Monday, December 04, 2006

Kevin Rudd Wins ALP Leadership

Today's news is rather dominated by the news that Kevin Rudd has won leadership of the Federal ALP. (the party in Opposition).

He has promised Australian voters a new style of leadership. He said to reporters:
"Today the Australian Labor Party elected a new leadership team with a new leadership style for Australia's future, a new style of leadership"
Some recent polls, including those published in this morning's papers, suggest that Mr Rudd will increase Labor's primary vote, if an election were held today. But that is not enough; and neither is a change of leadership style.

Mr Rudd certainly presents better on visual media than Mr Beazley. He is eloquent, reasoned and measured in his voice. His "media style" seems to have similar traits to that of Mr Howard. This ought to mean that Mr Rudd will show an improvement on Mr Beazley in the "Preferred Prime Minister" polls. He will undoubtedly have a honeymoon period of 1-3 months. It is after that, that Mr Howard will be watching for the most opportune time to call an election.

However, style is insufficient to make the Australian public change its voting pattern. It will certainly help, but some more substance is required, especially nearer election time. The substance has to be positive: what will the ALP do; how will they guide Australia's economic and political interests, both nationally and globally.

He has already identified industrial relations, climate change, education and federation as areas of difference between the Liberal/National and Labor Parties. They are certainly areas where John Howard has sought to exercise and increase his political power. One news report suggested there could be a more interventionist industrial policy. Under John Howard's rule, the proportion of Australia's GDP from industry has fallen to about 10% - the lowest of OECD nations, including lower than NZ.

Mr Rudd has much work to do to convince Australian voters that he has more than "style".

The Analyst