Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes Part 1

To the surprise of many in and around the Queensland ALP, the sun came up this morning. It must have felt like the end of the world last night as seat after seat fell to the LNP. Commentators recalculated and made new predictions and recalculated again, lowering the number of seats the ALP would retain, until the mind-numbing truth: they wouldn't crack double figures.

I hate to be the one to break it to them: for the few who scraped by and retained their seats, the worst is yet to come. 

The Survivors

Close your eyes. Imagine your office or your school or your newsroom.Think for a moment about the people you work with. Good people, mostly; friendly, competent, familiar. You share most of the same values and priorities and sense of purpose. You've worked with these people for years.
Uhoh! Instant restructure and a major round of redundancies. When you go into your workplace tomorrow, more than 40 of the fifty-odd people in your team are gone. Think of the four people you work most closely with. Whoosh. You're the only one left. The others are literally redundant, as of last night.

Some of your former colleagues saw it coming, but many didn't. You knew something was up, but you're staggered by the magnitude of the devastation.

There's worse to come. You were in the department that made all the decisions. You were the where the action is. Presto-changeo! You and your remaining colleagues have been moved to the other side of the building, to the smaller offices. Your job description has changed. You're not making the decisions any more.

And now, the most galling of all: your former colleagues are being replaced by a group of mainly new recruits. They don't know the business. They don't even know where the toilets are...but they know better than you, and they'll be making the decisions. They'll be sitting in the good seats where you used to sit, looking at you, blaming you for everything that's gone wrong, even when it's not your fault. They'll criticise the achievements you're most proud of, and you'll sit by as they soak up the praise for the work your team started but was unable to finish.

Did I mention that you might be paid less than you were, and have to learn new areas of expertise...all while worrying about your former colleagues and trying to ignore the nagging survivor guilt, and that inappropriate little voice that wishes you'd been booted out like 85% of your mates.

Welcome to ALP Survivor Hell

The Vanquished

There are surely a lot of hangovers around Queensland this morning. A few well-known ALP MPs - now former MPs - have logged into Twitter to thank their supporters and remove the "MP" from their Twitter handles. 

Fifty-one people have been judged, and for a whole range of reasons, more than 40 have been replaced. 

Some, like Paul Lucas, knew this day was coming, and took the opportunity to retire. Others thought they'd survive this triennial performance review. Sadly, some excellent members of parliament were just in the wrong seat at the wrong time and were discarded, such was the appetite for change.

Some have plans, many don't. 

But today they sleep, start to scrub away the emotional grime left after a long campaign, and be with their families and friends. 

Yesterday was a catastrophic loss for the ALP in Queensland. Survivors and victims of the Blue Tide will grieve, mourn and find people to blame.

Denial...Anger...Bargaining...Depression...Acceptance. Coming soon to an ALP Branch Near You.

In case no-one else remembers, I'd like to thank these people for their service.

Thoughts on the LNP later.


  1. Thank you for writing this. I have been involved in campaigns and seen good people lose their jobs through no fault of their own. It is always sad, and always traumatic. And no one says "Thank You."

  2. Thanks Archie. 'Thank you' gets lost, but it means so much.