The left have been portraying Indonesia as the victim and Australia as the bully but the reality is more the reverse.
Into a vacuum could step somebody that has never made a point of standing for anything (or behind anyone) in particular. From that angle, Labor might have just found its best candidate.
The will for unity merely reflects the reality of Labor today after the historic left-right battles and the more recent battles between the reformers and the power brokers have run their course.
The end of that tension in Labor is because Rudd’s failure has meant there is now no one in Labor who can turn an attack on the party’s existing power structures into an electoral asset.
Rudd’s problem was that he did not clarify why he was distinct from the party that had dumped him and the institutions that had blocked his return, which would have given the “New Way” slogan any meaning.
In failing to make its anti-political attack on the Coalition, Labor is seeing it rebound and they being the “political” operators.
The political agenda we see now are the leftovers from a time when the major parties represented clear social bases in the electorate which they no longer do.
Rudd appears to have learnt lessons in exile, but the main one doesn’t look to be to consult more with his colleagues.
When Labor is in a position to stop slapping asylum seekers about, we will know that a new political arrangement is falling into place.
For the union and factional leadership at the federal level, the obvious path to recovering control over the party is to turn it into a parliamentary rump.