2013 could be summed up as the year when neither Labor under Rudd, nor the Coalition under Abbott proved capable of filling the gap left by the exhaustion of Labor’s historical project under Gillard.
Rudd’s departure does not mean the Australian political system will be any less vulnerable to an anti-political attack either from within or without. It’s just that it is unlikely next time it will be done with such panache.
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.
Could it be that the RBA had more influence over election timing than Sussex St?
The common theme running through the message is a new way economic policy is being viewed, namely that government is not responsible for the state of the economy, rather just for protecting the electorate from the worst of it.
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.
The Great Destabiliser has moved up a notch.