Please stop talking, Labor

In the wake of yesterday’s anticlimactic leadership “spill”, the Labor party is licking their wounds and the general public is left with a very bad taste in their mouth.

Since the Rudd knifing in June 2010, I’ve heard dozens of people exclaim “I voted for Rudd, not [Insert expletives here] Gillard!” People seem to forget that you vote for a party, not a prime minister. If you made decisions based solely on the party’s leaders, you fucked up. I’m willing to bet you get 95% of your political opinions from a Women’s Day writeup about Gillard’s new glasses. Policy should be your deciding factor. Sure, I wouldn’t trust Abbott to represent an U14 interschool rounders team, let alone my country, but my vote comes down to policies. Unlike transient leaders with their own agendas, these are the changes that will affect millions of people years down the track.

One of the major parties is fighting the good fight with policies benefiting the 99%. Think back to when Rudd was kicked off the top spot by his own party. Popularity was a major factor; the Australian public was losing faith in him and Labor was doubtful of his ability to win the next election. But what caused such a sudden drop in the polls? Rudd was on track to getting heaps of shit done, where did he go so wrong? He didn’t. Big business brought him down. His one mistake was thinking he could take on the mining corporations, take money out of Gina Rinehart’s already overflowing pockets. Taxing the mining companies was a brave move, but proved to be Rudd’s downfall. These companies had (have) huge amounts of money and power, thus were able to mount a campaign that successfully convinced the Australian public that taking from the rich and giving to the poor was a bad thing. Labor used Rudd’s axing to distance themselves from the tax, saving the party at the expense of their leader.

Interestingly, yesterday’s theatrics came shortly after Labor attempted to push their tough (albeit rushed) media reform through. Another attempt to reduce the power of big business, this time the villain (or victim, depending on your point of view) was Murdoch and his empire. If you think the Australian media presents news in a professional and unbiased way, odds are you also think Andrew Bolt is a modern day Australian hero. Another attempt on multi-billion dollar corporations sees another leadership coup. Coincidence? Maybe. But you can be sure money is changing hands behind the scenes to influence decisions and keep the wealthy wealthy.

I am a Rudd fan, but for the sake of the party and the future of this country, I just wish Labor would get their shit together and let Gillard take them to the polls. All this inner turmoil does little for their popularity. The public sees the party as a shambles, and who can blame them. But would we prefer a well intentioned government who can’t decide who their leader is, or a selfish, xenophobic party too busy bringing down the other to formulate their own policies? One of these parties will pick big corporations over the ordinary Australian any day. Can you guess which one?

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