The Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on the Melbourne and Sydney offices of the Australian Workers Union (AWU) on October 24 show the state is becoming more authoritarian at a time when more people are disengaging from politics as usual.
From his late teens, Bill Shorten would tell anyone who listened that his ambition was to be Labor prime minister, following in the footsteps of his heroes Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. But first of all he had to find a faction because, in the Labor Party, it is the factions who have the power to select MPs, premiers and prime ministers.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s persistent response to media questions about allegations raised in the unions’ Royal Commission concerning his former union, the Australian Workers Union (AWU), has been to refuse to provide a “running commentary”. After being requested by the commission to appear before it last week, he is now reported as saying: “I welcome the opportunity to talk about my 21-year record of standing up for workers”.