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What Labor needs to save itself. By PAWAN LUTHRA
Labor is haemorrhaging. After the excruciating display of speech by former head of the HSU and Member of Dobell Craig Thomson as he tried to explain the accusations of impropriety against him, it is clear that this problem is not going to fade into the background for the Gillard government. This boil is going to fester and worsen, and rather than healing it is going to cause widespread infection through Labor.
With a hung Parliament, Prime Minister Gillard just cannot move in any form against her former Labor party colleague. While there are cries of reason that the Parliament cannot be judge and jury on such issues, the mere fact that there is a strong 1,100 page report by Fair Work Australia in which Craig Thomson is mentioned a few times, is enough to create a very strong case for action to be taken. The Thomson debacle has been crippling for Labor, even overshadowing the Budget and any government-related issues of state that are crucial to Australia’s wellbeing.
The longer the Craig Thomson saga goes on, the more the Labor party will be hurt. Already suffering from low polling, the confidence in the party is at an all-time low. Pundits and experts have all but written Labor off at the next election scheduled for Sept-Oct 2013, and not only for a single term, but they may be out of office for at least two to three terms! The danger is that this diminishing confidence in Labor can make this exile extend to an even longer period.
It may be time for a rat to emerge in Labor’s ranks, who will summon up the nerve to publically call for what Australians are waiting an hoping for – a fresh election and hopefully, a good dose of clean air. It is not even thinkable that Independents such as Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor or Andrew Wilkie will step forward to force the government into an early election. Holding their seats by slim margins, the wrath of the Liberal National Party will be inflicted on them during campaigning, as the Coalition goes all out to win back these seats. The Independents’ allegiance towards Labor will not be seen in the best light by their electorates, and it will take a brave person to wager a bet on them retaining their seats. There are limited jobs for ex-politicians, so do not expect them to pull the plug on the Labor party.
There must be a brave Labor person who will be willing to break ranks and allow an election to take place, rather than allow the party to run its full term only to lose and never come back into the arena of Australian politics. And this person may need to be applauded in the history of the Labor party, as they could well be the one who lances the boil and cleans the wound, letting the slow process of recovery happen. Before it is too late.