can ya imagine if this crew had been elected

  1. 1,481 Posts.
    Until Labour loses this factional approach and grows up this is what will always define them

    ....infighting, disharmony and vested interests rather than unity.

    Can you imagine this rabble leading Oz??

    Latham frontbench in turmoil
    By Steve Lewis and Brad Norington
    October 20, 2004

    MARK Latham's ability to hold a warring Labor Party together is being stretched to its limit after another frontbencher quit and foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd indicated he was considering his future.

    Lindsay Tanner... serious reservations / Richard Cesar-Wright

    Labor communications spokesman Lindsay Tanner became the sixth frontbencher to stand down, claiming he had "serious reservations" over the party's response to the election debacle, as factional infighting also threatened the position of former leader Simon Crean.

    Mr Rudd, one of Labor's best frontbench performers, made a personal appeal yesterday to Mr Latham for a switch from foreign affairs to Treasury.

    But he is understood to have been told that the Labor leader is choosing between left-winger Julia Gillard and Stephen Smith.

    The Opposition Leader is believed to be leaning towards appointing Ms Gillard but that decision has triggered deep rumblings over his leadership style.

    As the blood-letting flowed around the country, Mr Latham's long-time mentor, Gough Whitlam, conceded Labor was likely to spend another two terms in the wilderness.

    And incoming national president Barry Jones launched a stinging attack on the ALP's election strategy.

    Mr Jones claimed the Government had "set the terms of engagement" for the election, which Labor had then meekly followed.

    Mr Crean is under immense pressure to quit the shadow ministry as he struggled to gain the support of Victorian MPs from his own faction.

    In a rare bout of good news for Labor, Justine Elliot claimed victory last night in the battle for the seat of Richmond after she led Nationals minister Larry Anthony by about 320 votes.

    But there are serious concerns that the present haemorrhaging within Labor's ranks will not end soon, as the party engages in a vicious bout of post-election recrimination.

    Uncertainty over Mr Rudd's position prompted speculation that his departure from the front bench, although considered unlikely, would be highly damaging.

    "If that occurred, Latham's leadership would be terminal," one source said.

    Mr Tanner, who could not be contacted last night, was considered one of the party's brightest performers.

    Announcing that he was quitting the front bench, Mr Tanner said he had "absolutely no complaint about how Mark Latham has dealt with me personally, but I have serious reservations about the emerging Labor response to our latest election defeat".

    "I intend to argue for change in Labor's approach from the back bench," he said.

    He joins other frontbenchers, including former leader Kim Beazley, finance spokesman Bob McMullan, long-time senator John Faulkner and workplace relations spokesman Craig Emerson, in heading to the back bench.

    Mr Jones, who will take over from Carmen Lawrence as Labor's national president in late January, delivered last night a blunt assessment on why Labor lost.

    The former Hawke government minister was critical of Labor for avoiding debate on "moral" issues such as refugees and the Iraq war. Instead, he said Labor had focused on a "narrow, exclusively economic agenda", which played into the Government's hands.

    "What makes the Labor Party historically richer and stronger is that it has more than one message," he told The Australian.

    "The primary problem is that, to a quite extraordinary degree, the Government really set the terms of engagement both for itself and for the Opposition.

    "It's as if (the Government) said, 'Let's concentrate on the economy'. 'Right,' said Labor, 'don't raise the Iraq war, refugees, Aborigines -- don't mention any moral issues, let's just talk about money.'

    "Once they decided that, (the Government) really had Labor on toast."

    Adding to the gloom, former prime minister Mr Whitlam was pessimistic Labor that had the firepower to win the next election. He admitted it might take until 2010 for Labor to win office.

    "I suppose more realistically, it would be two terms," Mr Whitlam said, during an appearance in Melbourne.

    And some female MPs are demanding that the party adopt an affirmative action agenda.

    Arriving at a Right factional meeting in Sydney yesterday, NSW MP Julia Irwin warned of a backlash if no women were preselected for the shadow ministry.

    "If there isn't, they'll have a lot to answer for," she said.

    "They'll certainly know if they haven't done the right thing."

    But Labor's national president, Dr Lawrence, rejected suggestions of a female quota.

    "It's bad enough that the factional divide can cause some people to be promoted who probably don't deserve it," she said.

    "My recommendation to all of my colleagues is to sit back, take a deep breath, think hard, and act accordingly."

    Additional reporting: Samantha Maiden and Drew Warne-Smith

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