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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
Beyond Belief: What Future for Labor?/Button, John/Paper/1863951474/S024-E
Australian Quarterly Essay, Issue 6
John Button looks at what has gone wrong with the Labor Party. What has happened to the faith of the True Believers and why is the ALP so bad at recruiting new members? He offers a tough-minded analysis of what when wrong in the last election and asks why the Labor Party has turned its back on its destiny as a party of reform. Here is a very cool account of the factions which seem to stand for nothing but their own power bases, and the unions who both give and get little from the ALP. In a withering analysis, John Button looks at the quality of Labor members and the short-sightedness of a party turning its back on ideas. This is an essay by a man who still believes in Chifley's light on the hill but who thinks the only hope lies with new believers.
John Button was Senate Leader of the Hawke and Keating Labor governments from 1983 until his retirement from politics in 1993. Over the same period he was Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce, playing a leading role in re-structuring and developing Australian industry. He is a professorial fellow at Monash University and a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers.