The recent stoush with the Greens points not only to the intellectual confusion of the ALP, but to a dangerous and growing divide within the party.
This is not so much a battle against the Greens, but a battle for the heart of the ALP, and Sam Dastyari's NSW Right is making its play.
The attack on the Greens was not to reclaim progressive votes but to reclaim the centre by rejecting the Left. It was not intended to reclaim the progressive reform mantle but to step back from it - by symbolically rejecting the reform they just enacted with the Greens (the carbon tax).
Some members of the ALP Left have expressed discomfort at the attack on the Greens. Why further alienate the very people who have been slowly leaking to the Greens? Why not embrace progressive reform, rather than machine politics? Dennis Glover made a telling contribution on this front yesterday.
It may be that Dastyari is confident of his numbers on this, that in the end the preferences swings-and-roundabouts will benefit the ALP, but it may also be that those aren't the numbers he's most interested in. This may be about who inherits the party after its electoral defeat.
Nick Feik Politicoz Editor
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