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The lessons of 1996:“Goodbye Jerusalem: Night Thoughts of a Labor Outsider” – Bob Ellis

September 10th, 2011 · No Comments · Australian Labor Party, Campaigning, Electoralism, Politics, Progressive Politics

In conversation with Bob Carr on the lessons of 1996:

‘That there is no leeway,’ I said with emphasis, ‘no leeway for a Labor leader in government. No leeway to sell Qantas or the Commonwealth Bank, to scorn the Press Gallery or enrage Kerry Packer, to increase the woodchip licence or bankrupt tariff-dependent industries or ruin country towns, or,’ I added with riesling-fuelled cheek, ‘to evict the Governor from his palace or suddenly decide not to cancel road tolls.’…

‘You have no leeway,’ I continued, ‘to be anything other than a traditional Labor government, playing a straight bat, hitting the ball in the middle, not slashing out in all directions, a six here, a leg-bye there, because you don’t have the media there on your side, or not enough of it, explaining what you’re up to. All you can be up to is the obvious, social reformist agenda, with safety nets all over the place, of traditional Labor. There is no leeway for anything else.’

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