Green nod in interests of the party

ONE wonders what the rank and file Labor members feel about having their say on party leadership yanked away from them at the last moment.

Changes to how Labor elects leaders after elections means a ballot of all party members is held if the caucus puts up more than one candidate.

After a four-hour caucus meeting, the Parliamentary Labor Party announced that former deputy premier Bryan Green was elected unopposed as the new Opposition Leader.

But when the PLP led Labor to such a crushing defeat, the rank and file might be justifiably annoyed that those surviving MPs - along with the reanimated David Llewellyn and sole newcomer Madeleine Ogilvie - had total say on the leadership direction.

While you cannot force Labor MPs to run for the leadership, those expecting a ballot must feel pretty ripped off with the manner it has been given its new chief.

Of course, there are advantages of not having a vote of the wider Labor community.

One, it does not make the party appear obsessed with itself rather than the message that voters clearly sent it. Two, it allows an opposition to tackle the incoming government straight away.

And three, it negates the spectacle of two would-be leaders promoting the same party message while saying what a great candidate the other one is, but effectively indicating they're not up to the job - a la Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese federally.

Whatever the public opinion of Mr Green is, he is a survivor: literally of two light plane crashes and two Supreme Court trials, which delivered hung juries and saw the charges dropped.

Mr Green denied he is a political nightwatchmen, installed to guide potential future leaders Scott Bacon or Rebecca White through the perils of opposition.

Voters will just have to wait and see whether he leads Labor to the next election. If caucus thinks it's within striking distance of the Liberals come 2018, it won't hesitate to swap Mr Green for an MP with less baggage.


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