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Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

I just got off a plane, waiting for my connecting flight, and decided to check the news.

What do you know, apparently a special caucus meeting has been called where it’s expected Nathan Rees will be challenged for the leadership by either Frank Sartor or Kristina Keneally.

It’s hard for me to keep updated on the situation from the airport, and when the meeting is on I’ll be on a plane, so consider this an open thread for information and discussion on the challenge.

A quick comment on the issue – If Labor knifes Rees, it’s probably the stupidest thing they could do and will consign them to defeat at the next election.

Update:
The Right need to get their act together if they want to knock off Rees. At the moment, there’s still no consensus candidate with Keneally saying she won’t challenge Rees but if there’s a spill she will contest, and Sartor expected to challenge.

If they remain divided it’s possible that Rees can hold on, given he has pretty much all the Left votes and a handful of those on the Right.

Some Left MP’s have apparently stated that if Keneally becomes Premier they will defect from the party and sit on the crossbenches.

Update: Unconfirmed suggestions that Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt is being sounded out by MP’s and the party office.

Update: NSW Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell has called for a no confidence vote in the State Government. Silly move in my opinion. He should just shut up, sit down and watch the fireworks.

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A Nielsen poll out this week has the Coalition leading Labor 55-45 on a two party preferred basis with primaries running at 43 per cent, 31 per cent for Labor and 13 per cent for The Greens.

The Labor primary has not moved since the State ALP conference were Labor figures, including the Premier, were expecting the dumping of the unpopular Joe Tripodi and the populist reaction to the issue of political donations to provide a boost. Indeed, some were claiming that if there wasn’t a bounce it would be the end of Rees’ leadership.

Further polling revealed that the Coalition is now leading Labor as better handlers of every policy area besides education, which is evenly split at 44 per cent.

This is a terrible result for Labor and shows they are far behind in their traditionally strong areas.

Unsurprisingly, the polls have renewed leadership speculation. The problem is still the Right’s inability to choose a replacement.

Today there were rumours of a John Della Bosca-Eric Roozendaal ticket challenging at the final caucus meeting of the year tomorrow. Not a very surprising combo but still just a rumour.

You would think that Labor would be happy enough with the federal Liberal Party exploding without having to create their own excitement. On the other hand, maybe they will use the cover of tomorrow’s Liberal leadership spill to do their own knifing?

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Rees terminal

Breaking: The Daily Telegraph will report tomorrow that Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid has told Nathan Rees he no longer has his support and also that Rees’ staff have no idea where he is.

If this is the case, I expect a spill this week or next.

Update: Here’s the story:

The Daily Telegraph can reveal Labor kingmaker Eddie Obeid met with Mr Rees and told him he should consider resigning.

Mr Rees has not surfaced since taking a week-long holiday on Saturday. Bizarrely, the official line from Mr Rees’ office yesterday was: “I don’t know where he is.”

Update 2: Channel Nine’s political reporter has apparently been briefed by a number of MP’s, including a “senior cabinet minister” confirming that Rees will be thrown out early next week and replaced with Planning Minister Kristina Keneally.

Update 3: It appears that Nathan Rees has issued a statement effectively declaring that he isn’t going anywhere. If we take the last couple of developments at face value you can come up with a fairly plausible scenario. The Obeid/Tripodi faction that were supporting Rees have now thrown their weight behind Kristina Keneally. Rees is digging his heels in and counting the numbers. No word on whether the non-Tripodi Right will back Rees, Keneally or their own candidate (Della Bosca?).

This article seems to suggest that the Labor Party is trying to quell rumours of an imminent spill. It suggests that John Della Bosca is spreading rumours of a Tripodi-Keneally deal to spread disarray within the party.

I don’t think Della Bosca is that stupid. But any political journalist stupid enough to take what Della Bosca or his supporters say about leadership issues on face value should be sacked.

To me, this smacks of damage control. If the deal to push Rees out was made and it was going to happen next week, the last thing the plotters would have wanted was the story leaked days before, creating and exposing all sorts of tensions within the party.

Update 4: It looks like we were right to be sceptical of any deal. The Daily Telegraph, who broke the story, are backtracking very quickly.

The rumours that a deal had been done for Mr Rees to resign next week in favour of Ms Keneally – who is holidaying in the US – appear to have stemmed from a bizarre text message sent from Indonesia.

Rebel MP Tony Stewart sent a text to backbenchers yesterday morning from Jakarta claiming to have knowledge of a deal. Labor head office also swung in behind Mr Rees last night to protect his leadership amid reports a deal had been done between factional warlords for him to resign.

The leaking of a supposed resignation deal is believed to have also been pushed by MPs in the camp of Health Minister John Della Bosca, who is believed to be manoeuvring to challenge Mr Rees for his job.

But Labor MPs said yesterday it was still too soon – mainly because there was no obvious replacement.

I always find it hilarious that our widely read and supposedly respected newspapers can make an unequivocal statement one day, contradict it the next and continue to act as though they are the irrefutable bastions of truth.

I don’t think is the end of leadership speculation for this week.

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It looks like that unless a leadership challenge is brought on competing elements of the Labor Party will continue to leak and leak and leak. I’ve provided my analysis on the topic of the leadership and the state of the Labor Party here and here.

Today I’m going to share this surreal article that manages to present half the Labor caucus as potential leadership candidates.

Highlights after the jump.

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Reports tonight suggest that Premier Nathan Rees may reshuffle his cabinet as early as next week to flush out those plotting against him.

The NSW cabinet is a poisonous den comprising of at least half a dozen factions and sub-factions, most of whom are at war with each other. It’s fairly obvious why Rees would want to clean it out. The difficulty he faces is that he doesn’t have the numbers or the personal support to dictate to the party and hand out positions as he sees fit. His tenuous leadership is built on keeping powerbrokers on both sides happy and he simply can’t risk making any more enemies.

Rees’ goal is to crush the plot to unseat him. The problem is, there’s more than one plot. Sacking John Della Bosca or Tony Kelly would escalate tensions and probably bring on a spill sooner. The reports today were predicting that Energy Minister Ian Macdonald is in Rees’ sights. Macdonald has been tainted by an expenses scandal in which he spent $150,000 on various lunches – earning him the title of ‘Sir Lunchalot’. Macdonald is a weak minister and, following the scandal, electoral poison. Rees probably should throw him out but the fact that he’s close to Della Bosca means that any move against him will be interpreted as a warning shot against Della Bosca.

Nathan Rees has to be very careful. Given the continuous undermining of him by various elements within the party, he has a legitimate reason to reshuffle the cabinet and restate his authority. But if he goes too far he risks forcing his enemies to come out from the shadows, knives in hand.

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This week saw the return of much missed leadership speculation within the NSW Labor Party. Both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph ran front page stories on a supposed imminent challenge to Premier Nathan Rees by the Health Minister John Della Bosca.

Every couple of months the media in NSW run a story about an upcoming leadership challenge. If it’s not Della Bosca, it’s former Planning Minister Frank Sartor or Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt. So it’s a good idea to take these reports with a healthy dose of scepticism. The motivation of the “sources close to the plot” have to be scrutinised before we can determine how accurate the story is. Previous attempts to topple Rees by Della Bosca have been scuppered by the latter’s enemies leaking the story to the paper before the numbers had been counted. I’m curious as to why both the Herald and the Daily Telegraph are so eager to be used as pawns in factional brawls.

Before we look at the numbers in the Labor Party and the credibility of John Della Bosca as a potential Premier, there’s a point raised in both articles and again today in The Australian that should be discussed.

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Is not a Labor MP but a political reporter for The Australian.

I apologise for all the posts on Labor’s leadership woes but everytime I try bring the mainstream media back to reality they go and outdo themselves.

Both the Fairfax and News Ltd. papers have been egging on a leadership contest since last year, almost immediately after Rees was elected leader. Now things have subtly changed.

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