Monday, 17 May 2010

Preferred leaders

Julie Bishop the Deputy Opposition Leader and Labor Senator Mark Arbib were asked an "objective" question on Lateline on Friday night (here)
When does a party know that it's time to change leader? What are the signs that are, "Look, you know, we really need to change courses now."

Arbib couldn't really bring himself to answer the question as Leigh Sales wanted it, and while Bishop got the point she didn't do much better. Though she did make the good point that it doesn't really make much difference changing the leader if they don't also bring about change in policy.
This is of course what happened when Abbot took over from Turnbull, there was an about face on emissions trading policy. But not when Nelson took over from Howard.
Present speculation that K Rudd is now so unpopular with the electorate that he may be a liability makes this sort of question interesting and is rife here in the press today and here.
While Ms Gillard, as the Deputy, is no doubt front-runner Labor seems to be in the fortunate position of having any number of candidates. This is partly because of the phenomenon of being in government, I would suspect, we see Lindsay Tanner, Julia Gillard, Craig Emerson, Chris Bowen, Nicola Roxon...perhaps not so much Mr Swann, and certainly not the hapless Peter Garrett ... but also the affable and feisty Mr Arbib.
So, all this begs the question....when do you know that you should change your leader?

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