Labor’s identity politics – the left’s blight on the hill

Labor’s identity politics – the left’s blight on the hill, by Adam Creighton.

The Labor Party’s new policy platform provides an opportunity to test the idea that parties of the left are increasingly mouthpieces for the concerns and pieties of the ­educated elite.

A striking analysis by economist Thomas Piketty has shown how the main left-of-centre parties in Britain, the US and France have steadily transformed from being parties of workers to being parties of high education since the 1950s.

He didn’t include Australia but Labor’s new 211-page document slated for discussion at Labor’s ­national conference — “a clear statement of Labor’s beliefs, values and program for government” — helps provide the answer here.

Mentions of “intersex” — that’s the “I” in LGBTIQ, in case you didn’t know — occur 63 times, ahead of those more esoteric concerns such as “wealth” (61 times) and “inequality” (47). Whatever intersex means — or is — it’s also far more important than “ownership” (12 mentions), “production” (18) and “distribution” (10).

That “bisexual” out-mentions “poverty”, 31 to 23, says it all. Ben Chifley and Bill McKell, Labor leaders who once championed the dignity and incomes of ordinary men and women, whatever their bedroom proclivities, must be turning in their graves. The light on the hill is now more like a strobe disco ball in a gay nightclub.

The 15 mentions of “LGBTIQ” and a further 21 of “LGBTI” — ­together roughly on par with “homelessness” (41) — perhaps ­reflects the ascendant intersex faction’s Bolshevik-style crushing of the formerly dominant queers, whose more mainstream views are going out of style.

But I digress. Why is the oldest political party in Australia so ­obsessed with this marginal, elitist rubbish? Why does it care about bisexuality anyway, when, as Woody Allen said, it immediately doubles your chance of a date on Saturday night.

At least upper-class women are still front of mind, given Labor’s promise to “promote diversity in corporate Australia, including a quota of 50 per cent on government boards”. Thank God for champions of change like AMP’s Catherine Brenner. …

What’s not important to New Labor:

In the section on banking you may have expected something with economic teeth. Labor clamoured for this royal commission after all. Breaking the banks apart perhaps, or changing the law to make limited liability contingent on higher taxes on top bankers? Nothing. What about how the ­financial sector siphons billions in fees each year from ordinary people — not all of them alive — arguably the biggest public policy issue in Australia today? Not a peep. …

What is important:

Labor will “establish a Commissioner for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex ­Status issues, to work across government and the private sector”. Just what we need, someone else on $339,460 a year to tweet and ­foment grievance. …

The current left and right parties, handing out the sinecures:

Whatever their rhetoric, Piketty suggests so-called left and right-wing parties have ditched their respective advocacy for redistribution on the one hand or genuine free markets. “The ‘left’ has become the party of the intellectual elite or the Brahmin left, while the ‘right’ can be viewed as the party of the business elite, or the ‘Merchant right’,” he says.

Super is a boon for the finance industry and a tax shelter for the well-off, but a dud for everyone else:

Far from just neglecting the poor, Labor’s determination to ratchet up the rate of compulsory superannuation to 12 per cent positively hurts them. “Raising the super guarantee doesn’t just ­reduce workers’ take-home pay, it also hits the federal budget. It is a myth that superannuation reduces government spending on ­retirement,” concludes the Grattan Institute in a paper out today.

Ok, this is from a US context, but it graphically illustrates how “progressivism” has changed”: