Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Wanted urgently: more Lionel Bowens

As some of the great people of the Labor Party die (Margaret Whitlam, Lionel Bowen), so does the heart and soul of the party (''Death of Labor elder Bowen, who remained an everyday bloke'', April 2).
Labor federally is now down to 27 per cent of the primary vote, a wipeout federally if an election were held this Saturday.
But the party has been here before and revived. Darcy Byrne writes that the party needs a renewal of grassroots organisation (''Is the Labor brand terminal?'', March 31-April 1). How true, but where are the activists coming from?
Gen Y and Gen Next demonstrate a startling indifference to being members of any party. They seem to prefer the online activity of GetUp and Avaaz and Witness the response from these generations to the Kony campaign. If you asked many in Gen Y and Gen Next who Margaret Whitlam and Lionel Bowen were, I doubt they would have a clue.
GetUp-type campaigns have their place but they do not groom a new generation in the arts and sciences of political leadership. Lionel Bowen was an everyday bloke who rose to become the deputy prime minister of this country. Where are the future Lionel Bowens coming from?
Jenny Haines Glossodia

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