Julia Gillard's advice to Labor: "Purpose matters."

In a 4000 word missive published in the Guardian today, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard voiced her support of Labor going forward and offered some advice and commentary on how the party can get back on track. 

On the leadership spill in June, she said, "Labor comes to opposition having sent the Australian community a very cynical and shallow message about its sense of purpose... It was only done - indeed expressly done - on the basis that Labor might do better at the election."

On Tony Abbott: "being relentlessly negative can pay huge political dividends. But at some point in the political cycle, the public will want to know the genuinely new way in which you describe your purpose, not just your critique of the other side." 

Among Labor's successes, she lists "fair work, education reform, disability care, health and aged care reform," as well as "modernising the economy, turning our nation towards Asia, and appropriately and fairly responding to the native title decisions of Mabo and Wik." 

On the carbon tax: "Climate change is real. Carbon should be priced. Community concern about carbon pricing did abate after its introduction. Tony Abbott does not have a viable alternative." 

On the Labor party's internal culture: "Countless hours of work can go on behind closed doors on policy development. These efforts are generally never seen by the public and can even be close to invisible to colleagues. Real efforts need to be made to change this method of functioning, to show purpose to the public and to ensure the best contributors to the collective work of the opposition are clearly identified to their colleagues." She then goes on to suggest policy contests be held in the open, "live on 24-hour television." "A norm would be set that ideas matter and those with the best ideas are the most valued." 

"Labor must continue to stand behind the significant policies which are right but are currently outside the national political consensus," she said.

This follows Anthony Albanese's declaration yesterday that he would run against Bill Shorten for the Labor leadership.

Read Julia Gillard's full statement here.

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