Monday, 9 September 2013

The audacity of the feminine

I've been thinking a lot about the Opposition leadership, as have a lot of people, and a conversation I struck up on Twitter with Sarah Joseph (@profsarahj) keeps coming to mind. Sarah is an engaged and intelligent participant in my social graph. We talked about what had made Abbott successful. "I think [Right] is more audacious and it pays off," she said. "Thatcher. Reagan. Roosevelt. Even many Whitlam values hung around til Howard."

"I also think people crying out fir audacity. Majors on the nose. I mean, why vote for Palmer?" Sarah went on. And it made me think about, for example, Campbell Newman running in the Queensland state campaign in 2011 and early 2012 without even holding a parliamentary seat. Newman went on the crush Anna Bligh's government so badly Labor were reduced to seven seats statewide. A devastating and surprising result.

Tony Abbott has been working away at the ALP since 2009 when he took the Coalition leadership, and reduced their lead in the 2010 election to nothing - literally. In fact the Coalition had more lower house seats then Labor. By sticking to his message and by not making any glaring mistakes Abbott converted that slight lead into a convincing lead in 2013, attaining a 3.5% swing nationally.

Now that the usual suspects from Labor have been canvassed - Albo, Shorten, Bowen, Swan - and have all passed on the offer of the poisoned chalice, it's time for the ALP to do something to really capture the imagination of the electorate. Give a big "fuck-you" to the Coalition as it starts to settle in and find its stride. To really upset the apple cart Labor needs to do something big and I suggest bringing Tanya Plibersek into the leadership role, reignite the "misogyny" debate and really get right up the nose of the now-complacent Coalition. Never mind going for the safe option - the stabbing of Rudd in 2010 and the execution of Gillard in 2013 belong in this category - and really go all-out to make a splash that the electorate won't expect.

Plibersek for ALP leadership will completely set the cat among the pigeons, unbalance the still-uncommissioned Coalition, and get the electorate talking. Let's make another Clover Moore. Sydney, you've come of age!

1 comment:

Philip White said...

Yeah give Pilbo a shot but never cease giving "a big 'fuck-you' to the skeleton of Labor as it starts to settle in and find its stride." Looks to me like it's rearing to rebuild itself in exactly the same old smelly mould as before. Maybe we'll have to forget it, and start something better.