Thursday, 1 September 2011

Why I Quit The ALP

Yesterday I quit the ALP and I’m not coming back.

To be truthful my heart hasn’t really been in it since Rudd was deposed for a variety of reasons. Before I launch into a seismic rant of Rundlian proportions. It is important to note that this decision was not made on the spur of the moment. I have taken about two months to decide. I genuinely thought I was going to be tied to the ALP for life. I have decided to leave knowing full well I am closing the door to several opportunities, former career ambitions and most importantly some people who have put time and effort into cultivating my political ambition. I am disappointed that these dreams have died and it is with an extremely heavy heart that I decided to leave after eight and half years of service.

I am a rare beast. I’m a young social democrat. As I’m arguing in my thesis, social democracy is an outdated and outmoded ideology if a party wishes to achieve electoral success. The Labor Party likes to think it is a social democratic party, but the last gasp of social democracy died when Latham resigned as leader in 2005. One could argue that a diluted form of social democracy existed during the Rudd Government, but with Gillard and her incompetent posse now pulling the levers, social democracy in the ALP is about as common as a Labor MP with employment experience beyond the trade union movement or the public service.

Politically, Gillard is Australia’s worst Prime Minister since William McMahon. She is just hopeless. In just two days she’s fucked up immigration policy and thereby consigning the ALP to a decade long period in opposition. The worst part of all of this is that the government should have taken its own advice from two years ago. Why didn’t they?

The answer is simple: the ALP as a party has its head up its own arse. First there was putting Bitar and Arbib in charge of the ALP’s organisational wing, then the coup of Rudd, leadlng to the worst ALP campaign in living memory and then a toothless review which one of its author's suggested to me was meaningless. Things have gone from bad to worse. The ALP is in a hole that it will never get out of.

I would stay on to fight to the death if the party didn’t repeatedly botch the policy that affects me the most. A party which supports a National Disability Insurance Scheme is a party in which I question my membership. My party no longer belongs to me, nor does my belief that supporting a major party helps to achieve slow and gradual change. I have advocated to abolish the NDIS, loud and long for the entire year and yet my concerns have fallen on deaf and unwilling ears to those who can change the policy's outcome.

I am disgusted that the government is blindly following such ridiculous recommendations from the Productivity Commission's report. The Government does this without considering the impact that this disgraceful policy will have on my life, for the rest of my life. You can add a million other people with disabilities with a variety of impairments whom none of us know too.

On an operational level I am tired of putting my energies into a local party that refuses to do anything constructive and meaningful. During my time in the party, the Sunshine Coast ALP has gone backwards not forwards. Save for a few notable exceptions, the local party is being hijacked by people who seek to be in charge of their own little chiefdoms at the expense of taking the party forward, both in a policy sense and politically. Eight years later, the same arguments and ideas are being put forward with no actionable policy outcomes. If I have to push a bus uphill, I’d rather do it myself than have to tiptoe amongst self importance and inefficiency. I don’t have the patience, the time or the energy to deal with all of that if it is not going make a difference to the issues I care about.

Instead I will focus on my academic career and my personal goals The ALP is no longer the venue to create sufficient change. I’m going alone because I will have more success doing so. No wonder new party members don’t want to join the ALP. It is a toxic organisation, gangrenous from within. Perhaps if others cut of its head it may survive the wounds, but now I have come to realise it needs to die. It is a very, very sad thought

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