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September 23, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Unity. Strength. Hope. Together. Forward.

The Labour leadership competition has delivered a new leader for the Labour Party, and two stories are being told. Caucus members sing from a (socialist) rose-coloured songbook, claiming that waves of unabated unifying pleasure are washing over the caucus and party. Meanwhile, Patrick Gower and his gallery friends claim that unity is at an all-time low, the “ABCers” are already plotting revenge, and Cunliffe is finally taking his opportunity to exact revenge on those who have held him back in the past.

In truth, something in the middle of these stark opposites is surely true. The caucus is split along Robertson–Cunliffe lines, that is no secret; but they are unified in their values and the collective aim of replacing the government. Personal conflicts occur in any workplace, and don’t necessarily make them ineffective teams.

Regardless, the Labour Party has long claimed being a “broad church” as one of its strengths. Indeed, politics is the place for debate and differences of opinion, and I for one am glad that parties are not homogenous beasts. So, do we need unity? Yes. Is it the be-all and end-all, and needed to the extent that parties never have internal disagreement or tension? No. Politics is the place for disagreement, and for journalists to distract attention away from policy in favour of exaggerated or imagined disagreement within a party is to fail in their job of reporting real issues that matter to New Zealanders.

Over the ditch.

New Zealand Labour has a new leader, and the Australian Labor Party is starting the hunt for its new leader after the resignation of Kevin Rudd (who became leader after the resignation of Julia Gillard) after resigning himself to losing the general election. Australians are now resigned to four long years of Liberal government led by Tony Abbott.

Prime Minister Abbott has appointed one woman to his cabinet, is axing the Ministries for Women, Tourism, Youth, Housing, Climate Change, Resources and Energy and the Ministry for Disability Reform. But, never fear, the man who said that women would never be equally represented in “many areas” because their “aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons” has appointed himself the Minister responsible for Women’s Issues.

Onya, Tony.

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