Modia Minotaur

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Leadership

Everyone knew that the Victorian pre-selection would lead to some major bloodletting within the Labor Party, but what a week it has been. Who would have thought, even a fortnight ago, that we would have been hearing the words `Simon Crean' and `leader' in the same sentence. Speculation about Crean making a leadership tilt are, I think, extremely unwise. As Andrew West aptly put it in his Herald blog, Crean never really had `the leadership gene', which is certainly not to say he hasn't got a valuable contribution to make, but the best contribution need not necessarily be made from the top - someone like Lindsay Tanner certainly proves that.

The extent to which Julia Gillard has also re-emerged as a genuine leadership contender is also debatable. There has been a lot of discussion about the extent to which she has `positioned' herself during the pre-selection, and taken strategic moves towards a leadership challenge, but it should be remembered that the moves she has taken are actually quite risky ones, and ones that are more likely to put her at odds with the only ones who really matter in a leadership challenge: her colleagues. People like Stephen Conroy become powerful because they give favours; people owe them a great deal. This is why factionalism works. Someone who seeks to overturn factionalism seeks to overturn a very effective machine that has put a large quantity of their colleagues where they are today - in some cases, colleagues who would not have obtained their positions on merit alone. Gillard would be a formidable and threatening figure to many in the Labor Party.

That is not to say that Gillard is not a future leader. I'd like very much to see her there, and though there is no rank and file vote for leadership, public opinion does hold some sway. A series of coincidences have gone her way this week - it was reported today that the producers of Australian Story, not Gillard herself, decided to move forward this week's episode (which has been in planning since October last year) - the Sydney Institute speech also perhaps not a coincidence but a lucky juxtaposition. It remains to be seen whether she will continue to capitalise on these opportunities, and whether the events of this week represent a lucky conjunction of the stars, or the start of a genuine new leadership challenge.

8 Comments:

At 6:49 pm, Blogger Splatterbottom said...

Julia Gillard is all the left have to cling to. No wonder they are despondent lately.

Maybe she needs to take your suggestion and be a little freer with her favours.

 
At 8:26 pm, Blogger Zoe said...

Charming contribution, splatterbottom.

MM, I agree that factionalism is an effective way to dispense patronage - but it needs to do it behind closed doors if we ever hope to get into government federally.

 
At 1:23 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

See, this is the problem with factionalism - should people get into positions of power simply because they're the one who made the most and best deals? In a way, I prefer the fact that Labor is at least doing it in the open - we all know it's exactly the same in the Liberal Party, but it's done behind closed doors and out of sight of the public, which gives it the veneer of respectability.

It amuses me how much Julia Gillard scares some people. Especially on the right. :)

 
At 4:13 pm, Blogger Splatterbottom said...

It amuses me how much Julia Gillard scares some people. Especially on the right.

I can't speak for the right, but I suspect the only ALP leader John Howard would prefer to face than Kim Beazley is in fact dear Julia.

I'm sure he prays nightly for a leader form the left, although Julia, too her credit appears to have at least attempted to ditch the left.

 
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