Why is the Labor Party in Crisis?

gate-closingDate: Wednesday 2 May 2012
Time: 12.30pm – 2pm
Venue: John Scott Meeting House, La Trobe University, Kingsbury Avenue, Bundoora Vic 3086

A political tsunami appears to be hitting the Australian Labor Party as it wrestles with the challenges of leadership and collapse in almost every state.

What has led to this situation and what may happen next will be discussed at a special forum on Wednesday 2 May at La Trobe University as part of the seminal Ideas & Society Program.

Speakers will include Barry Jones, former President of the ALP and former Hawke Government Minister, Antony Green, ABC election analyst, Robert Manne, Professor of Politics at La Trobe University. The forum will be chaired by Marilyn Lake, Professor of History at La Trobe University.

The discussion, which brings together some of Australia’s leading political commentators, will consider a broad range of issues in an attempt to answer why the current Labor situation is at the lowest part in its history.

According to Barry Jones, writing in The Age, Labor’s politics are worse today than when the ALP spilt in 1955, or when Arthur Calwell led the party to a massive defeat in 1966, or when the governor-general John Kerr dismissed the Whitlam Labor government in 1975, or when Paul Keating lost to John Howard in 1996.

Despite this being dismissed by some as exaggeration, there is little doubt among many Australians that the Labor party has lost its way.

Professor Robert Manne said: ‘The strange and rather sudden collapse in the popularity of the Gillard Labor government is grounded in a series of mistakes and miscalculations, beginning with Rudd in 2008, spiralling out of control in 2010, but only becoming irreversible and lethal with Gillard around the middle of 2011.’

Why the Labor Party in Crisis? will consider leadership issues, as well as discuss whether it is now time look to history to see whether there are broader historical trends at work and, if that is the case, what the Labor Party can learn from precedents to determine a future path it can take to rebuild.

A webcast will be available following the panel discussion when it can be downloaded from: https://www.latrobe.edu.au/news/ideas-society

Mark Pearce  (Director, Media and Communications)

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M: +61 4 23 783 756