First, Drag0nista's long thin streak of conventional wisdom, where she shows the weakness of her case by being most insistent.
When one of the major parties is strong it draws votes from left and right, from its major-party opponent and from fringe parties. When a party is weak it loses votes left and right.
When Hawke and Keating were in office the Coalition lost votes to Labor and to far-right anti-immigration, anti-economic-rationalist parties. Under Howard, Labor lost votes not only to the Libs but also to the Greens. It's not an either/or proposition for Labor to win votes from the Libs and Greens; they must win votes from both.
The tensions between the Greens and Labor display the uneasy relationship within all parties between machine operatives responsible for fundraising and preference allocation, and the parliamentarians who have to cut deals. The Labor-Green machine operatives must work against one another but their parliamentary representatives need to do a better job of working together, because the alternative is that both lodge only symbolic objections to policies they cannot block.
The by-election for the Victorian state seat of Melbourne is one aspect of the trial run for the ALP’s Victorian campaign, not the Federal campaign. Victorian Labor was blindsided by the Libs last time and they have a chance to show what they have learned, if anything.
The ALP isn’t trying to win progressive votes from the Greens, they’re trying to win the middle class, middle income voters who are parked with the Libs but are uneasy about Abbott. They’re also trying to win progressive voters parked with the other/independent category who find the Greens too extreme.These people sound exactly like the sort of people who had voted for Howard up to 2007. The idea that they could simply vote for middle-class welfare, then vote for an apology for Aborigines/measures against carbon pollution/[insert your progressive Kevin07 idea here] was appealing and - if Gillard offers something similar, but with the credibility that Rudd came to lack - it sounds like the best of all possible worlds for a Labor victory in 2013 (with the Greens continuing to hold balance of power in the Senate).
The idea that Greens-Labor are at one another's throats falls down on Drag0nista's home turf: the ACT. There are two House of Reps seats there (both held by Labor) and two Senate seats (one held by Labor, one by a Liberal). The Greens have a chance of picking up a seat in the ACT - but which Labor MP is most vulnerable? None of them - the Liberal Senator, Gary Humphries, is most vulnerable, because he goes to his constituents with the politically difficult message that a vote for him is a vote for at least 20,000 job losses in the capital.
Since the last federal election, votes take no path. They are cast, counted, some candidates become members of parliament while others do not, and then at some point another election is called and votes are cast, etc. To place too much credence in polls is to make the political equivalent of the mistake counselled against by Kenny Rogers: "You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table/ There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done".
Polls cannot and do not measure the twists and turns of politics. Nobody who has followed Australian politics for any more than a single term of Parliament has any excuse for getting carried away with polls, or with the occasional spat at moments of tension.
Then there's this half-witted effort in the Daily Telegraph, written by someone with no persuasive skills and no respect for those who read what he puts out.
Labor must turn on the Greens and destroy themBackroom boys can turn on one another like so many snakes in a sack, but for the Prime Minister her deal with the Greens is what keeps her in power (and by extension, what keeps Howes on government boards and other lurks). The very headline contains the essence of the failure of judgment that undermines the credibility of the whole article, if not the credibility of Howes himself.
If the Greens had their way, I doubt NSW would ever win the State of Origin.If you ever wondered what Howes does at AWU executive meetings with Bill Ludwig, there's your answer. The State of Origin contest in rugby league began in 1980, when Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister. Is Howes going to credit the Coalition for one of Australia's great sporting contests, or are we done with this silly attempt to link sport to politics?
There probably wouldn't even be a State of Origin - we'd just sit around with Queenslanders and play pass the parcel.
They are able to use their political leverage to pursue extremist agendas, and to implement policies that are both socially and economically damaging.Lots of lobby groups do that. Another example is that pig-nosed dill who wants to tie workers to non-jobs making stuff in factories that nobody wants to invest in, so that Australian manufacturing gets this reputation as some sort of sheltered workshop rather than taking the chance of a small, high-quality industry where people are open to joining the union but puzzled as to what it might offer them.
The Greens are most successful, and therefore the most dangerous of the fringe parties - the left-wing version of what Pauline Hanson's One Nation party did to the Nationals' vote. They have carefully built a political brand based on social conscience and concern for the environment. The benign, smiling face of Bob Brown convinced many that the Greens and Labor could co-exist as two sides of a harmonious progressive political movement.This is wrong on so many levels.
First of all, Hanson came and went within the lifespan of the Howard government. The Greens came out of Tasmania, once (with NSW) the strongest state for Labor, and all the flatulent outrage we have seen from Howes has been done. Brown spent most of his career being demonised - he's only "benign" because successive generations of politician (many of them smarter than Howes, and with more substantial records of public service) looked stupid for doing so.
Why didn't Howes look at the failure of successive generations of Tasmanian politicians in taking on the Greens, and avoid the same lazy positions that led them to failure? Does he really think he's so special that he can ignore the lessons of history, simply because he wasn't part of it?
But beneath the marketing spin, the Greens are run by hardliners who believe they know better than anyone else.... just like the scions of NSW Labor.
Political campaigning will become the domain of wealthy individuals. Naturally, this suits the Liberals. Surprisingly, it also suits the Greens.NSW Labor spent a decade-and-a-half taking Joe Tripodi's mates out of Centrelink offices and seeing them through to significant property portfolios, done in such an overbearing and clumsy way that the Greens gained that indispensable quality for any political movement - a point. Surely Labor did that so they could call on them in their hour of need, no? And if not, how is this anyone else's problem?
Then he tries into invoke Labor history: I wish he'd learned some first.
The ALP has been down this path before. We dealt with Billy Hughes ...No you didn't. Hughes became the longest-serving Federal MP and was the longest-serving PM when he died, spending most of his career outside the ALP.
We dealt with the divisive Jack Lang ...No you didn't. Lang remained a force into the 1940s and Paul Keating brought him back into the Labor fold. Howes' dreams of Australian manufacturing as a series of sheltered workshops full of people unthinkingly renting their jobs from the AWU could not be more Langite.
We dealt with Joe Lyons and the United Australia Party in the 1930s ...Wrong way around: Lyons and the UAP thrashed a one-term Labor government such that Curtin and Chifley lost their seats, and they stayed in office for the rest of Lyons' life.
And then we eventually saw off Bob Santamaria and the DLP in the 1950s.Not in the 1950s, not in the '60s, and he was still a force in the 1970s; when Santamaria died he was given a state funeral by John Howard.
Thank goodness Howes and the others who run what's left of NSW Labor are such good haters - they're not that great at the actual politics.
The Greens do not support working people. They would rather we all squat in share houses in Newtown than work in real jobs that actually make things.Make what? Coffees for Paul Howes and Sam Dastyari when they waddle up Sussex Street in search of a clue?
Newtown and other inner-city suburbs used to have lots of manufacturing jobs. It wasn't the Greens who forced them out, the Green vote rose in those areas as those jobs retreated. Those areas are full of Labor Left people who preselect Labor Left MPs who do factional battle with clowns like Howes and Dastyari, and who engage in subtle strategies to maintain Labor representation ahead of the Greens, except where Sussex Street cannot resist sticking their oars in and guaranteeing Green success.
... NSW Labor General Secretary Sam Dastyari's proposal to adopt a policy of not automatically preferencing the Greens ...What a fence-sitting, two-bit, namby-pamby proposal that is. After all Howes bluster about State of Origin, Jack Lang etc., I was expecting a lead-up to a firm, strong statement of principle (or the principle-veneer you get from NSW Labor). Instead, there's a bit of hand-wringing - not so much a step in any particular direction but an embarrassed shuffle on the spot.
Labor has an obligation to stop extremists who threaten our democracy.They can turn on that arseclown Howes for a start. Labor could and should get rid of him tomorrow, all without the need for a byelection. Either he'll wake up to himself or he'll walk away, talk about a win-win solution.
Labor and the Greens have to work together. They need to let off steam from time to time, but they must do substantial work together. The Coalition won't work with anyone for the greater good, so stuff them until they wake up to themselves. They have adults in both ranks, and together they can lift the debate (on refugees and so many other issues) in ways that other parties can only follow.