NSW Rules Committee Minority Report

The NSW_Labor_2014 Rules_Committee Minority_Report

Australian Labor Party
Annual Conference 2014
NSW Branch Rules Committee
Minority Report

The party has issued its Rules Report ahead of conference. The preamble
indicates that there were differences of opinion on both the principles and the
detail on a number of issues.
We have taken the unusual step of releasing this Minority Report because
there was one issue on which there was a major division. That issue was the
future role of direct election in NSW Labor.
Eighty three party units moved resolutions calling for direct election in our
party forums. The majority on the Rules Committee rejected one hundred and
twenty four of these resolutions. They covered areas as diverse as the
preselection of members of parliament, and the election of party officers, the
administrative committee and of delegates to conference.
This represents a significant groundswell in the ranks of ordinary party
members that is not being addressed. Put simply, party members feel that
power in the NSW Labor Party is in the hands of too few people.
The move to bring back Policy Committees, while welcome in itself, will also
see changes to the first state-wide direct election ballot under the NSW
Branch rules.
Further, we welcome the fact that at this conference we will adopt a move to
directly elect Labor’s leader. However reforming Labor in Macquarie Street,
but leaving Labor in Sussex Street untouched, is not acceptable.
We look forward to the debate on these issues at the conference.
John Graham Assistant General Secretary
Jan Burnswoods Member
Peter Primrose Member
Anthony D’Adam Member
27th June 2014

Party units moving rules resolutions calling for direct election at the
2014 NSW Annual Conference Continue reading

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The Rules Report – did your motion get up?

Please find attached the NSW Labor Rules Report for the 2014 Conference.

208 rule changes were proposed by party units, including branches, SECs, FECs, affiliated Unions, and various other party bodies. Those proposals have been considered by the Rules Committee, which has decided which ones to accept, which to reject, which to note, support in principle or refer onwards to other committees.

There are 27 proposals that have been accepted (adopted).  20 of these 27 proposals came from the Rules Committee.
The successful proposals include:
- direct election of the Leader of the State Parliamentary Party
- formally removing the requirement for party members to be union members
- removing restrictions on the use of community preselections by the Admin Committee
- removing the requirement that State Conference be held every year
- adding a requirement to behave with integrity and honesty.

There are 25 motions that have been supported in principle. These are mostly motions calling for direct election of the Parliamentary Leader.

There are 132 motions that have been rejected, from approximately 83 party units.
They include:
- motions calling for more direct democracy in the election of upper house candidates, conference delegates and other party positions. These are about 60 such motions, including two from the AMWU.
- perhaps a dozen of motions calling for the reduction of union representation at conference, and/or calling for election of union delegates to be directly by union members
- several motions calling for democratic reform of Young Labor
- a call for the reduction of preselection nomination fees

There are also 25 motions that have been noted, or referred to subcommittees. These are mostly statements of principle, rather than actual rule changes, though not entirely.  They include calls for greater democracy, reduced union representation, and other matters.

What happens next?

The report will be presented to conference.  Delegates to conference may move amendments to the report, and speak for or against those amendments.  Finally, Conference will vote to accept the amended report, which will determine what the rules are until next Conference.

An announcement on the proposed composition of the Admin Committee is still pending. It will probably go through a similar process to the Rules Report.

A copy of the full report is here.

Posted in NSW ALP State Conference | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Time to stand up

If anyone doubts the need for reform, may we recommend Jim Bright’s excellent piece, The ALP in New South Wales; who controls it and how?, Kevin Rudd’s letter announcing for the National Intervention into the NSW branch of the ALP, and the resulting Report into the National Intervention of the NSW Branch of the Australian Labor Party.

In Kevin Rudd’s words, while reforms to date “should be encouraged and are a step in the right direction, the NSW Branch must go significantly further”.

There are reforms to be voted on by State Conference this year, on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th of July. These proposals include, amongst others, John Faulkner’s ALP Reform Agenda:

  • binding and enforceable commitments to integrity, and
  • direct election of Senate and Legislative Council candidates.

The NSW ALP Democracy Project (an alliance between Local Labor and OurALP) encourages you to support and campaign for these rule changes, and other pro-reform rule changes.

The conference will also be asked to formally ratify the rule changes made by the National Intervention, as per the above cited report, including the changing the election of the Administrative Committee members. Under these new rules 18 members of the committee will be elected by conference delegates from the affiliated unions, and 18 by the delegates from State and Federal electoral councils. The NSW ALP Democracy Project supports these changes, though we are concerned that they be seen as the next step towards reform, not as the final step after which no further reform will be required.

OurALP further encourages you to consider what happens between conferences when as per Rule D.1 (a)

The Administrative Committee is responsible for the management and administration of the Party between Annual Conferences.

In NSW there are no independent members of the Administrative Committee, every member of the Administrative committee belongs to one or the other of the major factions.

We believe that this has to change.

To that end, OurALP supporters will be nominating for the Administrative Committee and the Rules Committee. We ask you to support us, and to campaign for us.

Alternately, if you are pro-reform but would prefer not to support us, we ask you to run. We ask you to nominate yourself, or to nominate someone you would trust with the direction of the Party.

Nominees and nominators must have been Party members since 2012. They are not required to be conference delegates.

Nomination forms must be received by head office by 12 noon this coming Friday, the 27th. In theory, nomination forms are available from head office. In practice, and contrary to the spirit of Conference, we have found them to be not entirely forthcoming. Therefore, you may instead wish to download one of these: Administrative Committee nomination form, Rules nomination form. If you choose to nominate, we would appreciate you letting us know, perhaps via an email to ben.aveling@ouralp.net, so that we can work together between now and conference.

Posted in NSW ALP State Conference | 1 Comment

For the diary

Some upcoming dates of potential interest:

Tuesday 17th June – Open Labor NSW Launch

7:00 pm,  Beauchamp Hotel, 265 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Geoff Gallop will speak to Open Labor’s inaugural NSW meeting on the current state of Australian politics, and why Australia needs a more open, democratic and dynamic Labor Party.

Friday 27th June – Close of nominations for positions to be elected at the State Conference

12 noon, Sussex St.

Positions: President; General Secretary; Senior Vice President; Junior Vice President (2); State Organiser; Administrative Committee (36) (18 elected by affiliated union Delegates and 18 elected by all other Delegates); Conference Policy & Agenda Committee Chair; Conference Policy & Agenda Committee Deputy Chair; Conference Policy & Agenda Committee Secretary; Conference Policy & Agenda Committee Members (21); Conference Policy & Agenda Committee Proxy Panel (12); Finance Committee Member (5); Rules Committee Member (9); NSW Labor Women’s Forum Chair; NSW Labor Women’s Forum Deputy Chair; NSW Labor Women’s Forum Secretary; NSW Labor Women’s Forum Member (15); Country Labor Committee Chair; Country Labor Committee Deputy Chair; Country Labor Committee Secretary; Country Labor Committee Members (15); Trustees (3); Organising, Recruitment and Training Committee (11); Returning Officer; Assistant Returning Officer (8); Senate (3); and NSW Legislative Council (8).
Nominations must be on an official nomination form, and signed by 5 nominees.

Monday 21st July – Local Labor NSW Launch

7.30 pm, Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

Senator Faulkner will launch NSW Local Labor. Timed one week before NSW Annual Conference, this will be a highly visible opportunity to show support for party reform.

Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July – NSW Labor Annual Conference

Sydney Town Hall

State Conference is the supreme decision making body in NSW. It sets the Party’s rules and policy and elects its governing committees.
This is the opportunity of the year to secure real reform.

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The ALP Democracy Project

Three independent/pro-reform groups (Open Labor, Local Labor, the Independents Group and other individuals) have united to encourage and support “people from across the party who support democratic reform” in running as delegates to the Victorian State Conference in mid-May. Of the 37 Victorian FEAs, 17 managed to elect at least one pro-reform delegate.

See: http://www.openlabor.net.au/alp-democracy-project.html

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Shorten’s reforms – good, bad or both?

Shorten’s reform speech may be found here: http://billshorten.com.au/towards-a-modern-labor-party and here: http://australianpolitics.com/2014/04/22/bill-shorten-alp-reform-speech.html, including transcript, audio and Q&A.

Some of Shorten’s reforms are more symbolic than anything else, such as formally ending the rarely enforced mandatory union membership. Others, such as the increased weight for the rank and file in lower house preselections, will have impact only in some states, while others are more of a statement of intent or a call for action by others, such as the target of 100,000 members or the call for State Leaders to be elected by a 50:50 vote of rank and file and caucus.

There are gaps, big ones, but overall the package is positive and a real step in the right direction in several ways:

  • up to 20% increase in weight given to local members’ vote in House of Representatives preselections

  • local members to have a vote in Senate preselections (details to be worked out)

  • local members to have a vote in choosing Federal Conference Delegates (details to be worked out)

Even the parts that are symbolic, or statements of intent, add weight to existing calls for real change:

  • no longer compulsory for members of the Labor party to join a union

  • intolerance of corruption – and acknowledging that lack of reform has enabled corruption

  • a membership based party

  • State and Territory parties to follow the lead of Federal Labor and elect their leaders using the 50:50 system

  • acknowledging that intervention by the National Executive (the ‘plenary power’) has been abused, “as a substitute for convincing members”.

  • acknowledging that good process, involving locals, leads to better preselections

  • acknowledging that the party’s electability is linked to reform.

There are things missing:

  • no concrete actions on many of the problems acknowledged above

  • nothing on branch stacking, nothing about payment through traceable means

  • no significant change to the union relationship, no change in union representation, not even pressure for unions to give their members the right to vote for their own delegates to conference

Shorten has been criticised both for going too far, too fast – by people who would prefer no change. And Shorten has been criticised for not going far enough – which is true, but is not a reason to reject the changes that Shorten is proposing.

These change deserve to be supported, and they need to be supported.

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Local-Labor to launch in Queensland

A Queensland Chapter of Local Labor is to be launched on Monday May 5 by Senator John Faulkner.

Details, and RSVP, at https://www.facebook.com/events/1496170017271964/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

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