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36 responses to “Momentum building for a contested Labor leadership election”

  1. joy cooper

    Yes, Mark, I have already signed although I didn’t comment at the time. Good idea in raising this petition. Do hope it stirs some sense of democracy within the Labor caucus & the party.

    One would think that the party “elders” certainly should have learnt their lessons from the past three disgraceful years of Murdoch media-led MSM disinformation re the ALP. It was they who fomented the alleged chaos within the party, promoting the Abbott LNP as one of serene coherence with one another, joining together behind their beloved leader. Which was complete & utter rubbish, after all they had had three leaders in the three years, 2007-2010. They would have had their disagreements but Loughnane/Credlin et al had such a tight grip on them no one dared step out of line & all dirty linen (with the connivance of the MSM) was kept behind closed doors. The party of individuals became one amœbic mass.

    Now it’s time for the ALP to present as an united front, stop eating their babies & think of their hard-working members who were gutted by the election result.

  2. Russell

    “Now it’s time for the ALP to present as an united front”

    But Joy, how easy will that be if the party members elect someone from the ‘left’ to lead a majority of ‘right’ MPs in caucus?

  3. jungney

    Done, Mark. Without some form of participatory democracy the ALP forgets how to do democracy. Representative democracy has hit the wall in the ALP.

  4. Patrickb

    Petition is a good idea. Conroy, Emerson et al should STFU, I had a look at The Australian in the coffee shop; ALP headed for divisive leadership struggle, Abbott (less than a week in) responsible for rising world markets. I mean, why are some idiots in the ALP so intent on spoon feeding the Murdoch press? Abbott has said that the new Parliament won’t sit until November so a month to get organised and have the ballot is plenty of time. They just need to get on with it in a steady and reserved manner. Arseclowns.

  5. Liz

    More democracy, rather than less would be excellent for ALP. Involve the grassroots. Get a good leader and stick with them. But, it amuses me greatly when people get upset about Emerson. He was only speaking the truth as Combet and Smith did on Saturday night and Ferguson did today. Apparently, that’s a bad thing whereas destabilising your leader constantly causes no damage at all.

  6. Chris

    Even Shorten has asked that people stop talking about it (I think Plibersek did pretty much the same a few days ago). Perhaps he’s worried it will ignite another Rudd vs Gillard debate in public if Rudd supporters start responding. But really if they need to vent, I think now is the time to do it when it won’t really affect anything. And its their last chance to really do so and grab a decent amount of media attention before the general public/media simply stop caring.

  7. Paul Norton
  8. Patrickb

    But surely Emerson is destabilizing the party simply by creating a fractious, bellicose climate that can be trumpeted by The Australian, Sky et al? And there’s an easy solution to the Rudd problem, just ignore him, freeze him out, send him to Coventry. If he doesn’t have a cabal of supporters then he’s the member for Griffith and that’s it. Laying the responsibility for destabilisation solely at Rudd’s feet is an oversimplification as it’s plain that he had supporters within the party. If unity is what the ALP wants then those supporters need to realise that the game is not worth the candle and fall into line.

  9. Liz

    Patrickb, an even simpler solution. Rudd resigns from Parliament, just as Gillard did. It clears the air completely. We know that Rudd is a serial leaker and he’ll continue to so. As Emerson said, “it’s in his nature”.

  10. Jacques de Molay

    I don’t believe that Liz and you would expect a Gillard loyalist like Emerson (who isn’t even there anymore) to say that. I’m of the opinion Rudd’s whiteanting of Gillard was due to revenge for her knifing him.

    Rudd is irrelevant & powerless now. If he cared about the leadership now in opposition he wouldn’t have resigned on Saturday night.

  11. Liz

    As has been noted in another thread, Combet explicitly stated that Rudd was the leaker in the 2010 election. Smith stated it would be better for the Party if Rudd resigned. Why would you want to work with someone who didn’t just betray an individual, but the whole Party?

    Whatever you think of cause and effect; Rudd leaving rules a line under the whole sorry mess.

  12. desipis

    Rudd resigns from Parliament, just as Gillard did. It clears the air completely.

    I think Conroy’s dummy spit indicates that the petty hostility and greed for power within the Labor party is a far wider issue than just the individuals of Rudd and Gillard.

  13. desipis

    I think forcing MPs to gain support beyond the caucus to gain leadership will help ensure the leadership actually has the skills to communicate their policy and vision to a broad audience, and not just be the ones who can cobble together the sufficient factional support. Of course there is the risk that this will also drag the leadership towards the ‘base’ (as with the US primaries) making it more difficult to gain the support of the moderate/swing voters needed to actually win government.

    I understand the ALP isn’t the first party in the parliamentarian world to adopt this approach. I’m curious how leadership challenges have played out in the places that have such processes (both from a political and media perspective).

  14. Debbieanne

    Thanks for starting the petition, Mark. Perhaps this could be the beginning of changes to Labor towards a more progressive stance. One ‘right wing’ party is more than enough.

  15. Patrickb

    ” Rudd resigns from Parliament” and there’s a by-election which the LNP win and the seat is lost to the ALP for a generation (Glasson is a good candidate). That’s the kind of thinking that rolled a first term PM and got us to where we are today. Sometimes ‘even simpler’ is the best. And he can’t leak if he’s frozen out. He may even come into the tent (and it isn’t clear to me that he’s outside, partisan comments from Emerson noted).

  16. Patrickb

    Indeed, apologies, I shouldn’t have taken the bait.

  17. Terry

    Generally agree with Lenore Taylor on this. One complicating factor is that the case for involving the members in a vote is not the same as the campaign for Albanese to be ALP leader. A vote that involved the membership that led to Bill Shorten being leader would be something I’d be quite comfortable with, although I’d prefer Albanese. The issue is that of Shorten becoming leader by virtue of circumvention of the party reforms.

    And, yeah, force Rudd out of the parliament so that Bill Glasson can win the seat in a by-election and some ex-MPs and blog commenters can feel personally vindicated? Good thinking, 99!

    I think Craig Emerson wants to take over Mark Latham’s role as the guy who sh_ts on the ALP on various SKY News chat shows. His other employment options are probably not all that great.

  18. Oz

    You almost wonder if the MPs realise that if they try to overturn these rules, they’ll just get another form of direct election (potentially with MPs getting even less of a say!). Global momentum is against the parliamentary party deciding the leader. Australia is the last hold out, every other major centre-left party in English-speaking Westminster democracy has embraced it.

    There are three main reasons why a direct election is necessary: neutralising the rotating leadership issue, rebuilding the base and showing what Labor stands for. If they cannot see that it is necessary, they either have been spending too much time in a bubble or would rather control a small party out of power than less influence in a larger party in power.

    NZ Labour recently changed its system and is currently going through its first direct election for its leader. It’s worth watching as a comparison and shows that all these suggestions about it being a “farce” are ludicrous.

  19. Sam

    I think Craig Emerson wants to take over Mark Latham’s role as the guy who sh_ts on the ALP on various SKY News chat shows.

    They probably both find it cathartic.

  20. Ronson Dalby

    Interesting comment from a paid-up ALP member on Facebook:

    “A bit after midday today, the Labor party will almost certainly have our first openly gay leader – Penny Wong.

    The party rules state that if a leadership ballot is called the deputy leader (currently Albo) is declared acting leader until the ballot has been resolved. In the event that the deputy leader is a contender in the ballot the next in line is declared acting leader until the ballot is resolved. In this case, Penny Wong as the current Leader of the Government in the Senate (Caretaker) she is next in line and, assuming Albo runs and there is a ballot of the membership to be held, she will be declared the Acting Leader of the Labor party and Caretaker Prime Minister of Australia (unsworn) until Tony Abbott is sworn in next week.”


    I hope no one points this out to Joe de Bruyn because it might induce a stroke.

  21. Chris

    Ronson – according to news.com.au Chris Bowen has been appointed temporary leader:


    Is there some requirement that the leader be in the lower house?

  22. mindy

    That’s what I heard Chris, so it can’t be Wong.

    Who was tweeting from Caucus?

  23. desipis

    Does anyone have a link to the actual rule changes made by Rudd?

  24. Ronson Dalby

    “Is there some requirement that the leader be in the lower house?”

    Some of Facebook are saying this is the case.

    Still wish I could out the truth about Bowen’s preferences last Saturday:


  25. mindy

    This is apparently how the new rules work. Note that it is by a journalist so may not be 100% accurate. I haven’t seen anyone tweeting any links to the actual rules.

  26. Lefty E

    Very pleased to see the ALP leadership ballot will be taking place, despite some doubts expressed around the place.

    An historic reform, and an historic moment: one which will go a long way to cure the legacies of leadershit.

    Embrace it punters! Just cos *the dreaded Ruddster* thought of it doesnt make it a bad idea. Its clearly a good change of direction.

    Aside from a better than expected return on seats, its clearly the major legacy of the brief 2nd Rudd PMship, and an absolutely critical one for a party that was beset with NSWitis and associated factional woes.

    Cos guess what: June 2010 and June 2013 CANT HAPPEN NOW. Thank you Kevin Rudd.

    Dont forget NZ labour had a 25% increase in members when they introduced the system.

    And despite what yesterday’s men like Conroy may think, members are always a good thing.

  27. desipis

    Gillard has come out against the new rules.

  28. Luxxe

    Both Gillard and Rudd should perhaps shoosh for a bit. Give the players air.

  29. Liz

    Except she doesn’t say that at all, desipis. She disagrees with some aspects of it. Different thing.

  30. desipis

    Liz, that’s true. Having now read what Gillard actually wrote I think that article is a bit misleading.

  31. Nickws

    Gillard is in no way doing what Conroy and various MSM figures have done, trying to stop the process from happening. She just wants it reformed for next go round.

    Though she does make a mistake in saying she could have rolled Rudd in 2010 under these new rules; no way would a huge majority of caucus have been up for a month long leadership campaign, not when there was so little time left in that parliament.

    (She also makes a mistake in saying the Libs have had that WorkChoices crap knocked out of them, but I understand why she wants to believe that, what with the senate now being run by freaks who might be tempted to scapegoat/destroy her FairWorkAustralia, according to whatever the voices in their heads are telling them.)

  32. Liz

    Desipis, it’s so irritating how lazy and sensationalist the media has become. It’s all ‘gotcha’ moments.

  33. Moz@home

    Watching the NZ Labour leadership change is edifying. They have a system, they’re touring round letting the membership see and question the leaders, the media is in a complete mess (some are supporting one candidate, others trying to do election reporting, still others trying to portray it as hopeless disunity, you name it). They even have two serious candidates plus a dickhead, so there’s the possibility of a Rick Santorum type winner.

    To me, the more Labour swing towards internal democracy the better their position is (I would say that, wouldn’t I, having switched from The Greens to The Pirates partly for that reason). But watching the NZ media fall over themselves on the issue makes me wish that Labour here were doing that. I would just love to see the commentariat (or commutariat, comrade) trying to get their heads around a month or so of serious, public debate as the ALP membership run through their leadership options before settling into a good long Greens-style policy development process. Especially if that process sidelines the MPs on the basis that their job is to be an effective opposition.

    Hearing Albo say “no, we don’t have a policy ready to implement on that. We are not the government. But if the Coalition want us to develop one for them we are more than willing to do so” would make me very happy. It would be one of those “happy the first time, happy the tenth time, happy the hundredth time” lines. Screw you, we’re the opposition, we are here to knock the rough edges off your policies, not implement our policies. But if you want us to implement our policies, just step aside and watch.