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Breaking up is hard to do: How the ALP can differ from the Greens

Wickham, G. (2015) Breaking up is hard to do: How the ALP can differ from the Greens. The Conversation, 9 April 2015 .

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It’s both heartening and perplexing to read in the press about the ALP’s increasing determination, in the wake of the NSW election result, to make clear to voters that Labor is not allied to the Greens.

It’s heartening because it has become obvious since its 2010-13 “fling” with the Greens that the electorate will punish any failure by Labor to mark its independence. More than that, it’s heartening because a political party that isn’t sure what it stands for isn’t really a party.

It’s perplexing, on the other hand, because there seems to be considerable uncertainty within the party about where to look to find an independent progressive direction that can win elections. Has the current generation of Labor thinkers forgotten the names Bob Hawke and Paul Keating? Surely not.

These two leaders knew what to do with all three letters in “ALP”: a strong and confident Australia, a strong and confident workforce, and a strong and confident party. This was and remains widely attractive.

They strove for a strong and progressive Australian society, one that treated workers and employers as equally important. They convinced a majority of Australians that progress towards a stronger, fairer society would necessarily include a stronger, fairer economy – even if it entailed privatisation of some industries and assets. For them, a strong Australia was to be fully engaged in the world.

Item Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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