ALP in deep trouble in Western Sydney; expert
Despite the sparkle surrounding the return of Kevin Rudd, there is no indication that a sudden outburst of prime ministerial charisma will make any significant difference in the election, according to a political expert from the University of Western Sydney.
Dr David Burchell, from the UWS School of Humanities and Communication Arts, is the author of Western Horizon: Sydney’s Heartland and the Future of Australian Politics (opens in a new window) and The Prince's New Clothes: Why do Australians Dislike Their Politicians? (opens in a new window)
He says recent opinion polls showing a drop in support for the government, including in the Western Sydney seat of Lindsay, indicate how hard it will be for the government this election.
“Western Sydney has been crucial in every federal election since 2001, and Lindsay is Australia’s current bellwether seat,” Dr Burchell says.
“All the signs are that the ALP is in an irrecoverable position there.”
Dr Burchell says the return of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister has not had the effect imagined by his backers.
“People had a curious nostalgia for Mr Rudd, because a kind of collective memory failure led many people to imagine that things got worse for Labor only after he left,” he says.
“But what they see now is not the fantasy Mr Rudd has cultivated subsequent to his removal.”
Dr Burchell says Kevin Rudd is now facing the same problems as his predecessor.
“Julia Gillard had become unpopular in Western Sydney chiefly because she had come to personify voters’ frustrations with the government’s limited authority and faltering competence,” he says.
“If Labor figures imagined Mr Rudd could heal those wounds by his personal touch, they are about to be disappointed.”
“The proposed Papua New Guinea solution to the asylum-seeker problem looks too much like a short-term fix designed to run for the course of an election campaign, and other daily announcements look improvised and implausible," says Dr Burchell.
20 August 2013