A modern parable methinks in the Age 4th October via Crikey.com.au. I know I know, a bad case of co dependence. And notice the postscript too. All good grist as Green Mayors in Waverley and Marrickville step up, and Lab Libs install a Lib in Leichhardt and Randwick too.
Why I just had to resign from the Labor Party October 4, 2005
The ALP has become a branch office of the Liberals. It's sickening, writes Denise Allen.
Last Tuesday I resigned as a member of the Labor Party. I could no longer sit by and watch as the party I have loved since a child becomes a faction of the Howard Government.
My grandfather started the first local Alexandra branch of the Labor Party in my home town more than 80 years ago. From the age of five, I was allowed to sit on a chair in the kitchen and listen (as long as I was quiet) to the many Labor Party meetings that were held at our house because my father was secretary of the local branch for many years. I listened and learned. I grew up to be as passionate about the Labor Party as my grandfather, father, uncles and myriad relatives.
We were dedicated to social issues and a fair go for everyone. During the 1983 election, as I handed out how-to-vote cards, I wore a white T-shirt on which I had written on the front "J. C. for Victoria!" and on the back "God for Canberra!" (Referring to John Cain and Bob Hawke, of course.) Gosh, those were the passionate days when Labor was at its best.
I was a Labor devotee, a true believer, and anyone who knew me knew that politics was my subject of the day, every day.
In May 2000, I became the first Labor person and the first woman to win the state seat of Benalla after 97 years of conservative rule. It was the proudest moment of my life.
For the 21/2 years I was an MP it was the greatest honour as well as the greatest roller coaster ride of my life. It was exciting, rewarding, frustrating, depressing. I was heartbroken when, in 2002, the Nationals won the seat back. After working my butt off for two-and-a-half years and delivering more than $50 million in projects to the electorate, the majority of the voters went back to the party they said had deserted them. Go figure.
But over the past few years, I have sat back and watched the party I grew up passionate about, that was so much a part of our everyday thinking, move progressively further and further to the right and simply become another faction of the Howard Government with its me-too, me-too attitude.
In the past week, I have heard Kim Beazley talk about counter-terrorism laws that not only mirror, but seem to go further than, John Howard's. I have seen all the Labor premiers sign up to more of Howard's draconian anti-terrorism laws.
OK, you may say, it has to be done. We now live in dangerous times as we are constantly reminded every day with brainwashing anti-terror television and radio ads and silly fridge magnets.
But it is only so because the Howard Government's fear agenda has been allowed to flourish as the Labor Party has sat back like the little kid at school who gets sand kicked in his face and who is too frightened to upset the big boys.
The Labor Party I know would have fought tooth and nail against Australians' involvement in Iraq without UN sanctions. They would have protected Australia from terrorism by simply not being party to an illegal war. Their voices would have been loud and would have clearly defined what they stood for. The Labor Party I know would have countered Howard's fear agenda with one of peace.
This climate of fear is Howard's creation and instead of counteracting it with an alternative, forceful, intelligent debate, the Labor Party blindly accepts it and helps promote it.
Then there are the domestic issues on which Labor is so quiet.
Over the past week we have seen the plight of citrus growers across Australia. Not once have I heard anyone from the Labor Party calling on Mark Vaile, Minister for Trade, leader of the Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister, to explain where the Nationals are on this issue.
After all, aren't the Nationals the farmers' party? Why isn't the Labor Party making a mockery of the Nationals?
We are consistently losing Australian industry to cheap overseas suppliers, but where is Labor on this and every other contentious issue?
I'll tell you - in the shadows of the conservatives saying me-too, me-too.
Now we have Bob Hawke calling on Australia to be the garbage tip for nuclear waste. Money, money, money - that's what it is all about. Great idea Bob, not! Someone who was once part of my Labor Party dreamscape is now a bloody nightmare and just another apologist for conservative politics. The Silver Bodgie should go back to his million-dollar home in Vaucluse.
It frustrates the hell out of me - I can't stand it any more and I bet I'm not the only one.
Until more of the original Labor Party devotees stand up to be counted and go as far as resigning from the party, the party hacks and faceless factional men will continue to drag our party into the cesspool of conservative right-wing politics that is so alien to the traditional Labor Party true believers.
There are many good people in the Labor Party - where is their voice, why don't they stand up for their beliefs?
I want to scream it from the rooftops: "Where is my beloved Labor Party?" .. the one that was powerful and forthright, the one that took the fight up to the conservatives and gave them a run for their money.
For crying out loud .. this country desperately wants an effective Labor Party that will stand up for the rights of its people instead of being party to the denigration of our freedoms.
Where the hell are you? Why aren't you answering us? Why aren't you there for us?
This is not the Labor Party I grew up with, nor is it the Labor Party I want to be part of and, I have to tell you, it breaks my heart.
My father died last year - buried with his Labor Party life membership badge pinned to the lapel of his suit next to his war medals that he won fighting for the freedom of this country.
Now there was a proud Labor man and a true battler - a man who passionately stood up for everything he believed in.
I am sure he would turn in his grave if he knew his beloved Labor Party members are now simply sycophants of the Howard Government.
Denise Allen is a former state Labor member for Benalla.
By Age via Via via eas 8 October 05
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I'm in a right f***kin mood
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