Saturday, 27 November 2004

Latham's Last Stand

From The Australian :
Federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham will put his leadership to the test next week when he pushes for a senior Labor senator to be punished for destabilising the party.
Told you the days might not be in double digits. Anyway, on with the motley :
Mr Latham, who led Labor to its fourth consecutive election defeat at the October 9 poll, will seek the support of fellow frontbenchers to discipline Labor deputy Senate leader Stephen Conroy and may even try to sack him from the front bench when caucus meets on Tuesday.
A recent poll put his popularity at its lowest level since he became leader in December last year, while former Kim Beazley adviser Michael Costello labelled him a "dead parrot" who could not bring himself to accept blame without qualification for the loss.
He yesterday warned frontbenchers to stop leaking details of internal party meetings as he again rejected claims his leadership was under threat.
And he issued a brief statement last night, calling for unity in the party.
"In politics disunity is death," Mr Latham said.
"It is obvious that the party cannot afford to allow this destabilisation to continue.
"Naturally I'll be talking to my colleagues about it next week."

He will attend the cabinet meeting on Monday morning and caucus on Tuesday, where the issue of Senator Conroy is expected to be raised.
Mr Latham needs caucus support to remove the Victorian Senator from his post.
Under the ALP's factional system, only the Politburo Caucus can determine who is in the Cabinet. The PM just says what jobs they do, a major plum like Shadow Minister for Trade, or something minor like Shadow Minister for Pacific Islands.
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd, tipped as a possible leadership contenders, said a Latham-led Labor could win the next election.
"Our challenge as an alternative government is to learn carefully what we got wrong in the last election, what we got right in the last election, to change our posture and our policies accordingly and get on with the business of taking the fight up to John Winston Howard," he said.
Opposition treasury spokesman Wayne Swan said there would not be a leadership spill by the end of the year, as has been suggested in some media reports, and the party would unite behind Mr Latham.
"I'm completely confident there won't be a spill," he said.
"I'm completely confident that Mark Latham will lead this party into the next election, absolutely confident."
The Kiss of Death.

Still, the Labor Caucus does face a problem: Mark's on the nose, but is his replacement ready? Does he have the numbers to get in in such a short time? Latham might survive this one, albeit mortally wounded. Still, grasping the nettle like this is probably his only chance, slim though it is.

As a commenter said about the last article, Entertaining Stuff. (My bet's on Rudd BTW, but in 2 months, not next week).

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