Labor sleepwalking us to disaster on climate as on defence…

The Australian Labor Party is going to get us all killed. Either slowly – via climate change – or quickly, as collateral damage in a war between China and the USA. And there is an interesting parallel in the policy processes underlying both disasters.

I just finished reading ‘Sleepwalk to War: Australia’s Unthinking Alliance with America’. It’s a Quarterly Essay by Professor Hugh White, a retired defence intellectual. (If you need more proof of his bona fides, White was recently attacked by comedy-conservative Gerard Henderson, in a can’t-look-away ‘savaged by a dead sheep’ moment).

White makes a compelling case of the dangers ahead, and how much lazy and a-historic thinking dominates in Canberra. I’d love to see him and Amy Remikis of the Guardian having a chat (she actually used the phrase ‘military-industrial complex’ on Insiders last Sunday, bless her).

Anyway, very near the end there’s a great quote, and I reckon if you switch out the words ‘foreign and defence’ and replace them with ‘climate and energy’, you’re getting close to one of the explanations for the Labor Party’s almost total uselessness on the Big Issue Facing Australia/Our Species/All The Other Species…

[Latham’s] failure as Labor leader only reinforced what was already a strong conviction across the party’s factions that it was electoral suicide for Labor to do anything but mirror Coalition positions, especially in the era of the War on Terror. This caution has been nourished by tribal memories of the 1960s, when Labor was repeatedly kept from office by its principled opposition to Coalition foreign and defence policies. The result is an unshakable, or at least untested, conviction that Labor, in or out of power, cannot win or hold government without copying the Coalition’s foreign policy. That is why there is no area of policy in which Labor’s small-target politcal strategy has been applied more ruthlessly than in foreign and defence policy. At a time of extraordinary dangers and challenges, Labor has deserted the policy debate and called it bipartisanship – except when it suits them to play politics themselves, as they did over the Solomon islands.

Page 87-88

And here we are.

3 thoughts on “Labor sleepwalking us to disaster on climate as on defence…

Add yours

  1. For a brief moment I thought you were referring to the UK Labour party. However, what you say might well apply to them; It looks as though they could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

  2. Marc, it concerns me that you even worry about politics! As far as Australian politics goes, democracy died in the 70’s, we had a bloodless coup d’etat where a properly elected people’s government was outed by one person! What did the electorate do about it? NOTHING.

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