Guest post by Wheel Reinventor
Interesting post Wheel Reinventor, but I would partially disagree with the premise.
It's not that Labor doesn't move further left due to electoral constraints, it is actually constrained by the propaganda model - oligarchy, corporate media, geopolitical superpowers and other powerful interest groups. All of these interest groups wield enough influence and power over the means of communication to frame and shape narratives and debates, which is what influences voters. This fits with your bike example. While the government did wield influence over setting the agenda for that issue, the reality was interest groups were on the side of the government and driving change. The government was working in step with the propaganda machine and not counter to it.
The ALP already did go further left in 2019, but it failed because the entire propaganda machine was geared and hostile against it (which is even worse when you are in opposition). The people who didn't vote ALP in that election were not voters losing franking credits or grandfathered property tax concessions, but rather lower-middle income people who got freaked out by the overwhelming policy agenda and became susceptible to the fear mongering and perception that change would somehow be bad for them (even though objectively the policies were in their interest).
This stuff also played out with Rudd's RSPT mining tax. Sensible policy, some might even say it's "more left". But it was derailed... Was it because of the voters? Was it because of the ALP not being "left enough"? No, it was firstly due to opposition from powerful interest groups and secondly a failed political strategy to provide a counter-narrative and communication against those interest groups.
Aus swing voters aren't against progressive economic change per se, but they freak out at radical proposals to change the status quo when they are negatively sold by the propaganda machine as such. They are much more comfortable with boring, mundane politics that improves lives without the fanfare.
In the case of VIC, the ALP state govt has gone increasingly left the more electorally emboldened and dominant it has become. It is far less restricted by the propaganda machine for a number of reasons, and hence has the liberty to push further left without significant political damage from hostile groups. It could go further still, and maybe it will. But I think it shows that the political constraints on the ALP are real, and when removed/reduced they can and do go further left.
AUKUS is another good example. I think it would be ludicrous to suggest that Albo and Wong wanted to sign up to it from the beginning. But they already knew they couldn't win an election without adopting it (the entire US + corporate media machine + ASPI against them is suicide). The ALP has been resigned to kowtowing to Washington since the CIA couped Gough Whitlam. They know the realities of our place in the world - a vassal of the US empire. And so do what they can to work within those constraints.
You can try to be a hero and fight the machine head on, but in the long run where does that get anyone? Not lasting change in any case.
Careful Cameron, we all know what happens to those in this day and age platforming anti democratic content.