Sam Dastyari: Labor Will Do What It Does Best -- Blow Itself Up
Wow. Or, as one of the most senior Bill Shorten lieutenants texted me last night while I sat on Network 10’s election panel -- “what the f just happened?!?”
At my local cafe this morning, where I have perched to write this column, everyone wants to talk politics.
"Did you know?" I keep getting asked.
"Did you have any idea of this?"
I tell them the truth. No one in Labor expect this result -- no one. I saw all the Labor party polling. I spoke to all of the senior shadow Ministers. None of them saw this coming.
A lot will be said about the results of last night. History will be rewritten. There will be endless columns, hand wringing, and -- for Labor -- questions over how it lost the un-loseable election.
Firstly, Scott Morrison won. Nothing should detract from that. He ran the perfect campaign and everything broke his way. This victory is his -- and his alone.
The Labor party will now do what it does best: blow itself up. It will be completely lost.
It can’t argue it wasn’t left wing enough (which is how its base normally explains a loss). Nor can it claim it wasn’t bold enough on a broad policy agenda. Even the usual line that Labor was dis-unified doesn’t work. The Labor party was the most unified it has been for a generation.
Anthony Albanese has already put himself forward as the next Labor leader. Tanya Plibersek is sounding out colleagues. It’s likely a Chris Bowen or a Jim Chalmers will also enter the fray.
I want Penny Wong to run. Last night, I made the case for her on Network 10.
She can unify Labor. She can hold the base. She can win. It just requires getting her into the lower house.
There will now be a crisis in Labor. It won’t know how to handle the result.
All polices will be re-examined. Everything will be rethought.
The Labor party will begin its own circular firing squad. Blame will be apportioned. Unfairly, many will try to put it all on Bill Shorten.
“Bill was never popular,” they will say. "He never connected.”
That might be true. But that’s also a cop out. This is a fundamental failure that runs far deeper than Bill Shorten.
If I was to try and find a silver lining for Labor today, it would be this: the Coalition lost the last ‘un-loseable election’ in 1993 and were back by 1996. That’s a pretty long bow.
Those in the Labor Party have to live in hope --but there isn’t much of it around today.