Butler demands “deep” Labor review, except what matters

Labor heavyweight Mark Butler gave Wayne Swan a boot yesterday:

“When you get your backside handed to you by Fozzie Bear and Kermit the Frog, it’s time for some serious reflection.

Every federal election is monumentally tough for Labor and 2022 will be no different. That’s why our policy and campaign review must be ruthless and unsparing.

It will, and it should be, deeply uncomfortable.

Nothing should be excluded or treated as sacrosanct.

The area I had responsibility for — climate change and energy — must be part of that thorough examination.

As should all of our taxation policies and the spending commitments they were directed at funding.

…I deeply value all of the traditions of our party and the perspectives on our future.

We just lost our third election in a row. The only majority we’ve won in the past 25 years was the majority of eight seats in 2007. And let’s not sugar coat the result in May. We got our lowest primary vote in a century.

Rightly or wrongly, we face a much harder task when it comes to the bread and butter of federal politics: national security and broad economic management. Our only three victories over Liberal governments since World War II all involved an immensely popular leader, a compelling national vision and a superior campaign.”

Sensible enough. But if we’re going warts and all then where’s what matters most? Labor has lost three elections in a row because it has lost QLD. It’s really that simple, an seat swing that it cannot offset elsewhere.

Why has it lost QLD? Fundamentally we have to come back to what QLDers voted for to understand what Labor lacked and that was fringe nationalist parties that embodied:

  • economic nationalism;
  • less progressive globalism;
  • less immigration.

My greatest hope is that Jay Weatherill is running the major Labor review and he is no shrinking violet on these matters.

Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. Maybe someone in ALP land has the message………

    ‘It will be deeply uncomfortable’: Mark Butler calls for ‘ruthless’ review of Labor

    my comments on HnH’s post from a week or so ago on the same

    The question in my mind is not about whether the ALP is going into opposition for 20 years, but about the very existence of the party as a coherent political entity.

    The ALP has been central to:-

    The ultra debt propagation burdening ordinary Australians mainly though housing/mortgage debt. When in power the ALP has never done anything about banks and their behaviours, when out of power it has only been when the weight of public experience was so profound that it couldnt be ignored that they even started asking question. They have been complicit in turning what was once a world leading superannuation system into a tax avoidance scheme for the more affluent. They still dont get that and maintain the need for an increased contribution rate when it is obvious that even with the increased contribution rate [against the backdrop of ever more people not owning their own homes in retirement] a very very large number of people arent a hope in hell of funding a retirement, and that superannuation (as it currently works) simply makes no sense for anyone under the age of about 50-55.

    The Free Trade Agreements which have offshored value adding manufacturing jobs and complex service and tech jobs, and the complete abandonment of trying to craft an Australian economy which meaningfully engaged with the rest of the world in any way other than Australia as a quarry, Australia as a tourist destination, or Australia as a low value ‘education’ destination selling citizenship through University courses. All of which undermines the ability of Australians to service the debt they have taken on or been forced to take on.

    The setting up of the budget as an outlay side only spectacle, ignoring the raft of concessions, negative gears, and generally lightly examined concessions to people making deductions – all primarily to support ever rising house prices and to reward debt. Beyond that they have been equally complicit in the trashing of the public sector and the staffing of SES levels of the public service with a range of pointy headed ideologues for political point scoring purposes. All of which completely misallocates the national bequest in favor of the mainly aged present (and its beneficiaries who are all too often wealthier) and against the future of Australia, which is increasingly held to ransom for non tradable inflation items now, is facing a future in precarious short term jobs, and has asset prices (notably houses) priced out of their reach, while needing to tax the living shit out of them to support those entitlements in the short term future, for those aged Australians not in on the great national economic redirection, and which they themselves arent a hope in hell of ever getting.

    The population ponzi which has been used to give the appearance of economic substance in place of the above, and the whittling of Australia back into little more than a quarry with some nice beaches and tourist spots, which is the genesis of our infrastructure own goal. The population ponzi clicked into gear in 2006 (Vanstone was Minister) but then was turbocharged by Rudd as Prime Minister and has seen Australian Net Overseas Migration jump from a 30 year average of about 80k per year to running endless ponzinomic intakes of 250k per year, all backed by an ALP imprimatur to suggest anyone questioning the above dynamic is racist..

    The complete trashing of a once well respected education sector in the name of providing a ponzinomic backdoor, which is at the same time central to the only means ordinary Australians have of making themselves more globally competitive, but which has instead – on the back of the worlds most expensive university degrees, been used to make them ever more debt burdened, and ever more likely to be educated (expensively) in some field which is a national misallocation of resources at a policy level and an embittering disaster for too many at a personal level.

    The complete and utter trashing of any suggestion that binding Australia to a narrative where China is our major destination for commodity exports, while increasingly becoming a strategic threat, may have downsides for the national interest.

    The white hot iron up the anus of ordinary Australians embedded by our gas pipeline monopoly and liquefecation for export policy combined with our electricity generation and transmission policies. The ALP was the genesis of of policies designed to give the (cheap electricity creating) gas unused in Southern Australia over to exports. It should share the blame along with the imbeciles in government, for the fact that Australia currently has the worlds most expensive domestic gas, while it is the worlds largest gas exporter, in a global market awash with gas. Leaving the only real beneficiaries as the amortizing tax avoiding builders of white gas plant elephants in QLD.

    The trashing of Australian respect for Australian political process with an endless bipartisan array of politicians obviously in the game for the moolah and the post politics sinecures. Sure the LNP has the lead with Bishop et al, but the Conroy, the Fergusson, the Dastayari (and on and on and on) has anchored into the minds of the electorate that politicians are a batch of self serving psychopaths regardless of their branding.

    This isnt a party going through a rebuilding phase – it has been doing that for a generation. It is a party looking for a merger partner and at playing games in in far flung exotic locales away from the main supporter base, packed to the rafters with self serving psychopaths – again a different brand to the LNP self serving psychopaths but self serving psychopaths they remain. My overriding suspicion at the moment is that the Albanese version of the ALP are are thinking that if they tank a few issues then maybe they’ll get some draft choices and public sympathy. They are socio economic frauds.

    Ordinary Australians need only ask themselves – does the ALP look like the answer to Australia’s malaise, or is the ALP only going to add to Australia’s malaise if it comes to power and feed us the same specious pap the LNP is already feeding us?


    I didnt vote ALP last time, and havent voted ALP in 21 years. Every time an election has come around I have found myself wondering if the ALP is genuinely serious about doing something serious to help ordinary Australians. Not something specious like facilitating giving them more debt, not something tantamount to complete bullshit like Free Trade Agreements signed sight unseen, not something designed to juice stats like more population ponzi, and not a distraction for most Australians (no matter how important – and ‘right’ for some) like same sex marriage. But something serious, meaningful jobs, which have a realistic chance of enabling Australian working types to be competitive in a global sense. Meaningful tools to further that competitive position like an education system which provides skills for ordinary Australians first, and provides payoffs for Universities or foreign students second. Like energy prices which take something which could easily be deployed as a strength which could better the competitive position of Australians – but under policy which has been aided and abetted by the ALP has become a noose around the neck of Australian employers and their employees. Water usage policies which guaranteed water for producers and consumers of meaningful economic contributors such as farms and inhabitants of towns down the Darling and Murrumbidgee, and the environment – not policies which had had become a plaything for speculating Argentine billionaires or tax avoiding Australian politicians.

    If there is 10 watts of sentient thinking power anywhere inside the ALP squaring up to some of these types of issues should be a key part of any ‘review’ of the outcome of the last election.

    • gotta tell ya I voted alp[rudd] to knife that other pos….. not happening now..never again will an established party get my vote, and nowadays in the senate they get 0.

      ps: “When in power the ALP has never done anything about banks and their behaviours”

      fckn alp let ’em of the leash…stupid bastards encouraged this cartel

    • Jumping jack flash


      Labor just needs to sell themselves differently to the people.
      They have to make a point of getting those brilliant careers after politics – I mean it doesn’t really matter what they do now, does it? The precedent has been set. Short of working directly for the Chinese government, it doesn’t matter what they do anymore.

      They have to look better and dress nicer. They need to appear richer and more successful than the Libs. They each need 2 Cayman Island bank accounts and travel to work by helicopter every day! There needs to be more media “leaks” about facilitating the distribution of Au Pairs, because rich and successful people have those.

      People’s sentiment has changed since Labor was consistently in power. Now its all about the image and the bling and the success and how much debt you own.

      Its all brand marketing, isn’t it? They simply need to reposition themselves as a brand.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      A pro Social Democracy/Working Class Party (ie lower immigration in defence of WC people’s standards of living) and that refused to have identity politics or Climate change issues as it’s primary focus would win Millions of votes if the media gave such a party any oxygen.
      But they don’t.
      All the “Alternative” parties with Working Class appeal are Right wing economic.
      Why ?

  2. The ALP has lost touch with its roots and has been overtaken by SJW virtue signalling loonies. Hence it is no longer relevant to anything. They can review until the cows come home but it won’t matter because they will never adopt policies that are desired by normal people.

    Being an unofficial arm of the Chinese thugocracy isn’t helping much either.

    • Jumping jack flash

      In my opinion it isn’t so much as lost touch with the roots, but their roots are no longer relevant today.

      What goes around comes around though. In another 30 years or so everyone will be all about the working and the productivity (to repay the hundreds of trillions of debt dollars created by the failed experiment of putting the banks in charge of the economy!) and Labor and workers’ rights will be back in vogue.

      Give it time.

      • “In my opinion it isn’t so much as lost touch with the roots, but their roots are no longer relevant today.”

        The discussion about profit share vs wage share is more relevant than ever. The ALP have just walked off the pitch to install uni-sex toilets in the change room and enforce diversity training at the end of a gun towards the rest of the competition.

  3. Jumping jack flash

    Labor and Liberals are indistinguishable for the past decade. They both did the same things – nothing. They both fought among themselves and with each other – every move breathlessly reported by the media.

    So with the same track record, and considering that the average Australian voter isn’t that discerning nor bright, what gives??

    Well, the people simply perceive the Libs as being “cleaner”, as in they literally have more showers, and they seem richer than Labor pollies, and get better careers after politics – every Australian wants to be richer quicker and easier, and have a better job so they can command more debt.

    And showers are important! No cutting back to a couple of times a week because water is too expensive. These Libs look like they have 3 a day!

    In a nutshell, the Libs are simply a better example of the “everyman” these days, than what Labor is.

    Labor had that back in the 80’s – the hard worker in the mines and in the factories: producing useful things for Australia to sell to the world. Even the middle manager. But those days are gone. Its all about the debt now. Nice clean debt to get instantly rich from.

    And then you get a few nutjobs voting for the fringe parties, but any True Australian who wants to get as rich as quickly as possible from taking on as much debt as they are humanly capable to do, and have a fantastic and meaningful career as a banker or lawyer or something else that’s really clean and inside, and can get a lot of debt from, then you’re looking up to the examples of the Liberal pollies.

  4. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    I know I post the below all the time but Labor has never properly come to terms with the trauma of the Dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975.
    It’s Coming up to 45 years ago I know but let’s consider how Labor returned under Hawk and Keating. They basically abandoned string social Democracy for Neoliberalisim with Medicare.
    It has been a race between the ALP and the LNP ever since 1975 to keep the Corporate sector happy and on Side.
    Those who lose this race are punished by a highly concentrated corporate media who entertain no Economic Left Right Dichotomy and will only allow such a Dichotomy on largely trivial matters concerning identity.

    Economic Legislation, new laws, are not formulated and written by the public service, politicians or Party policy advisers anymore, they are written by insurance companies, multinational consulting firms and other such bodies.
    It might feel good to say the Labour Party will soon be gone and to endlessly complain about how politicians are useless pr!cks all the time, but is delusional and infantile to even think they are in charge anymore,…. they are not.
    Break the pro Corporate, Neoliberal narrative and your gone what ever party you are in.
    Any new party will be equally impoten if a much larger percentage of the population does not start to participate in the political process and demand greater Democracy in ALL decision making.


    • Jumping jack flash

      Well said!
      Corporations have been in charge of the place for a while. Probably longer than I’ve been alive.

      The only way to understand modem policy (or lack therof) is to view it through the lens of the banks and corporates.

      The sad thing is how can this change? It will never be allowed to change.

  5. LNP panders to Murdoch’s global vision and therefore gets elected. The media will only go on and on about a subject that suits this position.
    Queensland coal mine nonsense as part of why labor lost is the fake news.

    Bill and Ted run an absolutely pathetic campaign, complete idiots! Basically the campaign was as if they didn’t want to win.

      • It goes way back Jacob. The building blocks of our understanding of reality and the world around us are created for us to some extent. Managed, massaged & manipulated by those who control the world’s finances. For example the 7.30 report went to Iran to report on the Trump vs Iran thing. The base for their reports were all from USA government/ media reports. So they used a sworn enemy of Iran to get their information as though it were fact. They directly used USA’s reports as though they were fact without any investigation. Both CNN & Fox are run controlled from Israeli sympathisers. As well as other media but CNN & Fox are dominant.

        I’m only on the side of truth, then let the people decide from there. Secrecy is the enemy of freedom.

  6. The only majority we’ve won in the past 25 years was the majority of eight seats in 2007.

    That is what I was saying before the 2019 election!

    And why are their policies so whacky? They need someone from the northern hemisphere to come here and review their rotten policies:

    * AUS should be more than 29% foreign born
    How many rich nations in the northern hemisphere are over 29% foreign born?

    * Allow foreigners to give money to political parties

    * It is ok for Sydney to have more toll roads than any other city in the world

    * Do not exclude the rich ($200k/year household) from negative gearing handouts and private school handouts

    * Let everyone into “uni” and do not cap the salaries of vice chancellors

    • Well said Jacob agree 100%. All we can do is talk or whinge about it as none of us has any power whatsoever to change the status quo.