Feature

Australia: Pressing the self-destruct button

Putting Labor’s infighting on display for the whole country to see is bad for the brand, said Nicolas Stuart at the Canberra Times.

Nicolas StuartCanberra Times

Why is the Labor Party committing suicide? asked Nicolas Stuart. Or to put it another way, why is Kevin Rudd trying to kill it? The former prime minister has been “campaigning furiously” to get his job back ever since Julia Gillard took it from him in 2010 in a Labor leadership struggle. Yet anyone who could count could see that even though Gillard’s entire tenure has been one “self-inflicted disaster” after another, Rudd did not have the numbers to unseat her. At least a third of the party members in Parliament “would have preferred to cut out their tongues with blunt saws rather than acclaim him as leader again,” and another third simply disliked him. That’s what makes Rudd’s failed attempt last week to wrest control from Gillard not just futile, but “inexplicable, pointless, and self-indulgent.” Putting Labor’s infighting on display for the whole country to see is bad for the brand. Rudd “claims to love Labor, but the only thing his actions have achieved is to cripple its legitimacy and divide the party.” It doesn’t matter that he is more popular among the voters than either Gillard or the opposition leader. At this point, “enough Labor MPs hate—and mark that word ‘hate’—him so much that there will never, ever again be a Rudd government.”

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