Well, it’s been almost a week since the Labor caucus ousted Kim Beazley and elected Kevin Rudd as their new leader and Julia Gillard as his deputy. In my last post, I made the comment that it might have been in Labor’s best interests for Kevin to wait until after the next election before contesting the leadership. I also made that comment in the wake of Mark Latham’s resignation. However, Mr Rudd has made a really good start. It began with a confident interview on the 7.30 Report, continued with his staring down of the internal Labor factions so he could install the front bench that he wanted, and now he’s talking about overhauling the education system. More to the point, I already get the feeling that Labor will, for once, be constructing a strong party platform from which to launch their election campaign. This is something that neither Kim Beazley nor his recent predecessors were willing or able to achieve as Labor leaders. My frustration with Mr Beazley’s incoherrent policies are already well documented in this blog.
Maybe Mr Rudd does have enough time to make an impact before the next election after all. He won’t be able to fix Labor’s internal organisational problems, but he may be able to do enough to get everybody focused on the one message. He’s given Labor a good chance by choosing his preferred front bench (I understand the final places on the bench will be decided this weekend) rather than bowing to factional and union pressure. It’s still early days. Kevin Rudd is no Mark Latham, but I remember that Mr Latham was fairly impressive when he first began as Labor leader, and look what came of that!