Labor’s new and improved economics team

Via the AFR:

Labor’s economic team is to be gutted in a post-election shake-out that shifts Chris Bowen to a non-financial portfolio and dumps shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh from the frontbench altogether because he lacks factional support.

Shadow finance minister Jim Chalmers is the firm favourite to replace Mr Bowen as shadow treasurer.

Mr Bowen, who carried some of the blame for Labor’s election loss because of the franking credits policy, is tipped to take another senior portfolio such as infrastructure, industry and innovation, or even resources.

A time in the wilderness for some of Labor’s best talent. We’re not upset to see the back of Andrew Leigh, despite his credentials and good work in some areas such as competition policy. He is simply far too big a mass immigration nut to be viable in the Quexit new normal. As for Chris Bowen, he’ll be back. Too much talent to waste.

On Jim Chalmers I know little. Here is a bit of Q&A:

That makes sense enough. Here’s his bio:

Jim Chalmers is the Executive Director of the Chifley Research Centre, following a long stint as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan. He has worked for the federal Labor Party in various senior roles for more than a decade, and was a key adviser from the first day of the Rudd Government in 2007 until his departure from the Gillard Government in early 2013. Dr Chalmers has also been a senior aide to Kim Beazley and Morris Iemma, and National Research Manager for the Australian Labor Party. He has a first class honours degree in public policy from Griffith University and a PhD in political science and international relations from the Australian National University. He lives and works in Logan City to the south of Brisbane, Queensland.

That he’s a Queenslander tells you everything.

Meanwhile, Kevin07 weighs in on that front:

The former Labor leader told ABC’s 7.30 he had seen a lot of commentary about the election loss, including about “quexit” to cut Queensland lose from the rest of Australia, but said it was a “whole load of baloney”.

Mr Rudd, whose own former electorate was located in the Sunshine State, pointed out there had been a state Labor government in power in Queensland for about 25 of the last 30 years.

“So the idea that this place is unwelcoming of centre-left progressive governments is a nonsense,” he said.

When it came to Labor’s loss, Mr Rudd said he thought there had been some national factors that contributed as well as those specific to Queensland.

Mr Rudd said for the Labor Party to succeed at a national level, it had to address two fundamental issues: fairness for working families but also a future for aspirational Australians who want to build their own businesses.

When it comes to Queensland-centric factors, Mr Rudd pointed to it being a big state that was deeply decentralised so the role of government was important.

“It’s also a mining state where people who support the mining industry are not bad people,” he said. “It’s a question of managing carbon transition over time.”

Small business must also be catered to, he said.

“If we as the Labor Party and alternative government of Australia don’t have a strong message for those aspiring to build their own businesses, then it won’t resonate,” he said.

Religion was another factor that was “part and parcel” of the fabric in the state.

“We in the centre-left have to understand that in what we say and how we conduct ourselves and the policies we bring to bear, that this community of faith is out there as well,” he said.

Not entirely “baloney”. Not all centre-left governments are the same. QLD just wholeheartedly rejected the Shorten version. But another more traditional iteration would still appeal via greater economic nationalism, lower immigration, actually investing in education, climate policy that addressed the loss of coal, inclusive social policy that had a much wider focus than high profile groups like LGBTI. It can and should still be economically liberal.

In short, Quexit values.

As for whether or not the new team is better than the old team, I’ll leave you with Bernard Keane:

Don’t assume that Labor’s discipline of the last six years — a stunning turnaround from the garbage of 2010-13 — is going to last. The ascendancy of a leader from the Left (albeit what passes for the Left in the NSW branch) and the general despair occasioned by losing an unloseable election may yet unleash a lot of pent-up anger and factional manoeuvring put on hold for the sake of securing power.

Compare the Liberals after 1993. Having studiously avoided the internecine wars of the 1980s, they briefly kept faith with Hewson, between 1990 and 1993, then flicked him for Boy Mulcaster, before returning to John Howard. That ended happily, of course. As did Morrison’s ousting of Malcolm Turnbull. Voters seem to care far less about internal disunity than they tell pollsters.

At the moment within Labor, it’s the Right causing difficulties, doubtless out of angst that the Left now has the leadership. That the Labor Right in states outside NSW couldn’t find a deputy better than Richard Marles — exemplar of the truism that a mediocre man is always at his best — augurs poorly for Labor in terms of both talent and stability. That South Australian right-winger Don Farrell will continue, as seems likely, as deputy Senate leader defies explanation.

Farrell has contributed virtually nothing to public life in his times in the Senate beyond counting numbers (the reason why he will likely keep his spot). His crowning political achievement was to help roll Kevin Rudd in 2010. As shadow special minister of state, Farrell was in a position to lead the charge against a government that has been the most openly corrupt and anti-transparency outfit of recent generations, and few outside the press gallery would be able to even identify him. The Liberals would surely be delighted if Farrell retained that portfolio for three more years, rather than seeing it used by someone who might effectively pursue a government devoted to cover-ups and dodgy deals with mates.

Meantime, Kristina Keneally is suffering the unusual fate of having her hard work to get Bill Shorten elected used against her, with Labor Right MPs leaking against her to Nine journaliststhat she’s too ambitious (no other Labor MPs are ambitious, and certainly not any male MPs). In one of the single dumbest things I have seen in 40 years of watching politics, Keneally was attacked for changing her Twitter background picture from her with then-leader Shorten to one of her with new leader Albo, with that touted as evidence of why she shouldn’t be promoted — and the claim reported completely straight by the journalist concerned. This is politics in 2019.

Comments

  1. Labour party will have to change the processes of government radically so that existing laws must be enforced. At the moment our captured and corrupt public service, justice system and politicians simply ignore the existing laws to the benefit of their donors. A way must be found to make these people execute their duties instead of pretending to do so.

    Neither the prime ministership not the cabinet are mentioned in the Constitution only the Federal Executive Council, so anyone with the votes can jettison the whole political fiction involving these conduits into the public purse at any time, which should leave a space for erecting new institutions. I suggest since we are sliding towards banana republic status that the new way should be modelled on the District Commissioner roles we used to have in PNG.

  2. And throw in the inheritance tax stigma that comes with Andrew Leigh. Despite that he seemed to be a gun at debating policy and handled himself very well in the media where others in the party feared to tread. Surprising move that reeks of factional and political machinations. He has some substance and that doesn’t go far when your leader is a showbag.

    • Incapable of communicating with ordinary voters though. Would be a useful economic adviser not a pollie.

  3. Leigh is a great example of how the academic left struggles to transcend its own self reinforced normative values. Future great leader, but it would help if he spends some time in the shoes of a crush-loaded family, and in the regions living with a family trying to cope with meth-addled high unemployment.

    • You’ve got a fair point Morgs. Leigh is a legitimate and respected economist, which is great for those of us who know how to speak the language, but something that the vast majority of people (rightly) struggle with. The coalition’s claim of being better at economics is laughable when they have Leigh’s intellectual firepower.

      His great works on labour economics and inequality seem overly ‘academic’, abstracting away from the people it aims to represent. Leigh would do well to spend some time in Townsville and/or the outer western suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney.

      I hope to see him in cabinet one day, returning some intellectual rigour to a place that is long been starved of it. He just needs to work on his politics a little more 🙂

      • I wonder if Labor really is lost, they draw their people from the aspiring middle class now, not the deplorable working class. Labor’s nepotistic elite have long disconnected with the struggles of their fathers and mothers, they believe now, because it’s their job, it’s their identity, but not because it’s their lived experience.

        Latham is so much smarter than they give him credit for. One Nation, with its dubious grappling past and unfashionable values is now the Labor party.

    • and chalmers is representative of the alp being deadset redundant
      that chalmers précis at the top of this article is absolutely redolent of failure . it reeks of uselessness…spose that’s an improvement?

  4. reusachtigeMEMBER

    The Labor party will never ever win while it has the losers in charge. Albi is just another one of the losers. They need winners who know how to party like Hawkie and his homo offsider. They were great.

  5. SweeperMEMBER

    Why should it be economically liberal?

    I mean I’m fairly sure that not being neoliberal enough was not something which cost Labor the election.

    Yet every journalist continues to tell us they need to go back to being economic liberal not social democratic. Why? Just the vibe?

    • A great man once said
      “In summing up, it’s the constitution, it’s Mabo, it’s justice, it’s law, it’s the vibe and aah no that’s it, it’s the vibe. I rest my case.”

  6. You guys are beginning to sound like Barnaby Joyce’s interview: Labour, Labour, Labour, Labour, Labour, Labour, Labour, Labour, Labour, Labour, Labour, Labour, Labour, Labour…
    They’ve lost and are lost; move on.

  7. pyjamasbeforechristMEMBER

    Prediction – Plibersek / Bowen will be our next PM / Treasure – after 3 years of housing crash and recession changes the whole landscape.

  8. “In one of the single dumbest things I have seen in 40 years of watching politics, Keneally was attacked for changing her Twitter background picture from her with then-leader Shorten to one of her with new leader Albo, with that touted as evidence of why she shouldn’t be promoted — and the claim reported completely straight by the journalist concerned.” I just had to repeat that brilliant line.

  9. HadronCollision

    What’s the deal with Husic having to stand aside to accommodate KK.

    Isn’t he half capable

    • As I say that, Don Farrell has now pulled out of being Senate Deputy leader opening the role up for KK.

      Not sure if that changes things for Husic as Farrell was also the shadow Special Minister of State (whatever TF that is).

      • HadronCollision

        Sounds like Elbow will keep him on

        Shadow Minister of State – advocating for a Federal ICAC might fall under Husic’s remit.
        Does anyone know Ed/

        Btw, can MB gift a subscribtion to Andrew Leigh
        Take all the MB policies and work them up for Labor
        Election winning right there
        Gas reservation
        No more open borders nuttery (increase foreign aid and help for genuine refugees)
        etc etc

    • Not if you are a liberal. Marles?????

      During the election I just took it as gospel that the ALP had a deep bench and was worried by all the coalition talent leaving (vale Chrissy Pyne).

      Now I realise how little talent there is across the chamber. the ALP are struggling to find a deputy leader!!!!

  10. Growing the consumer base and lowering wages via mass immigration, is lazy economics.

    Developing export industries and productivity, takes more work, but is better for all in the short and long-term.

  11. He has worked for the federal Labor Party in various senior roles for more than a decade, and was a key adviser from the first day of the Rudd Government in 2007 until his departure from the Gillard Government in early 2013. Dr Chalmers has also been a senior aide to Kim Beazley and Morris Iemma, and National Research Manager for the Australian Labor Party. He has a first class honours degree in public policy from Griffith University and a PhD in political science and international relations from the Australian National University

    And that says it all about the current and future failure of the ALP. The spawn of the political system who has a PhD in politics…an actual university doctorate in Machiavellian sociopathy. Experience at Uni, political adviser, “think” tank. Someone who has lived his entire life encased in the bubble of politics, but never held an actual real job. Never built anything, never sold anything, never maintained a machine to earn his crust, because he’s fully educated in scheming and persuasion but nothing else that might be of use to the community. Someone with no idea what life is like for normal humans, and who will undoubtedly espouse all the usual nonsensical SJW causes that nobody outside the inner city cafes and wine bars gives a sh1t about.

    As an (until recently) lifelong Labor voter I wouldn’t p1ss in this bloke’s ear if his brain was on fire, and I wouldn’t vote for a political party that would elevate someone like him to power. The ALP are lost.