Batman Preselection, Julia Gillard and the ALP

This started life as an email to Crikey, to which I’m a subscriber. They’re about the only media outlet in this country which isn’t owned by some billionaire pushing their own barrow. I present it in it’s entirety.

I’m a card-carrying member of the ALP, looking forward to voting in the likely meaningless preselection in Batman in a few weeks.

The party is broken, but it has been for a long time. There are notionally 100 members of my branch, but only seven or eight turn up regularly to meetings. And I’ve not been one of them lately, too busy with my infant son. The rest of these invisible members are presumably part of the massive branch stack in Batman.

It appears to be possible that, if you had enough resources, you could in fact buy yourself a seat in Parliament. Which fits the definition of corruption. This is not confined to the ALP — didn’t Malcolm Turnbull spend hundreds of thousands of dollars “securing” his seat?

The party is broken and needs to fix itself, but why does this have to involve at least one term of a government lead by that frightening incompetent maniac Abbott and his rich cronies? Why does the entire country need to punished because the party is beholden to the NSW Right and Kevin Rudd’s ego?

I am actually a fan of the Gillard government, it has been far more progressive than would seem possible in a hung Parliament. With the glaring exception of its handling of boat-borne refugees. That “policy” makes”me want to leave not just the party but indeed the country.

The federal ALP, looked at from a policy and economic perspective, does not deserve the extraordinary level of vitriol that’s been directed at it . Listening to Julia Gillard in Parliament, she comes across as tough and smart, and the government sounds far saner than the clowns in opposition who treat the place as a circus. But there’s some weird disconnect between the performance of the government and the way is perceived by voters. Partly because of News Ltd running a sustained campaign against them, partly because of the way Gillard came to the office. But I hate to say it, it’s also been because of the extraordinary ongoing misogynist shit-storm around Gillard. It’s awful to watch, makes me lose my faith in my fellow countrymen. The answer to the often-asked question “is the country ready for a female prime minister?” is no, and that makes me sick to my stomach.

So we can all look forward to an Abbott-led recession, the winding back of environmental and social policy, and no doubt more outright sexist policies. And if we’re really lucky more drowned refugees. A great outcome for all.

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