The only way PM Anthony Albanese will win the next election

URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL

For Anthony Albanese to win the next election, new Queensland Premier Steven Miles has to lose his. The good news is that both these things will almost certainly happen.

There is a strong Australian tradition of punters voting one way at a state election and then the opposite at a federal level.

In 1992, Victorians elected Jeff Kennett in a landslide. The following year they produced the miracle result that delivered Paul Keating “the sweetest victory of all”.

Likewise throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, NSW voters flocked to John Howard in droves – introducing the famous “Howard battlers” of outer Western Sydney – while at the same time making Bob Carr the longest serving state premier.

Queensland is a more motley fish but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be a great catch for federal Labor, even if for Miles it will be the one that got away.

In politics, as in life, everyone wants to win now, win big and win all the time. Sadly these three wishes are almost always incompatible.

The ultimate case in point is Miles himself, who has been newly installed as Queensland premier in a frenetic union deal. However he, in truth, has been handed the mother of all hospital passes when it comes to the state election less than a year from now.

Short of Opposition Leader David Crisafulli being exposed as a Satan worshipper, it is hard to imagine any scenario in which Labor will not be caned to extremities unseen since the kitchen table caucus it was reduced to after Campbell Newman’s mega-mudslide.

Of course it must be acknowledged that Annastacia Palaszczuk led her party back from that apocalyptic result in a single term — a genuinely astounding feat — but that doesn’t mean a similar apocalypse isn’t on the horizon. In fact, that is the point.

In applying his wholesale control and installing Miles, as part of a deal with the Australian Workers Union, the United Workers Union kingmaker Gary Bullock has anointed a king with the power and political nous of Prince Harry.

Given that Miles has all the political baggage of Palaszczuk but none of her residual folksy charm, it is impossible to see how he is being sent to anything less than a slaughter.

What then? It is a follow-up question I am always amazed that political operators fail to ask.

Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy famously warned in 30 Rock: “Never go with a hippy to a second location.” Steven Miles is in that second location right now.

Perhaps he will be happy to serve as premier for less than a year and get his picture on the wall. Can he then serve as opposition leader after losing the top job? History says no: Even when Gough tried it didn’t work out. Twice.

And so he will be, to use a technical term, gawn. And with him the influence of his political godfather, as well as the dominant Left faction which has split between Miles and his far more articulate, telegenic and relatively unscathed rival Shannon Fentiman.

Apparently, after the Cameron Dick deserted her to shoo in Miles, she has been promised the rich reward of being allowed to keep her current job as health minister instead of becoming the premier.

She and her bolshie union backers in the AMWU and CFMEU must be brimming with gratitude. No doubt peace will reign forever.

The irony is that in what is almost universally predicted to be an oncoming electoral inferno, the cleanskin Fentiman would have at least saved the furniture. Miles will struggle to save the asbestos.

And so this begs the question: What is the party thinking? Does Queensland Labor really want to die?

The answer, like all political answers, is yes and no.

The most generous assessment is that Miles is being sent to the top paddock for a quick trip to the great hereafter while Fentiman is being kept in reserve for the next great assault from opposition against a future Crisafulli LNP government. Whether they know this is the plan or not is another question entirely.

But it will give Queenslanders the chance to expel all their anger about hospitals and infrastructure and red carpets and whatever else before they have to go to a federal poll. And nothing takes the heat out of a federal election better than a mass bloodletting at a state one.

In short, Queensland Labor’s immolation could be Australian Labor’s salvation.

Maybe Bullock is a secret genius doing black ops to clear the road for Albo to be a safe each-way bet for Queenslanders once the state is inoculated by the LNP. Maybe it’s just a blunt-force quick-fix power grab.

Or maybe it’s a masterstroke by the far cannier AWU designed to sacrifice Miles, split the left and ultimately flip the state back to the right — all the while extracting major tactical concessions that are essentially a feint in the long game.

And if Queensland does return to the good and holy path of Labor Unity it would almost certainly mean that the right would reclaim its place as the dominant force in the national party and peace really will reign forever. I’m sure there is a passage somewhere in the Bible that says this.

Either way, it’s as good a Christmas gift as any.

Read related topics:Anthony AlbaneseJoe Hildebrand

Leave a Comment