Posts Tagged ‘Julia Gillard’

What can Labour learn from the crisis in Australian Labor?

26/06/2013, 01:39:05 PM

by David Ward

Today Julia Gillard asked her colleagues to yet again decide between her and Kevin Rudd, and was removed in the same way she had removed him several years ago. But the soap opera aside it is worth here in Britain thinking about what the peculiar situation of a centre left party, having led the country through the global crisis in relative prosperity, heading towards an electoral wipeout against a Liberal party promising austerity.

Firstly, it shows the importance of avoiding internal squabbles. The ALP ditched its most successful politician since the 1990’s after only one negative poll. Rudd did not have the friendly relationship with his ALP colleagues, or backing amongst trade unions as Julia Gillard. One of Ed Miliband’s great successes has been to keep the party largely united, however the current troubles with selections in Falkirk and candidates for the European Parliament show there is no room for complacency.

Despite continued economic growth due to demand for Australian coal, uranium and iron ore, there has still been an unwinding of the New Labour style model set by Hawke and Keating in the 80s and 90s. Australian households are the second most indebted in the world after the UK and manufacturing has been weakened by high Australian Dollar. In parallel to our finance sector those who did not work or own shares in mining have seen higher prices while their earnings have not kept pace. Many people feel under pressure and the ALP is not offering a clear vision, often blown off course by media focus on issues like ‘boat people’.

Here Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have been talking of ‘pre-distribution’ and how we move beyond sharing the proceeds of growth, while others such as ‘In the Black Labour’ have contributed other ideas. Whatever the answer, it is clear that a narrative for change in the new world is needed. Recent polls showing only 30% trust Labour with the economy are a worry only two years away from a general election.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Opposition has a lure like crack cocaine to some Labour activists, writes Helen Liddell

24/07/2010, 02:30:36 PM

I turn my back for five minutes – well, four and a half years – and meerkats rule the advertising world and the Lib Dems show their true colours. Enough to  make me turn around and head back to Australia.

Those halcyon days with Labour Governments in Australia and Britain did help us leverage a progressive agenda together on the world stage. Who can forget Kevin Rudd, within days of his election as Aussie PM, signing the Kyoto protocol, neutralising the last alliance the Bush administration had on denying climate change.

 The financial crisis saw Brown and Rudd redefine world economic geography by creating a more meaningful G20 with the world’s emerging nations instead of the Rich Man’s Club of the G 8.

Labor chose the first ever woman Governor General, a human rights lawyer at that – and she took her oath of office wearing the purple of the suffragettes. Some Sheila.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Julia Gillard has got what it takes to win, writes Sue Regan

19/07/2010, 05:40:40 PM

The Australian federal election campaign is already proving to be a hard fought contest. Australian elections tend to be volatile and unpredictable and it is far from certain who will come out on top on 21st August. But it does look increasingly promising that the current Labor government could be returned to power – a prospect highly unlikely less than a month ago. So what’s changed? Two bold moves have pushed Labor’s poll ratings from the doldrums to an election winning (just) lead.

The first move was a change of leader. On 24th June, Kevin Rudd, the then Prime Minister resigned in the knowledge that he had fatally lost the support of the parliamentary Labor party, the Labor caucus. Julia Gillard, the then deputy prime minister, stepped up and became Australia’s first female prime minister. It was the first time the Labor caucus had removed a leader in their first term as prime minister. The move was rapid, certainly ruthless and many would say premature. Polling released the day after the coup suggest Rudd could have won the coming election. But most commentators agree that the poll lead now enjoyed by Labor is the result of the Gillard-factor.

Julia Gillard (born in Wales and citing Nye Bevan as one of her political heroes) commands wide public support. Tony Abbot (most famously known for his choice of swimwear) is the leader of the opposition (a coalition between the Liberals and the smaller National Party) and consistently lags in double figures behind Gillard in ‘preferred prime minister’ polling. 


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Ignore the bookies, the Australian election will be a close run thing says Tom Cameron

19/07/2010, 05:36:36 PM

For the first time ever an Australian Prime Minister who’s not a bloke has taken the charming five minute drive from Parliament House to the Canberra residence of the Governor General and advised the Queen’s representative of a Federal election date.  That in itself is a terrific thing. 

Interestingly, for the first time since 1993 neither of the two main party leaders – Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott – have previously faced the people in their bid to become the nation’s leader.  It’s also unprecedented that a Prime Minister has challenged and successfully deposed their first term colleague as party leader and sought their own mandate from the people only a few weeks after such a coup. 

And this coming contest will be only the second August election in Australia’s history, the last being back in the 1940s.  So there are quite a few rarities on offer in this 2010 Federal election, but not nearly so many predictabilities. 

If there is one tried and tested way to smartly pick Australian election results at the start of the campaign, it would be to check the bookies odds.  Rarely if ever do the punters end up getting it wrong.  So it is some surprise to concentrate one’s attention Down Under now and find not just a swiftly changed political landscape of the post-Rudd type, but an election scene that the book makers believe Labour will dominate. 


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

As Australia goes to the polls, Labor hope for a narrow win

19/07/2010, 05:26:53 PM

On Saturday, after just three weeks in office, Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called a General Election. She has moved rapidly since deposing Kevin Rudd. Neutralising negatives on climate change, immigration and on the mining tax she has seen a turn-around in Labour’s fortunes in the polls. The most recent poll gives Labor a 10 point lead over the opposition – 55-45, with votes coming almost equally from the Tories and from the Greens.

This is a high-stakes election, there hasn’t been a one-term government in Australia since the Depression. The (extraordinarily short) three year term gives a virtually automatic re-election to governments. And Labor should be riding high – Australia hasn’t had a recession, the minerals boom continues and the government have done well on issues from health care reform through to the Apology to the ‘stolen generation’ of Aboriginal children. But, as Gillard has admitted, the government lost its way. Rudd called climate change the ‘greatest moral challenge of our time’, and the voters responded strongly to this. Unfortunately, the legislation stalled and rather than attack the Greens and the Liberals who would have blocked it in the Senate, Rudd took all the blame on himself.  The Labor Party fell in the polls and looked unelectable. That’s when the ruthless unsentimentality of Australian Labor kicked in.

And it’s a important election for British Labour. The sister party relationship with the ALP is the closest we have – it’s not just the shared language and the historic links. There’s a living, vital connection. The modernising of Australia led by Hawke and Keating in the 80s an early 90s gave a policy inspiration to New Labour and a friendly home for visitors. In turn when we were in office over the last 13 years many Australians have visited. In 2007 I was able to work on the Australian election and afterwards helped to facilitate links between Australian and British ministers.

To kick off coverage we’ve go two voices. Tom Cameron is an Australian special adviser who worked in Victoria Street before and during the General Election. Sue Regan was until recently Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation.

John McTernan is guest editing Labour Uncut for the next ten days. He writes for The Scotsman and The Daily Telegraph.

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

It’s time to stir up the policy debate, says guest editor John McTernan

16/07/2010, 02:23:00 PM

Over the next ten days I’ll be Labour Uncut’s first guest editor. Many thanks to Siôn for the chance to do this. I hope that regular readers will get the same enjoyment from the site that they are used to – and that I can add something different as well. So, the usual Uncut team will be joined by a range of other voices. I’m planning to have some international reflections – the crisis of social democracy is Europe-wide – but it won’t all be pessimism, there’s an Australian General Election in the offing with Labor, under its new leader Julia Gillard set for a second term.

There’ll be voices from the grassroots, not surprisingly some will be Scots. One of the dangers of the immediate post-election is that in pausing to draw breath after the exhaustion of a campaign period we break all the good habits we have established. Now is precisely the time we should be redoubling our campaigning efforts as the excellent by-election results in Walsall and Preston show – as does the constant flow of disaffected Liberal Democrat members to Labour. But most of all, I want to provoke a lively policy debate.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Friday News Review

25/06/2010, 07:22:18 AM

Liberal lies and more post budget fallout

“Labour leadership candidate Ed Miliband seized on Mr Hughes’s remarks as evidence that cracks were beginning to appear in the coalition. Privately, LibDems are concerned that capital gains tax was not raised enough for those on high wages.” – The Daily Mail

“What’s really going on is that Paddy Ashdown would love to have been Deputy Prime Minister and he has leader envy. He sits there looking at two nodding Lib-Dem dogs on the front bench and he’s not one of them. And it hurts.” – David Miliband, The Mirror

“Two things in life are inevitable, said Benjamin Franklin, death and taxes. The Conservatives campaigned against “Labour’s death tax” and against “Labour’s jobs tax”. But Labour left it to the Lib Dems to campaign against the Tory VAT tax bombshell. So how will Labour characterise the VAT rise that will bring an end to the New Year sales? They’ve got a little time to work it out…” – The New Statesman

“Labour leadership contender Ed Balls makes clear in today’s Mirror, VAT is a regressive Tory levy on the people of Britain. Mr Osborne’s raid on ordinary, hard-working families was avoidable.” – The Mirror

“The Labour leadership contenders have all declared that they will vote against the legislation to enable “free schools”. But once the genie of choice is out of the bottle, it is a brave socialist who tries to stuff it back in. Parents who send their children to these schools will have reason and motivation to vote Conservative as long as Labour opposes them.” – The Telegraph

Housing takes to the stage

“David Miliband – “For me, community is one of the things that makes life worth living. And while it’s often said how fast moving the modern world is, a sense of belonging to the place where we live is still just as important as ever. That’s my starting point for thinking about housing policy.” – Inside Housing

“Abbott also predicted that, “I am going to see thousands of people in London evicted precisely as a consequence of these housing benefit changes.” Is she right?” – The Guardian

The other race

“Labour nationally is now going through a process of renewal and change to a new generation of leadership. We in London need to do the same and choose a mayoral candidate for 2012 who reflects the modern 21st century London. London is a dynamic vibrant melting pot of different cultures. We need new leadership which reflects that dynamism and vitality. We need a…” – Mike Gapes, Progress

Eyes down under

“When Julia Gillard’s family emigrated to Australia from South Wales in 1966, little did they dream that their daughter would make history as the country’s first female prime minister. Yesterday, after her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, was unceremoniously dumped by his own party, Ms Gillard was sworn in – appropriately enough by the nation’s first female Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.” – The Independent

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon