The answer is yes

Sydney Morning Herald

Is Labor’s brand dead?

THE rout inflicted on the ALP in Queensland was extraordinary – grim indeed for the Labor faithful, and a startling result even for experienced observers familiar with Australian political history.

Some will bracket this debacle with the defeat Labor suffered at the last NSW election, add to the mix that ALP governments were removed from office at the last state elections in Victoria and Western Australia, point to the Gillard government’s consistently low primary vote in the polls, and be tempted to conclude that Labor’s future is bleak, even that the party might be on a slippery slope to irretrievable irrelevance.

Others will contend that it’s not all over for Australia’s oldest party, partly because it is Australia’s oldest party. That is, the ALP has been around for 121 years, and has survived the most tumultuous ructions and upheavals, vicissitudes and plummets.

Moreover, just four years ago the ALP was in government in every state as well as federally. So to some extent there’s a cyclical element at play here; if you’re in government long enough, the “it’s time” factor kicks in, the punters stop listening, and the voting volatility (which has been particularly pronounced in Queensland) practically ensures your demise.

The ALP does have serious questions to ponder, as concerned activists have been emphasising for some time. To what extent does its malaise stem from the fact that the party has largely achieved the objectives that it was formed to pursue? And has struggled to shape a compelling set of contemporary aims and internal structures for the very different Australia of today? Labor has repeatedly demonstrated its resilience and adaptability in emerging from lacerating splits, demoralising defeats and philosophical tussles.

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