Oct 172013

So, the Australian Labor Party leader election process – the so-called democratised election process – has been & gone. Like all forms of democracy this one seems to be just like all the others in that it’s mythical, visits irregularly in this case, but always delivers a less than desirable outcome.

I thought, based on the level of hype, advertising, propaganda, marketing material from the Shorten camp, that he’d get up. His cause was being pushed extremely hard and must have cost an absolute motza to support. Clearly, the right wing of the party – Shorten’s union collaborators – were pumping money into his campaign in that time honoured Labor way. Whatever it takes.

That Anthony Albanese secured 60% of the rank-and-file vote almost goes without saying. Those of us in the trenches don’t like Shorten, what he stands for, and what he has done – along with a few fellow travellers – to the Party we love. I took particular umbrage at the way my own party branch Federal Election Committee secretary took it upon himself to send me a glossy, mass-print letter telling me why HE was backing Shorten. Such was the energy and drive of the Shorten campaign that it had clearly suborned those among the rank and file who were perceived to have any influence at all. The Albanese campaign, by contrast was decidedly low-key, almost deliberately inoffensive. Hey, it’s me, Albo. You know me, I can do the job, so let’s get on with it.

I’m disappointed with the outcome because I don’t believe the best person from a leadership stance won the ballot. I’ve watched Shorten since his appointment, in front of the media and he is not impressive at all. He doesn’t speak well, has no presence, in fact, reminded me of a dictaphone left on a play loop. On message, but oh-so bloody monotonous. I’m disappointed with the outcome because of the obvious imbalance between the rank and file, and Caucus. We in the trenches get one vote, essentially the much valued one-vote-one-value system. Caucus, on the other hand, effectively has 345 values for each vote, as alluded to by this article in The Conversation. The process is flawed and I fear that while ever the balance of power stays with Caucus, it will remain flawed. The experiment is well worth the pain and I’m sure continued agitation from the grass roots will eventually draw the necessary change. I’m hopeful, anyway.

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