Clearing out the house

Wednesday, 25 July 2007 

The Age editorial this morning is missing the point on Rudd’s abandonment of opposition to logging in Tasmania. Rudd is not following Howard because he has to win votes. In fact it’s the opposite. There has not been a Labor leader for a long while under as little pressure to win votes to win an election as this one. He is abandoning the Green position because he now can.

Bob Brown’s warning that the Greens may withdraw preferences was closer to the mark. For nearly thirty years, Labor has needed the environmental issue to maintain anti-business credentials to manage the impact on its own constituency (both in the electorate and internally) of the declining role of the unions. The Greens have been major beneficiaries of this to have credibility as a separate entity (it is striking how much their policies simply ape the left-wing of the ALP). Now as Rudd starts reorganising the ALP around the international agenda (including climate change), he has less need for either the unions or domestic environmental issues to maintain unity. Ironically, this internal shift by Labor will probably then be bad news for the Greens and Brown’s threat is starting to look rather stale.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Wednesday, 25 July 2007.

Filed under Tactics

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