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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Labor turmoil: a case of needed change and a defence of the past and its people

Now its on again, turmoil and all, as the so-called Dream Team of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard challenges Kim Beazley, the current Leader, for leadership of the ALP prior to a 2007 Federal election.

Miss Eagle wonders about the over-statement of the Rudd-Gillard, Right-Left partnership as a Dream Team. However, Miss Eagle recalls that, after years of corrupt National Party government in Queensland, a major factor undergirding the successful ALP campaign which resulted in the election of Wayne Goss as Premier of Queensland 17 years ago to this very day on 2 December, 1989, was the partnership of right and left with the Australian Workers Union (AWU) and the Australian Metal Workers Union (AMWU).

This partnership shocked people - not least those within the ALP - and spelled the beginning of the end for Peter Beattie in his role as State Secretary of the Queensland ALP and meant some wilderness years for Beattie on his way to the Queensland Parliament, years on the backbench because of his rivalry with Goss, and now his success story as Queensland Premier. On this pragmatic tide, Wayne Swan - currently, Kim Beazley's Shadow Treasurer - became Qld State Secretary of the ALP. This was another rung on the Qld ALP's ladder of success. Without this right-left pragmatism, it is unlikely that Goss would have got to government and, almost certainly, not with the landslide success delivered to him in 1989.

This is something that Big Bill Ludwig, AWU heavyweight and powerbroker-kingpin in Queensland, should remember. Bill should remember in calling his factional Federal MPs to heel that he was unable to successfully call time in 1991 when Keating defeated Bob Hawke. Ludwig stuck doggedly to Hawke when the time for change had clearly come. Bill and his son, Senator Joe Ludwig, ought to remember this. Ludwig Senior and his AWU shearer mates in western Queensland stuck doggedly to Old Guard Labor tickets when Peter Beattie was reforming the ALP in Queensland in the early '80s and issuing reform tickets. Bill's mentality has not altered. Dogged loyalty can be an admirable thing but not to include yourself as a force of change and progress is not.

Bill, let the hounds off the leash in Queensland so that they can make their own decisions.

You would serve the nation well in doing this.