The Guardian July 19, 2000


Editorial:
The case of John Della Bosca

When the great split took place in the Labor Party in the mid-1950s it 
led to the formation of the extreme right-wing Democratic Labor Party 
(DLP). But, the split did not extend to the NSW branch of the ALP.

Under the influence of Cardinal Gilroy, those who sympathised with the DLP 
were urged to stay in the Labor Party to maintain their positions and 
influence inside. They remain there to this day.

The mission of the DLP was to keep the ALP out of parliamentary office. By 
giving their preference votes to the Liberal Party they succeeded in do 
this for many years. 

It was not until Gough Whitlam was elected in 1971 that the DLP blight was 
finally overcome. The DLP became discredited and withered.

But, this did not alter the situation in the NSW branch of the Labor Party 
where the extreme right-wing remained entrenched. Personalities have come 
and gone but the right-wing influence is predominant and its purpose 
remains the same  to foist policies on the ALP which bear very little 
difference to those of the Liberal Party and to do as much damage to the 
ALP in certain situations.

No-one could believe that John Della Bosca attacked the ALP over the 
question of the GST without knowing precisely what he was saying and its 
consequences.

With a federal election not so far away, his statements were calculated to 
cause maximum embarrassment to the ALP and to spoil its chances of being 
elected. 

This is not to carry a torch for the present leader of the Federal Labor 
Party who's very limited commitment to "roll back the GST" will leave the 
fundamentally regressive GST in place. 

But even "roll-back" is not to the liking of the big corporations who not 
only want the full Howard Government economic policies to stay in place but 
would like to see the GST extended to food and to increase the rate above 
the present 10 percent in due course. Furthermore, the ALP is committed to 
remove some of the most obnoxious of the Howard Government's anti-union 
legislation. But why should Della Bosca kick his chance to become the 
National President of the ALP? He may not have won.

Influential journalist Michelle Grattan says that the Labor Party "needs a 
widely accepted and known public face, not one of the hard men of the NSW 
Right ... as it goes into an election."  

If Greg Sword were to become the National President of the ALP the right-
wing would extend its control of top positions.

Then there is the position of the ACTU. Greg Sword who is now being touted 
as ALP National President was at one time the right-wing nominee to become 
Secretary of the ACTU. But he did not make it. Instead, two left-of-centre 
personalities hold the positions of President and Secretary of the ACTU.

There is also a rising level of struggle against the policies of the Howard 
Government and the big corporations. These developments together with some 
international changes are worrying to the powers-that-be and they are not 
in the mood to hand over office to a Labor Party, even one that has very 
limited policy differences.

Della Bosca's statements must be considered on the background of the 
current political situation and not as some ill-considered, off-the-cuff 
remarks.

Della Bosca is not the first and will not be the last Labor rat, but it 
remains to be seen whether he is thrown out. He is now backpeddling to stay 
in. It is much more effective to attack organisations from the inside. 
That's why Cardinal Gilroy gave the advice that he did in the 1950s.

The Communist movement has also had its rats. Gorbachev as General 
Secretary, not only destroyed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union but 
dismembered his country, the Soviet Union. He did this from the inside. 
There were also those in Australia who brought down the old Communist Party 
 from the inside.
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