Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Greetings of Peace to all of us
It is with tremendous pleasure and happiness that I stand here and speak to you, delegates of the members of the Progressive Alliance, and delegates of political parties as well as those from labor parties and organizations. Welcome to the Gods Island. This moment reminds me to a historical event which also attended by several countries and initiated by Indonesia, the Asian African Conference. The spirit and soul of the conference has become milestone for the establishment of countries in the Asian, African, and Latin America regions. Dasa Sila Bandung has incinerated the birth of nation movements, to have mutual relationship in order to fight for their freedom and independence who have been under the claw of colonialism and imperialism. For me, this is the most important example in our human kind history, how collective awareness and also solidarity have been overstep the boundaries of countries, they became a positive strength of independence, which therefore was continued by the first Non-bloc Summit Conference in Belgrade/Beograd in 1961. I was present as the youngest delegate, at that time I was 14 years old.
What remained in my memory, and even became an aspiration/dream that I could not erase from my soul and thought is the establishing of a strong brotherhood among countries, an emotional bonding of nations, and eventually a cooperation between countries. It was certainly extraordinary, that at the time the world’s political condition was crystallized into two huge blocs, the eastern bloc and the western bloc , a new hope emerged from and was spearheaded by a handful of leaders of very young countries.
Clearly and distinctly they said “we non-blocs, we do not side with any bloc”. That movement was based by a spirit of effacing the practice of “exploitation de l’homme par l’homme, exploitation de nation par nation”.
The second part of the Political management Training for Young Progressives is happening again in Manila! The training intends to capacitate young and emerging leaders of political parties and social development organizations with tools that aid and advance their political work, while at the same time consolidate these young leaders that will help advance collective goals in the future under their progressive leadership. The expected 20 participants of the training are active members of political parties and organizations from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Thailand, age 20-35 years old.
1. For the past decade, beginning in the late-2000s, the major Australian parties seem to be racked by internal feuds and, in the case of labor, successive coups by rival leaders. What explains this seemingly strange phenomenon? What are the factors that have contributed to what seems like personality politics overtaking ideological coherence and party discipline?
If you look at Australia’s 116-year old federal parliament there are many examples of similar past leadership changes. However modern media and communications has provided unprecedented access and real-time coverage for such leadership challenges which have often been conveyed only in terms of personalities. This has obviously lifted the level of accountability on political parties and in 2013 Labor introduced significant reforms to its leadership election process to ensure future stability and this has paid dividends for Labor with an unprecedented unity and stability since 2013. The Liberal-National government continues to suffer from internal leadership dissent.
2. Australian politics have been unusually volatile even by Western standards. This seems ironic, given how the country has done much better than most of its peers vis-à-vis the Global Financial Crisis. What is going on here? Are we witnessing the “Americanization” of Australian politics? Is there deep-seated ideological polarization in the country?
The Labor Government of 2007-2013 provided Australia with strong economic leadership which protected hundreds of thousands of Australian jobs and saved the Australian economy from the fate that befell many of its trading partners in the region and across the globe. However many working Australians still feel the same disenchantment that has caused the surge of populism for anti-establishment candidates in other advanced democracies around the world. However, one of the effects of compulsory voting has been that Australian politics is less susceptible to the sort of extremist rhetoric that has recently been seen in the US and Europe. Australian Labor has always been the party of fairness and egalitarianism. We continue to develop policies that respond to the desire for more fairness and accountability amongst voters. At the recent election our focus was on fair access to healthcare, education, job opportunities and tax reform – policy initiatives that would mitigate the effects of globalization and inequality which are hurt working people around the world.
3. A bout of right-wing populism and anti-immigrant sentiment has bedeviled both America and Western Europe in recent years. What about Australia, given its stringent measures against illegal migration? What about the response to the recent terror-related events, with ISIS-affiliate individuals engaging in violence against civilians? Should we be worried about the rise of Le Pen-like, if not Trump-like, figures in the country? Or Australian politics is expected to remain ‘boring’ and ‘stale’ in relative terms?
Australian Labor is proud of our multicultural society and the anti-discrimination and anti-hate protections federal and state Labor governments have put into law. We will fight to keep those protections in place despite support for their reform within the current government and amongst some right-wing fringe groups. Despite the success of Australian multi-culturalism, Australia is not completely immune to anti-immigrant sentiment, but it is important to note these views do not have widespread support in the Australian community. Labor strongly opposes the types of anti-immigrant sentiment espoused by Trump-like leaders around the world.