It appears we have a new Opposition Leader.
It also appears that for the second time I’ve been right well in advance about the Labor leadership – in late 2001 I forecast at a time when he was not even in contention that Latham would be the next Labor leader (we’ll conveniently let that bit slide about me predicting he’d be the next Labor PM – I can’t be right all the time!) I’ve been predicting a Beazley->Rudd shift for most of this year, although I was starting to think it would never happen. My predictive abilities once won me a Hungry Jacks whopper for foreseeing the short-term end of One.Tel in Sep 2000 when it was still (publicly) doing well.
Anyway, enough of my semi-serious grandstanding. The party was getting stale and didn’t know where it was going under Beazley. He’s tried and failed twice before, and to be honest, I found myself only reluctantly supporting Labor after Beazley regained the leadership. The only inspired comments I have heard coming from Labor in recent months have been from the backbench and from Kevin Rudd and Lindsay Tanner, and I hope that with the new leadership team they establish both leadership and policy direction.
People who think they can’t make it should read the back cover of Dean Jaensch’s “The Liberals” (1994) – I don’t have it on me right now, but let’s say the cover text had written off the Liberals as a political force divided by factionalism and lack of leadership – just 18 months before they won back office. I think with a less radical leader than Latham, who is clear and level-headed in stating his stances on a range of issues with support from a solid team that the party can pick on Thursday, this country has a chance of moving forward in 2007.