kevin Rudd on the other hand is despised by almost everyone who has worked closely with him – especially his former Cabinet colleagues. His psychology is quite flawed, and it is remarkable that the ALP have made him Prime Minister again – despite knowing all this. It was an act of desperation from MPs wanting to keep their seats.

The ALP will get a boost in the polls, but I doubt it will last too long. In fact their machinations of the last few months show how unfit for power they are. They need to be thrown out of office resoundingly.

Assuming they lose the election, what is fascinating is who will become Opposition Leader. Will they stick with Rudd in opposition? I’m not so sure. Bill Shorten was the heir apparent, but he has now helped axe two Prime Ministers and broken his repeated pledges of loyalty to Gillard.

Also of interest will be how many Labor Ministers refuse to serve under Rudd. Treasurer Wayne Swan has resigned and also Comms Minster Conway. Emerson and Garrett also expected to go.

Meanwhile the Coalition will remind voters of what Kevin Rudd said in March:

“there are no circumstances whatsoever under which I’d return to the leadership in future”.

That is as categorical a denial as you can get. So how can Australians trust anything Rudd says?

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Rudd challenges

June 26th, 2013 at 2:55 pm by David Farrar

Kevin Rudd’s supporters have started to circulate a petition calling for a leadership spill. This means he has agreed to challenge Julia Gillard.

This shows the extent of his lust for power, that he will break his word so brazenly.

After his first challenge against Gillard he vowed to stop undermining her and that he would not challenge again. He lied.

After he backed off his second challenge, he said he will never ever be a candidate for the leadership again under any circumstances.

It looks like it will be a close vote. The unions are heaving people to vote for Gillard.

If Rudd wins, I expect Labor will get a boost in the polls. But I doubt it will last very long. It may help them lose by a lesser amount, but they will still lose I’d say.

And if Rudd does win, and loses at the general election, will he be kept on as opposition leader or will they roll him straight after the election?

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Rudd’s corrosion

June 25th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

As Ms Gillard starts what is shaping up to be her toughest week in Parliament, a review of opinion polls indicates that Mr Rudd’s three-stage siege on the Labor leadership has cost the party direct political support and could destroy it for a generation.

The review by Gillard supporters is of opinion polls before and after Mr Rudd’s two previous leadership tilts.

Its release represents a new stage in the internecine warfare between the current and former prime ministers as Labor MPs stare electoral annihilation in the face.

A senior minister has told Fairfax Media that the only certain effect of Mr Rudd’s “revenge mission” has been to send the ALP’s stocks into the basement, guaranteeing that Tony Abbott will be prime minister after the election.

The figures, based on the results of the monthly Fairfax-Nielsen poll, the fortnightly Newspoll, and others, show Labor’s standing with voters has headed south immediately following the last two raids on the top job by Mr Rudd and his backers.

Very smart work by the Gillard team to compile this. Yes Labour would be low in the polls even if Rudd’s supporters were not white-anting the Government, but his continual attcks (through proxies) on Gillard are what has driven the ALP to such a low level in the polls. Voters hate disunity.

The ALP Caucus should not reward him for his campaign.

The most recent Fairfax-Nielsen and Newspolls show Labor’s primary vote at 29 per cent and the gap widening between Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott in the preferred prime minister category.

On that poll, the ALP would win 42 seats and the Coalition 103.

Meanwhile, the Australian Services Union’s NSW secretary, Sally McManus, has confirmed that she sent an email to members asking their opinions on the Labor leadership.

“I’m not doing that in order to get any publicity about it,” Ms McManus said in a voicemail message to Fairfax Media.

“At the moment it’s between me and my members . . . Probably I’ll leave the poll open for a couple of days and after that be in a position to talk to people.”

Support from the unions is critical to Ms Gillard’s hold on power. Australian Workers’ Union boss Paul Howes in particular has backed the Prime Minister’s continuing leadership.

Isn’t it appalling outside groups get to determine who the Prime Minister and Labor Leader will be?

And NZ Labour is heading this way. In Australian Labor, the unions only have (great) influence. In NZ Labour they now get 20% of the vote.

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The evil Rudd

June 12th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

News.com.au reports:

During an appearance on the ABC’sQ&A on Monday night, Mr Latham accused Mr Rudd of sabotaging the party’s election campaign in 2010 and preparing to do it again for this year’s election.

Mr Latham said Mr Rudd’s ego is out of control and he must not be rewarded.

Despite his denials, Rudd is clearly campaigning for the leadership again. He is arranging supporters to turn up to public meetings and appear to be normal members of the public giving him a hero’s welcome. It is a cleverly crafted campaign to try and persuade people he is Labor’s only hope.

“He knows that every day he gets in the media cycle he’s knocking Gillard down a notch or two in the polls. This is a program, a jihad of revenge, the like of which we have never seen before in the history of Australian politics. And it goes beyond the normal human reaction of revenge. You are getting into the realm of evil.”

Despite polls that indicate Mr Rudd would give Labor a better chance in the election than Julia Gillard, Mr Latham said the party would better off “dying on its feet”.

Latham is a bit mad, but still to have one former ALP leader call another “evil” is extraordinary. They may be in opposition for a very long time.

Malcom Farr looks at the pros and cons of a change:

The basic contest is Ms Gillard against the man she deposed in June 2010, Kevin Rudd. But there is no official contest. Unlike other leadership bouts, no one has presented themselves as a combatant.

Mr Rudd has repeated past pledges that he will not challenge the Prime Minister and would not accept a draft. He expects Ms Gillard to take the party into the election.

That’s his talk, but Labor MPs are also watching his walk through dozens of marginal Labor electorates where he has been asked to help colleagues, and in the process has shown he can draw a happy crowd. Be mobbed by them, in fact, more like a minor celebrity than a former Prime Minister.

By contrast, Julia Gillard is seen to be so personally unpopular with voters the entire government is suffering, and in certain areas that is true. In western Sydney community and business sources have told news.com.au of their surprise at the number of times locals have, unprompted, raised their dislike of the Prime Minister.

As I say, the Labor MPs have to choose between a leader the public hates and a leader the caucus hates.

This has put the focus on Employment Minister Bill Shorten, a senior Victorian right MP who helped Ms Gillard into the job in 2010, as did the union he once led, the Australian Workers’ Union.

Mr Shorten has been conscripted by the mutterers as the man who could force or persuade Ms Gillard to step aside for Mr Rudd. It’s not a job he sought and, going by his renewed backing of the Prime Minister, not a job he wants.

He faces a grinding personal choice. He might have his CV forever marked as the Labor man who brought down two Labor Prime Ministers. Or on September 15 he might be confronted by colleagues who lost their seats and blame him for not bringing about a leadership change.

If Mr Rudd were to take over he might inherit a depleted front bench as ministers such as Treasurer Wayne Swan would find it hard to serve under him.

Rudd PM might go to an election as soon as possible, maybe August 3, the earliest date possible without breaking the link between the House of Representatives and the Senate. Go early while they still adore me, might be his reasoning.

But much would need to happen before that point, and the wait now is for the return of Parliament for its final two weeks before the election next week.

And the next Newspoll.

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Will Julia make it to the election?

June 9th, 2013 at 3:43 pm by David Farrar

ABC reports:

The ABC understands Prime Minister Julia Gillard has lost significant support in the Labor caucus.

It comes after a week in which Labor disunity was on full display in Canberra and former prime minister Kevin Rudd re-emerged very publicly.

ABC Insiders presenter Barrie Cassidy says Mr Rudd is the only figure being considered as an alternative prime minister.

Rudd is like rust. No matter how many times he says he is not seeking the leadership, he continues to do everything he can to get it back.

He spoke about the tensions within the party on Insiders this morning.

“I am now very strongly of the view that Julia Gillard will not lead Labor into the next election,” he said.

“I think there will be a change either by her own hand or the actions of others. And I’m not relying entirely on guesswork here.”

That sounds definite.

The week of turmoil for Labor began with disastrous polling showing the party could be left with as few as 40 seats in the Federal Parliament.

It was revealed two long-serving MPs had already packed up their Canberra offices in preparation for the electoral wipe-out.

That is rather unsporting of them, as the election is still three months away. They could start packing up a week before and still have time.

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Can’t even organise a coup in a party room

March 22nd, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The best quote about the failed putsch against Julia Gillard I saw was along the lines that if you have the numbers you use them, if you don’t have the numbers you talk about it.

Gillard has now beaten Rudd three times in a row. Is this the end? Probably until they get wiped out in the election.

Rudd’s talk of how he will keep his word and not challenge is simply code for he did not have the numbers. If he did, then they would have no confidenced Gillard and he could have them declared he is not challenging but there is a vacancy. His supporters have been waging a destabilisation campaign with Crean meant to be the Kingmaker. Instead Crean’s career is now as over as Rudd’s.

Gillard comes out of this internally stronger, but the public must be even more wary of someone whose caucus is so divided.

Tony Abbott must think it is Christmas Time. He had a wonderful quote, which may resonate with the public:

“You deserve a government which is focused on you, not on itself,” he said.

Nice. Also true.

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The ALP falling apart

March 21st, 2013 at 3:20 pm by David Farrar

The Australian Labor Party is tearing itself apart. Great political theatre. News.com.au is doing a live update. Developments today include:

  • Labor hid polls from their own leader so Rudd could be rolled in 2010
  • A Labor MP has called om the Chief Govt Whip to resign for disloyalty to Gillard
  • Rudd and Crean discussing a leader-deputy ticket to roll Gillard
  • Simon Crean has both called on party to unite behind Gillard and also attacked her for “the class warfare politics she has waged”
  • Labor has backed down and withdrawn their media regulation bills
  • Crean has now called for a leadership spill and says he will not stand for leader, but will for deputy.

Glorious fun,

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An Australian election calculator

March 19th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Antony Green has launched his 2013 election calculator. Antony is the premier election analyst in Australia.

It makes predictions for all 150 seats on the basis of either the swing or two party preferred vote. But it has some additional nifty features.

  • Can select the results from a recent poll
  • Can set individual swings for each state (and swings do not tend to be uniform across the country)
  • Can factor in retiring MPs
  • Can over-ride the projected result in a few marginal seats

On the latest (Neilsen) poll Labor is projected to lose 25 seats and win 47 while the Coalition is projected to gain 25 seats and win 98.

On the best poll to date for the Coalition, they would win 110 seats to 35 for Labor.

One can see why some of the Labor MP are thinking the unthinkable and Rudd may challenge again.

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Labor’s media regulation

March 15th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Michelle Grattan writes:

After an immensely long labour, Australian Communication Minister Stephen Conroy has produced a media policy mouse with a modest roar. …

It has a number of aspects but let’s deal particularly with some core controversial ones. A “public interest test” would be invoked when mergers or acquisitions threatened to reduce diversity. A Public Interest Media Advocate would make decisions on the basis of the test.

This advocate would also ensure that bodies dealing with media standards, most notably the Australian Press Council, met certain benchmarks for credible and effective self-regulation of print and online media.

Sounds a powerful role this Public Interest Media Advocate.

Whatever one thinks of the content of the policy, its preparation and presentation has been a shambles.

It was due months ago but held up by internal argument. Now minister Conroy has presented a take-it-or-leave-it package that he says must be through Parliament by the end of next week or the Government will drop it. The actual legislation will only be presented today.

That is outrageous, especially on an issue such as this.

The public will put the Government out of its misery in six months time.

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