Author(s): Mark Latham
'During the term of the Rudd and Gillard governments, criticism of the Labor Party became a national pastime.' So writes Mark Latham, a one-time leader of the party and still its most perceptive - and fiercest - critic.In Quarterly Essay 49, Latham argues that the time has come to go beyond criticism to solutions. In that spirit, he offers a timely assessment of the future for Labor. He examines the key challenges: the union nexus, the Keating settlement, a real education revolution, a new war on poverty, climate change, and handling the Greens. With wit and insight, he suggests that Labor's biggest problem is the steady erosion of its traditional working-class base. Across the suburban flatlands of Australia's major cities, people who grew up in fibro shacks now live in solid-stone double-storey affluence. Families which were once resigned to a lifetime of blue-collar work now expect their children to be well-educated professionals and entrepreneurs. Can Labor reinvent itself and speak to a changed Australia?
Mark Latham was leader of the Australian Labor Party and leader of the Opposition from December 2003 to January 2005. His books include Civilising Global Capital and the bestselling Latham Diaries.