Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 03:48:08 GMT
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU>
From: Andrew Casey <email@example.com>
Oz election: we got slaughtered
By Andrew Casey
4 March 1996
We got slaughtered. Oz labor activists sitting around stunned this morning
after worst election result in 50 years.
It is the end of the Accord-era.
An interesting experiment in a wages-prices agreement between govt and
While nothing is perfect, I believe overall the formula was good in
delivering improvements to working people in the areas of education,
health,housing and social security. thirteen years after being elected to
govt we leave Australia a more socially cohesive, tolerant and egalitarian
society than when we came into power.
Our successes over thirteen years
can probably be best measured by the fact that the tories could only get
themselves elected by pretending to reject their New Right policies and,
like wolves in sheeps clothing, adopting a social democratic stance and
copying our policies.
PM Keating during the election campaign called then
Tories - "the photocopy party" - because they had taken our policies so
exactly and adopted them as their own.
how soon will the wolves take off the sheep's clothing? why didn't the voting public see through it?
These things will be debated for a long while.
Obviously there was a feeling that it was time to give the other side a go. but also there was a
feeling that the labor government - and most importantly its leader - had become too arrogant in power.
Our representation in parliament is (relatively) at the lowest it has been since the end of WWII. ( 52 MPs)
Looking for positives?
Some very good women, competent and
left-reformist, have been elected and are now - because of small numbers - in a good position to
influence the policy agenda.
The relationships between the two factions have changed dramatically....with the left being
The MPs who were former union officials become more
influential thus tying party back more closely to its working class base.
Martin Ferguson - ex-ACTU President - is now the natural leader of the
Left (Walker and Duncan defeated) and is being pushed by some in the media
to become deputy leader of the party. A position he is resisting.
There is a chance that the next leader of the party will be another former ACTU
President - Simon Crean. Tho that will only happen is the current Deputy
Leader, Kim Beazley, is defeated in his electorate. There is a very close
vote here and final counting of numbers not yet completed.
Only in the State of Victoria - where the Tories are led by a New Right leader - did
Labor do ok.... in fact pick up seats. (Leith/Melanie... Jenny Macklin
elected; Phil Cleary lost his seat; Julia Gillard looks like being a
senator; also Sue Mackay a Senator from Tas and Carolyn Jakobsen is back
A large part of our key leadership group were defeated. It will take at
least two terms to re-build.
The Federal Treasurer, Ralph Willis - (for info of HTUPers he was the first Aussie graduate
of HTUP) -was entrapped in the dying days of the campaign by a complex dirty tricks scam involving
fraudulent letters, probably produced by the Tories but police are still
investigating. The fact that Willis was forced to publicly apologise to
the Opposition fourty-eight hours before voting day hurt us badly.
Unfortunately bloodletting within the industrial wing is expected next
week with calls already for the powerful ACTU Secretary, Bill Kelty, to
resign over a politically inept speech he made during the campaign -
warning of class-war. Polls showed that this turned off many white-collar
The ACTU Executive meets in a little over a week's time.
The ACTU President, Jennie George, held a media conference this morning
in which she read out a statement about the election result but refused
to take any questions from the media.
The leaders of the different sections of the political wing have met already and agreed
that there will be no blood-letting. The
ex-PM, keating, has announced he will stand-down from leadership
position...and probably leave parliament.