By Situation Theatre 11/11/2019
Months of research by Labor stalwarts Craig Emerson and Jay Weatherill have led them to ask leader Anthony Albanese, “have you tried turning it off and on again?”
It may seem like simple advice given the time and effort plunged into the analysis of the underlying causes of Labor’s devastating election loss, but it wouldn’t be the first time restarting a broken machine has been effective.
While the recommended remedy is fairly simple, the identified causes of the catastrophe are a little more complex.
Rather than blaming neoliberalism’s hollowing out of the union movement, Labor’s 40 year shift to the right, it’s ongoing failure of progressive imagination, it’s dead-end centrism in a global moment of right and left-wing populism, and it’s endless equivocation on major campaign issues, Emerson and Weatherill concluded that it all came down to Bill Shorten, too many policies, and a failure to implement the same winning strategy of aping their Liberal enemies that saw Labor sweep to power in 1998, 2001, 2004, 2013, and 2016.
Still, once they turn themselves off and on again and re-install some of that winning neoliberal aspiration and growth software from the 1990s and early 2000s, they should go back to doing what they do best: disappointing progressive voters.