And now we have a new Labor leader in Bill Shorten. It is important that he receives unqualified support of both caucus and the membership if he is to have a chance to do his job in holding the government accountable and presenting a viable alternative. Early signs are positive, and hearing Mr Shorten speak on ABC radio Monday morning underlines that. Bill is articulate and a ling time defender of the rights of the Australian people.
Internal divisions are a curse as we have seen. Suggestions in the media that a certain former PM might be a problem are, to my mind a mischievous construct. Why?
The position the Labor Party is at now was largely of the work of Kevin Rudd, and it is unlikely that he will seek to undermine the process that he set in train. That would be hubris, capital H U B R I S, writ large! The process which has, I might add, seemed to have curtailed the blood letting. That may change, it is the Labor Party after all. Better to have it out in the open though and not behind closed doors in secret dungeons as with the Liberals. The openness of Labor beats the clandestine and covertness of the Liberals any day.
Though Anthony Albanese may have been more popular with those members who voted (and nearly one third did not vote, suggesting that they didn’t care who led the party, or perhaps the didn’t want either) the combined vote didn’t go his way he is a decent man and I am sure he will draw a line under it.
Chris Bowen come out recently saying he did not agree with Julia Gillard’s assessment of who had undermined her leadership. Well, undermining did occur and those responsible are still there, suitably chastened (or satisfied) by the election loss. For the good of the country, one hopes so.
Of course, as a result of the caucus vote going in favour of Bill Shorten the cat calls of ‘faceless men’ have already stared again. Predictable, and utter nonsense. Compare it to the Liberal party, strongly under the influence of uber rich and powerful mining magnates and publishing proprietors. There would seem to be little doubt that Tony Abbott owes much to the interference of unrepresentative members of vested interests. At least union officials represent the workers and members who rely on a consolidated voice in society and politics.
Remember, Tony Abbott won the leadership of the Liberal party by one vote after prolonged destabilisation within that party; one vote that has sadly altered the course of Australia’s political history. And if he does not perform to the expectations of his Maquarie St masters or big business bankrollers then he could be for it. His leadership is not guaranteed, after all, Bob Menzies was overseas during wartime when he was knifed.
Add to that the rorting scandals plaguing the government front bench and there are interesting time ahead for both the leader and his cabinet.
Australia’s future hasn’t been looking too bright over the last few weeks. Now there is a glimmer of light. Maybe, just maybe (fingers firmly crossed) that light is back on the hill.