A marriage of convenience

Friday, 25 May 2007 

Seeing Rudd at his new conference defending his wife’s business activities reminds of the double-act being played in the Labor leadership.

Labor is running two parallel campaigns on industrial relations. One is the internally driven one headed by Julia Gillard to manage a marginalised union movement and cohere its own supporter base, including those that had drifted off to the Greens. The other is the more external campaign run by Rudd where industrial relations are less prominent and confined to the vague promise that ‘a fair go is not thrown out the back door’.

Both campaigns are necessary. If commentators think Gillard is being too hard-line then they underestimate the level of demoralisation in the Labor party’s support base that must be addressed. However, it is important for Labor’s electoral chances that it does not start mixing the two up and begin believing that opposition to Workchoices is central to its re-election. Despite Rudd’s more lukewarm approach on IR, there has been a danger in recent weeks of precisely this happening. Rudd’s comment that the episode would “give fresh cause for thought” over the way Labor is conducting its IR campaign looks like a way of using the embarrassment to shift the emphasis away from Workchoices and back towards the issues which will win the election.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Friday, 25 May 2007.

Filed under Tactics

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