Mark Latham may have been potty mouthed, his policies may have been misguided and he may have ended up being universally despised. But one thing he had going for him was conviction. To me, he came across as knowing how he wanted Australia to be, and he believed in his policies. In other words, he had a vision, even if most Australians clearly disagreed with that vision. Kim Beazley, on the other hand, seems at a total loss when it comes to articulating a clear platform for Labor, beyond the expected vociferous opposition to the Coalition’s workplace reforms. Worse still, Beazley seems intent on hijacking his own tilt at the prime ministership by announcing policies that appear to be completely devoid of anything resembling logic.
His most recent idea, which can only be described as stunningly ill-conceived, is to have all those coming to our shores – even tourists – sign a pledge to respect Australian values. Not only is this idea unworkable, it’s just plain stupid, because it won’t have any effect whatsoever on improving migrant integration. This laughable policy follows hot on the heels of Beazley’s confused uranium policy, which I’ve commented on previously. I note with interest that Bill Shorten, the secretary for the Australian Workers’ Union and new Labor candidate for Maribyrnong, has also called for Labor’s “half pregnant” uranium policy to be scrapped.
Kim Beazley is trying to match John Howard’s political savvy by attempting to appear clever and wise. Unfortunately, all he’s managing to do, in my eyes, is prove that he is incapable of leading this country. John Howard’s call to the state Liberal and National parties in the wake of their humiliating defeat in the Queensland election was basically “get a plan, get a vision and spend time working on them”. Federal Labor would do well to take that advice on board, too. Beazley has been completely reactive, continually playing catch-up, and therefore relying on half-baked policies which he feels compelled to introduce to look as though he’s providing a sensible option to the Australian people. It won’t do. Labor needs to provide us with an alternative to the Coalition at the next election; but on current form, I can’t see that many people will trust the management of our country to the Labor party, workplace reforms or not.