Cartoon: By Nicholson
I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. – Adam Smith
Labor has a rather confused idea of what constitutes the national interest. One consistent principle in the Labor version though, is that it has to coincide with Labor’s interest or that of one or more of the membership elite.
Leadership candidate, Bill Shorten is no exception. With questions over his loyalty, having voted to overthrow Rudd#1 in favor of Gillard, then to toss her out in favor of Rudd#2, Bill claims the national interest was at stake:
"I wanted to just let myself be swept up in it," Ms Gillard said. "Losing power is felt physically, emotionally, in waves of sensation, in moments of acute distress".
But leadership contender Bill Shorten yesterday defended the decision to return to Mr Rudd, saying it was in the national interest for Labor to be competitive. "I believe that Kevin Rudd did make Labor competitive," Mr Shorten said.
Outgoing agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon argued that Labor under Mr Rudd had added about 10 seats to its tally compared with the likely result under Ms Gillard.
Apparently the interests of the nation can come down to something as simple as the electoral fortunes of a political party, especially if it is Shorten’s.
This statement is somewhat reminiscent of one by Joh Bjelke Petersen in defending his gerrymander back in the 70s, when he claimed that the National Party had a responsibility to do everything in its power to prevent Labor getting into office.