Benjamin Law has published a piece in the AFR today headed “Has Labor lost Gen Y?“. This is a fine opinion piece, that is long overdue. It is so long overdue that Ben, or his sub-editor, is being kind to the ALP by phrasing it as a question. Honestly, it should be “Labor has lost Gen Y”.
The piece sums up how many people that I know feel about the ALP, and the current state of Australian Politics with neat summaries like this:
We’ve been burned too many times. It started when Rudd put a rain check on the great moral and economic challenge of our time. It continued when Gillard announced she was atheist, but still against same-sex marriage, alienating every Australian voter who respected logic.
He also provides an explanation for voting for the Greens that is probably one of the most requested by ALP-voting parents of Gen Y:
For voters like me, the Greens don’t seem radical any more: they’re simply occupying some of the political space Labor left vacant years ago. Plus the Greens have professionalised, filling their ranks with level-headed, media-savvy, intelligent MPs and candidates who have backgrounds in law, agriculture, design, social science, science, public health and medicine. They have become votable. Which is why I’ve voted for them, and probably will again. Looking at the voting data, I know I’m not alone.
So far, so good. Benjamin makes a number of other excellent points along the way, but after decrying the lack of a “long-term aspirational vision”, he is, as they say, hoisted by his own petard, with a similar lack of vision by suggesting that:
If you’re young and still believe in the party that gave us solid IR laws, allowed women control over their reproductive rights and gave indigenous people native title and an apology, now is the time to sign up…you could very well be our next prime minister.
I disagree. The ALP must be pretty broken if the cream of the crop, or at least those who can rise to the top, are people like Craig Thompson. What hope does have this putative prime minister have?
I reckon that now is the perfect time, or at least as good a time as ever, for the Kevin Rudd’s and Malcolm Turnbull’s of our generation to create a better alternative for future voters. A party that is socially progressive on issues like same-sex marriage, climate change and refugees combined with an economic platform that makes them a genuinely electable and viable force. A party with vision, is that too much to ask?
They would have my vote. I dare say that they would have Malcolm Turnbull’s and Kevin Rudd’s as well.