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Oct 4, 2011

ALP President contest heats up.

Image, how the public sees things. Cartoon By Bill Leak.

The Alp Presidency comes up for election in December and is notable for the contrast in views of the candidates, from frontrunner Tony Sheldon who has been openly critical of government policy, to Victorian state MP Jane Garrett, who believes the party needs to move further to the left to counteract the Greens. Good luck with that Jane.

With an electorate deserting the party in droves and tired of ever increasing regulation, taxes, incompetence, profligate spending, and the perception that the Greens are running the show, it is difficult to understand why they would be attracted to a party matching the extreme agenda of Bob Brown. Labor should be grateful to the Greens for taking on their lunatic fringe rather than competing to get them back:
THE fight for Labor's federal presidency has become a battle over the values and direction of the party, with rookie Victorian state MP Jane Garrett agitating for a shift to the Left to defeat the growing threat of the Greens.

Ms Garrett, one of three Left faction candidates vying for the member-elected position, is calling for Labor's policies to become more progressive and courageous, and for the government to show more compassion to asylum-seekers and same-sex couples.

"We should never lose sight of the fact that our policy strengths are those with their foundations in making a just and fair society," Ms Garrett says in her candidate statement. "By building on these strengths, I believe we can see off the challenge represented by the Greens.”
Sheldon on the other hand should shake things up a bit:
A PROMINENT union leader who compared Julia Gillard's carbon tax to a "death tax" and a senior cabinet minister to a corpse is a frontrunner in the six-way contest for the ALP national presidency.

Tony Sheldon, national secretary of the Transport Workers Union, has also told party members that he would be prepared to question the Gillard government's "political direction" if he were elected at the ALP national conference in December.

Mr Sheldon, who is locked in an industrial dispute with Qantas, angered senior government figures in July when he described the carbon tax as "a death tax" given its likely impact on truck drivers. He also likened the Workplace Relations Minister Chris Evans to the corpse in the movie Weekend at Bernie's -- "the dead guy that stands in the middle", unable to act.
The fact that Sheldon is frontrunner with those views must surely give the Labor politicians pause for thought. If he is considered even electable with such views, the MPs have to be wildly out of touch with the rank and file.

One of the serious problems with political parties and particularly Labor, is that they tend to place faith in parliamentary leaders ahead of commonsense. Keeping the faith has in the case of Labor cost them valuable time, during which they could have reassessed their direction and placed themselves in a better position to represent the views of the mainstream. As it stands, they are doomed.

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