Thursday, April 26, 2007

Kevin Rudd & Labor's National Conference

Kevin Rudd faces several hurdles at the upcoming Labor Party Conference.

  • Uranium mining has always been a divisive issue within Labor's ranks. Twenty-five years ago it caused bitter division within the party. Not much has changed. There are several member sof his team opposed to more uranimium mining, let alone allowing the development of more mines. Among them are Anthony Albanese and Peter Garrett, the Federal Opposition's environment spokesman.
  • Industrial Relations: the announcement of the "Fair Work Australia" agency, to replace the Industrial Relations Commission. The Industrial Relations Commission has already been abolished by the Government's WorkChoices legislation. The new agency will bring together the Fair Pay Commission, the Office of Workplace Services and the Office of the Employment Advocate: all current government agencies uunder effective Ministerial control. The paln is to sidleine any political criticism of simply repealing Workchoices: a move that would cost Labor a considerable number of votes. Further IR changes under Labor would see secret ballots on strikes.

These two issues alone will be a test of Kevin Rudd's leadership. If the National Conference is seen by voters as degenerating into in-fighting, bickering and divisiveness, then Kevin Rudd will lose the Federal Election because voters will perceive, rightly or wrongly, the Labor Opposition as a rabble.

The Analyst