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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 24, September 27, 1976.

Labour Play Pitiful Opposition Role

Labour Play Pitiful Opposition Role

Labour in opposition, as in 1950 and 1961, shows an advanced case of shell-shock. The most remarkable thing its done so far is to have a record numbers of members sent to the privileges committee. There has however been a realisation of the problems of communication ("with the election and 10 000 Auckland hotel workers pulling out of the Party thats not surprising).

Yet it's still the same ball game. When Muldoon pushed through the Industrial Relations Amendment allowing employers to sack on the spot, the Labour Party stoutly attacked it. Not on the grounds that it page 11 was an unwarranted attack on workers tenuous rights. But on the grounds that it wouldn't work The end is apparently not in question only the means.

The picture that emerges is fairly clear and fairly unpleasant. What working class base the Labour Party once had in its policy and actions has long gone. The stress is on technocracy and meritocracy. "We can plan anything better", and "if you're good you can get to the top". The ideals behind the most successful moves of the first Labour Goverment have been lost on the way since. Import control is a dirty word now, and is for egalilartanism..........

So, David Exel might say, you see the problems. Now isn't the best way of doing something about them joining the Labour Party and changing it? Surely if the student politicos took over the Labour Cabinet things would be better?

There a no denying the fact that better people in Parliament would make some difference. But where would they come from? There's a long history, on both sides of the House, standing against it. Thinking "wouldn't it be nice if......and rushing off into action never really got anyone far, We cannot ignore the history of the Labour Party, the history that has led, through successes as well as failures, to the present situation.