28 October 2019

Sean Kelly: “Labor will always scare voters. It represents change, and therefore risk. The fear can be minimised, but it can never be erased. For Labor to triumph, that fear must be overpowered by excitement. And that is a hard ask — partly because you won’t excite voters by just giving them what they say they want in focus groups. This might sound trite, but voters expect Labor to fight, even when they’re not completely on board with the cause. The party should have learned that in 2010, when it backed down on emissions trading, and bled support. Before this year’s election, I thought Labor’s platform fairly left-wing. In certain respects, like tax, it was brave. But what if it wasn’t left-wing enough? Labor tried to have it each way on Adani. It would think about gender quotas on boards. On the central moral issues of our time — climate and refugees — it copied its opponents. If Labor is willing to admit it did not have a sufficiently inspiring vision last time, does it really think the answer lies in being just a little more innocuous? … There are many ways to lose a battle, but the only surefire method is not turning up.”