Quarterly Essay 49

Not Dead Yet: Labor's Post-Left Future

Mark Latham

Release Date:
March 2013
Our Price:
$19.99
ISBN:
9781863955973
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With an election looming and criticism of the ALP now a national pastime, Mark Latham considers the future for Labor. The nation has changed, but can the party?

With wit and insight, Latham reveals an organisation top-heavy with factional bosses protecting their turf. At the same time Labor’s traditional working-class base has long been eroding. People who grew up in fibro shacks now live in double-storey affluence. Families once resigned to a lifetime of blue-collar work now expect their children to be well-educated professionals and entrepreneurs.

Latham explains how Labor has always succeeded as a grassroots party, and argues for reforms to clear out the apparatchiks and dead wood. Then there are the key policy challenges: what to do about the Keating economic legacy, education and poverty. Latham examines the rise of a destructive and reactionary far-right under the wing of Tony Abbott. He also makes the case that climate change is the ultimate challenge – and even opportunity – for a centre-left party.

Not Dead Yet is an essential contribution to political debate, which addresses the question: how can Labor reinvent itself and speak to a changed Australia?

“The grand old party of working-class participation has become a virtual party. In no other part of society … could an organisation function this way and expect to survive. This is the core delusion of 21st-century democracy, that political parties can fragment and hollow out, yet still win the confidence of the people.” – Mark Latham, Not Dead Yet

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Bolinda

Correspondence

This issue also contains correspondence relating to the previous issue QE48 After the Future: Australia's New Extinction Crisis by Tim Flannery. Correspondence relating to QE49 will appear in the next issue.


About the Author

Mark Latham was leader of the Australian Labor Party and leader of the Opposition from December 2003 to January 2005. His books include Civilising Global Capital and the bestselling Latham Diaries. He has a column in the Australian Financial Review and appears regularly on Sky News.