Hipkins’ ALP colluder has worked for NZ Labour

More details on the Australian Senator’s chief of staff named as the person who colluded with Chris Hipkins over citizenship questions – he was a New Zealander who has worked in Parliament here for Helen Clark, Michael Cullen and Phil Goff.

NZH: Citizenship saga: Man who spoke to Hipkins is a Kiwi

A former staffer for former Prime Minister Helen Clark and Finance Minister Michael Cullen was the Australian Labor Party staffer who spoke to Labour MP Chris Hipkins, prompting questions by Hipkins about citizenship in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported Marcus Ganley, Australian Senator Penny Wong’s chief of staff, was the Australian Labor Party staffer who had spoken to Hipkins – a conversation Hipkins said prompted him to ask questions of Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne on the legal citizenship status of an Australian born to a New Zealand father.

Ganley was an adviser to former PM Clark and former Finance Minister Cullen during the Labour Government until 2008. He then advised Phil Goff as Opposition Leader.

Hipkins worked as a policy adviser to Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark prior to becoming an MP in 2008, initially under Clark’s and then Goff’s leadership.

In a written statement, Wong said a staff member in her office had “informal discussions with New Zealand friends about domestic political issues, including the section 44 debate.”

She said the questions Hipkins asked were not asked on behalf of Australian Labor.

“At no point did [Ganley] make any request to raise the issue of dual citizenship in Parliament, a fact confirmed today by Hipkins and the New Zealand Labour Leader.”

So, prompted by Ganley, Hipkins did some digging on citizenship here, supposedly  having no idea about the interest in Barnaby Joyce’s citizenship status.

Was it general dirt digging by two individuals independent of their parties? If so they have both seriously embarrassed their parties, and raises questions about the way they operate.

Julie Bishop, the Australian Foreign Minister, has said she would find it difficult to work with NZ Labour, prompting a strong response from Ardern.

Hipkins is currently the sixth ranked Labour MP, he is 7th on the party list for this election, and is Labour’s Shadow Leader of the House.

Can the Democrats learn and move on from Clinton?

In the US the Democrats are in disarray after not only an embarrassing loss to Donald Trump but also their failure to win majorities in either the Senate or Congress.

Trump should never have been able to win the presidency, but alongside other factors the Democrats managed to make a mess of their selection – Hillary Clinton – and their campaign.

Is there any sign of learning from their mistakes and rebuilding their chances?

Howard Kurtz at Fox: After Hillary: Are the Democrats ready to move beyond Clintonism?

The question now: Has the Democratic Party moved on from Clintonism?

Both the left and right are asking that question as the party tries to rebuild in the Trump era. I have no idea who might emerge for 2020, given the strikingly thin bench, or whether the party wants to go further left or try to recapture the working-class voters that it lost to Trump.

It seems the Democrats haven’t really had that debate, even with the low-profile chairman’s race won by Tom Perez. But some in the media are starting to examine the rubble left by 2016.

It’s not that Hillary herself has a political future. In a Rasmussen poll, 58 percent of likely voters don’t want her to run again, while 23 percent would like to see that.

But a Clinton-like candidate might face the same lack of excitement for a program of incrementally improving government, even without her flaws as a candidate.

On the other hand, a Bernie-style populist could connect on issues like trade, but might simply be too liberal to win a general election.

But surely the Democrats can come up with someone fresher and newer than Clinton or Sanders.

Salon: To win, the anti-Trump resistance must learn from the Clinton campaign’s mistakes

What’s interesting is how Salon sees Clinton as having blundered by pretty much running as the anti-Trump:

“Of all the strategic blunders made by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the most consequential — apart from neglecting the Rust Belt states — may have been the campaign’s ill-advised decision to portray Donald Trump as an outlier in the GOP who did not represent true Republican values.

“In the early stages of her campaign, Clinton went out of her way to defend the Grand Old Party’s reputation and highlight some of the conservative critiques of Trump, so as to emphasize her opponent’s uniquely ‘deplorable’ nature.”

That “backfired spectacularly,” the piece says, by alienating progressives and boosting Trump’s underdog status.

“The grand irony here, of course, is that liberals — not leftists — are the ones who have started to sound increasingly like alt-right conspiracy theorists. While alt-right Info-Warriors spew their conspiracy theories about the deep state’s planning a coup against Trump or about former President Barack Obama’s wiretapping of Trump Tower, liberals have gone in the other direction, embracing their own overwrought conspiracy theories with an all-powerful Vladimir Putin at the center of it all.

“But Putin is not responsible for the Democratic Party’s losing control of nearly 1,000 state legislature seats and all three branches of government during the Obama years.”

It is yet to be proven whether Russia interfered with the US election but even if they did the Democrats should have been able to benefit from the allegations. Remarkably Trump won despite being linked with Russia.

Clinton was a poor choice but even then a decent campaign is likely to have succeeded. Trump didn’t win by much (a few hundred thousand votes in a few states made the difference).

The Democrats are in a mess of their own making.

Labour in the UK are also in a self inflicted mess.

Labor in Australia have been in disarray for years.

Labour in New Zealand is trying to make a comeback after struggling after Helen Clark lost in 2008 and stood down, but they are still languishing in polls and have conceded reliance on the Greens to try and compete in this year’s election.

Are these all coincidental messes? Or are left wing parties losing their way in the modern world with no hope of success unless they rethink and rebrand?

“Nothing will be the same in Australian politics”

Nothing has been the same in Australian politics over the last decade. It’s been hard to keep up with all the party leader and Prime Minister changes.

In Major parties rocked in the heartland Mark Kenny at SMH says that things have changed even more after yesterday’s federal election:

Even if election 2016 results in the return of the Turnbull government, nothing will be the same in Australian politics. Not after this.

This election has delivered a seismic shift in the nation’s electoral landscape by effectively tearing up the conventional wisdom that managerial competence in a prime minister and cabinet should be enough, all other things being equal, to ensure a first-term government is re-elected.

Malcolm Turnbull’s vacuous second term agenda…

…has clearly failed to fire the imagination of voters. This much should have been predictable. Turnbull effectively vacated the field in terms of material promises for his second term, attempting instead to sell an economic growth mirage in a decade’s time based on the vague sense that an ambitious and unfunded ten-year corporate tax plan would mean jobs and confidence, and wealth distribution.

At best it was the replacement of material policy with something approximating “the vibe”.

At worst, it was simply unconvincing to ordinary people.

Turnbull’s purpose in replacing Tony Abbott has been squandered…

…through a surfeit of rank amateurism, political naivety, and surprising first-term hubris.

Neither party can take any longer term comfort…

…from the increasing tendency of Australians to unbolt themselves from lifelong party affiliations in search of value for their votes.

In short, both of the old party constellations have major problems in their heartlands which is why senior figures within each are talking privately about what to do.

Despite its strong showing, Labor’s primary vote was hovering at a near record low 33 to 34 per cent on Saturday night.

The Liberals have lost ground to populist protectionists…

…and apparently have no answer to this trend. And the surrender of Turnbull’s advantage through pragmatism over principle offered no protection.

There may be lessons here for New Zealand politics.

John Key and National may find that increasing numbers of voters seek more principle and less pragmatism.

Labour has major heartland problems and National seems to be losing ground there as well.

If similar voter sentiment to what is being seen in Australia expresses itself in next year’s election here we may be heading for an indecisive result that ends up delivering a mish-mash coalition.

And that will only make things more difficult for whatever major party ends up sort of in control.