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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Carmen Lawrence to Retire

I thought my first day off in months would be a quiet affair - I shouldn't have been so naive - but one thing I didn't expect to hear was the resignation from Federal Labor MP Carmen Lawrence.

Where do I start? Lawrence is the member of the Federal ALP that has most consistently impressed me over the past few years. She is eminently sensible, balanced, and principled. Sometimes, she has seemed an almost lone voice of sanity, especially during the Tampa crisis, at which time she resigned from the Shadow Cabinet in protest of the party's weak stance on the asylum seeker issue. Prior to her time in Federal Parliament, Lawrence was of course the first female Premier in Australian history, while in 2004 she became the ALP's first elected party president.

I have heard her speak most convincingly on a number of issues, from the place of women in politics; factionalism (at last year's Fabian Society forum, at which Robert Ray's comments unjustly hogged the limelight and her superior speech almost entirely ignored), to the use of fear as a political weapon.

It sounds like I'm gushing, and I suppose I am - chiefly because she's been an MP worth gushing about. It's always a terrible shame to see the resignation of a progressive and courageous politician, but she can certainly leave confident in the knowledge of her continuing influence.

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