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Labor Leadership

February 27, 2012

If after Julia Gillard’s decisive victory in the Labor leadership ballot today there is a revival of white-anting against her, the whole Party will explode with anger. Especially as this challenge has done so much harm; part of which will be reflected in the Queensland result on March 24. The public reaction against Labor if leadership speculation is resumed will be catastrophic. It will be branded the “New South Wales disease”. Supporters will feel betrayed. No exaggeration involved in this: ordinary Labor voters are furious and simply want their team to close ranks against Tony Abbott, a singularly unpopular Opposition Leader with bad policies. Of course there is an obligation on the PM and her ministers and her staff to start winning some goals. She and they would accept that. And there is an obligation on the National Secretariat to start the training, the coaching, the mentoring and the management of talent which is needed to lift the skills level of the next Labor generation. There is none at the moment, and it shows – although not as badly as on the Opposition. It must be the focus of Labor attack from now, not other Labor people.

For further comments from me on this challenge, click here to listen to my discussion with Jonathan Green on ABC Radio National’s ‘Sunday Extra’.

  1. February 27, 2012 8:49 am

    I agree. Hopefully this will prevent anyone within the party from trying. If they are outed the consequences will be grave indeed.

  2. Michael white permalink
    February 27, 2012 9:09 am

    Anna will lose in Qld due to poor policy, and ineptitude. Blaming it on the challenge is just the ALP ignoring reality

  3. Ailsa Rodrigues permalink
    February 27, 2012 10:00 am

    Disagree with you this will clear the air for a new start, Rudd has abused the Westminister system one thing my father taught me was how important it was, we do not elect a Pm.

  4. February 27, 2012 10:02 am

    The only protection from further speculation is better performance by the government in that crucial area you identified last week – communication and the articulation of why policies are important and in the interests of all Australians.

    The tragedy of the events in 2010 is that for all his faults (which I am happy to list in detail) Kevin Rudd was an effective communicator when selling sound policy. It is a shame that the cabinet and caucus lacked the intestinal fortitude to fix the asserted internal management issues without a public decapitation.

    That a more rational approach to the issue of ‘cranky’ Kevin was not seriously attempted indicates that something else was driving the agenda. The public are quite right to suspect that it was control of the party by factional interests within and most disturbingly outside the parliamentary ALP.

    If the polls do not improve the speculation will only intensify.

    It does not make sense to have one of the better communicators that the public are willing to listen sitting on the back bench.

  5. February 27, 2012 10:29 am

    There is no good explanation for the way Labor drags the chain when party members bring the Labor Party into disrepute. For example; Can Anna Bligh distance her Labor government from the perceived cover up related to the in camera decision last year to pay $120.000.00 to Annette McIntosh who we know is the alleged victim of gang rape while in the care of the Queensland State Government? A payment of taxpayers money which the Queensland government do not want to discuss. And the recipient Annette McIntosh has identified as hush money?
    Edward James

  6. Mark H permalink
    February 27, 2012 10:55 am

    Please don’t blame Kevin Rudd for damaging the party. If Kevin Rudd had died instead of being ousted, Julia Gillard would be as unpopular as she is now. Back-peddling on election promises, breaking an agreement with one of the independents who helped her form government, being tied to factional policy instead of following her own courses of action. She is not a strong leader.

  7. February 27, 2012 11:12 am

    agree … and now it’s all done, live in hope that the angry ghost will return to the grave and quit haunting the corridors!

  8. February 27, 2012 1:04 pm

    I didn’t like Kevin when he was a poisonous advisor to the Goss Government in Queensland, where he won and richly deserved the epithet, ‘Dr Death’. For me it was the end of my participation in the Labor Party, as a branch secretary, conference delegate and policy committee member. In the intervening years I heard tales from the mother of one of Rudd’s researchers who was driven into ill health by the relentless 24/7 agenda. I was not surprised when he was thrown out by his previously uninitiated Federal colleagues who took a little while to get the measure of the glossy boy from Qld. But even I was stunned by the arrogance of Rudd, placing his party and his country second to his own pathetic ambition. Apart from that he was a fine Foreign Minister, and should have had that role in the first place and stuck to it. Then he might have been remembered as a half-way decent minister, not the destroyer of a hundred year old party.

    • Ailsa Rodrigues permalink
      February 27, 2012 7:49 pm

      Agree however I would love to hear from the folks at dfat on his performance probably wasn’t so great !!

  9. Kerry Wright permalink
    February 27, 2012 4:39 pm

    Let’s hope they all have family counselling, and find ways to complement and strengthen each other – instead of these terrible sad old paradigms.

    A nation lead by Tony Abbott (just imagine him in Foreign Affairs, cringe) makes us all squeamish, but also one wonders who is destabilising all around, and why?

    Sorry to hear today (SMH) that China hated Kevin Rudd for his stance on important matters, as he seemed a good humanitarian bridge for their uncomfortable emergence and aggression. Tibet is of course still tightly locked down and preparing for the worst, monks fleeing- yanking the conscience of the moral world.

    Kevin has been great with Burma, and spot on about ASEAN and UNSC- and much-needed in all thee issues where people are suffering (like the children of Syria) while we go shopping and have ‘culture’.

    It’s not surprising that the whole Government didn’t have breakdowns facing that endless shouting of ‘no’ from a group who couldn’t understand why they lost power in 2007.

    Seems the miners didn’t like him either. In walks Gina.

    Sigh. Australia had the chance to get so many things right, in its very privileged position, yet no-one sees it. So many people complain about being ‘poor’!

    The political games seem a game that profits some quiet ones.

    Are we not in humane terms in fact just ‘the selfish nation’?

  10. Kenneth Giblin permalink
    February 27, 2012 7:51 pm

    The message from the ALP to the voters here is clear: we would rather submit you to the rule of Abbott, rather than submit ourselves to the rule of Rudd. Even though Julia is the superior leader, the means by which she took the leadership will forever lack moral authority and therefore legitimacy in the electorate’s eyes.

  11. February 27, 2012 8:41 pm

    I think Larry Pickering has nailed it nicely;

  12. Jimbo permalink
    February 28, 2012 10:47 am

    Bob, please take that Senate vacancy and become Minister for Foreign Affairs. You’re eminently qualified, would provide expert counsel in caucus and you’d send a shockwave thru the coalition.

  13. Tony permalink
    February 28, 2012 11:22 am

    Bob for Foreign Affairs!

  14. March 1, 2012 6:45 am

    Sorry the job fell through Bob, but at least we can continue enjoying your blog.

  15. March 2, 2012 11:27 am

    Congratulations Senator Carr!

    The best choice Prime Minister Gillard could have made for Foreign Affairs Minister.

    I wish you well in very crucial times for the well-being of humanity.

  16. murph the surf. permalink
    March 2, 2012 11:38 am

    Congratulations Bob and good luck in Canberra.
    When you get a chance could you gently nudge the Carr/Faulkner/Bracks report just a little bit closer to the limelight?

  17. March 2, 2012 11:46 am

    Bob, hearty congrats- a real natural fit! Your knowledge of history will be invaluable in shaping our future- proud to be Australian with such a spokesman. Nathan Waks

  18. John Quinn permalink
    March 2, 2012 12:46 pm

    Fantastic news Bob. I’m just sorry that our regular Pil@tes will likely be a little less regular.

  19. Taz Caz permalink
    March 2, 2012 4:11 pm

    Congratulations Bob,
    I notice Tony Abbott used your term today as soon as Julia announced your appointment – “the N.S.W. disease” – if you’re representative of this disease, I’d be really happy for you to share it with the rest of Julia’s dream cabinet – it’s the kind of disease I like – I’m so glad you have the job of FM and can’t wait for Labor’s next victory. What a day – Gotcha journalists and the Opposition!

  20. Guy Spigelman permalink
    March 2, 2012 4:47 pm

    Hello Bob from Tel Aviv,

    A hearty congratulations from the Israel branch of the Spigelmans.

    Not only Australia stands to gain from your appointment, but international discourse will be well served by your tenure, may it be long!

    Good luck,

    Guy, Mark, Rachel and Naomi

  21. Lauren Jones permalink
    March 2, 2012 6:43 pm

    Congratulations Bob! Feels like yesterday I was presenting you with Joe’s books as thanks for speaking at RMIT. What an amazing turn of events.

  22. March 3, 2012 9:36 am

    For what it is worth I think Bob Carr will be an asset to the government as a minister.

  23. March 3, 2012 9:44 am

    Oh well, I suppose we won’t be seeing you around here any more. Pity, it’s been fun.

  24. Karen Joynes permalink
    March 3, 2012 5:01 pm

    Congratulations on becoming Foreign Minister, Bob. Hopefully you will help give the ALP a strong future to ensure the conservatives don’t get re-elected. Best wishes.

  25. Ralf Kluin permalink
    March 4, 2012 6:47 am

    I was a spectator, along with many others, as the saga unfolded. But as more information became available, I began to realise that the men and women in the parliamentary ALP Caucus were faced with a much wider dilemma, because each one of them constitutionally elected, also represented their own electorate and state. It became apparent to me, that what was at risk, was maintaining the balance. I suppose, in our styled democracy, this is what political party membership is really all about. There is an old saying, many roads lead to paradise and ALP members will choose the road they will travel. Bob, I wish to congratulate you for accepting the job of Australian Senator and Foreign Minister in the ALP Gillard Government and wish you all the very best for the future.

  26. Graeme Henchel permalink
    March 4, 2012 11:31 am

    If Rudd was as incompetent as it seems in 2010 and there is much evidence to suggest he was then the labour party had a moral responsibility to rectify the situation. Gillard could only have acted if Rudd had lost the confidence of the caucus which obviously he had. In my view she did the right thing in assuming the leadership. In was unfortunate that she and her colleagues could not fully explain the reasons for removing Rudd but there were good personal and political reasons for using the “Government has lost its way” line. This has dogged Gillard until the recent events.

    Gillard did break an undertaking about the Carbon tax but this was done in the context of the negotiations with the independents to form government and was entirely reasonable and pragmatic. Although she has paid an enormous personal price for that in the end Australia has had sound policy implemented. She has also back slided on undertakings to Wilkie regarding pokies but again this is based on her correct analysis that the proposed reforms would not pass parliament. Gillard has largely been a victim of hostile circumstances since her elevation to leadership yet has in fact achieved a great deal. Abbot and the partisan press will not go away but at least the leadership catharsis has freed her from the Rudd bogey for the time being.

  27. Ivan Pagett permalink
    March 5, 2012 10:37 am

    The only downside to Bob taking up the job in Canberra is that we won’t have his highly informative BLOG to look forward to. I guess the globe trotting activiity will have to be a bit less cultural and a lot more confidential. I’m looking forward to the eventual memoirs though.

  28. Ralf Kluin permalink
    March 6, 2012 7:10 am

    I’m of the view that the only downside will be in the hands of the ALP membership as a whole should they forget their reason for being. As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I can imagine that Bob will have an enormous challenge maintaining our national Australian sovereign interests and security. I liken his new role as that of an athlete, who having retired as a champion, years later, lined up to get back into the race. Bob, I wish you and your wife all the very best.

  29. March 13, 2012 10:29 am

    The real question that Australia wants to know, is now that Bob Carr has taken his position as Foreign Minister, will he keep posting on his wonderful blog? It’s quite interesting.

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