Follow up Open Letter to Sam Dastyari

Dear Sam,

Thank you for your reply of 11/4.  We do indeed share some common ground.  But there remain areas of uncertainty.Do you support the four core motions passed at the rank and file meeting of April 2nd?

I support your suggestions of an Amnesty and Primaries, but neither will make membership more attractive than it is now.

Banning factions would make membership more attractive, but how would it be done?

  • How would such a ban be worded?
  • How would such a ban be enforced?
  • Given that the factions traditionally dominate conference, how would the numbers be available at conference to effect such change?

Pending answers to the above three questions, “the end of the factional system at a State Parliamentary level”, or at any other level, seems less than assured.

What would give the grassroots rank and file member more reason to stay in the party is visible evidence that the worst excesses of the factions are being reined in. For example, you could choose to express your support for some or all of the core OurALP motions.

Or, may I request your support for the following two motions, passed by my own branch of Alexandria:

1. Intervention in preselections only in genuinely exceptional circumstances.

Rank and file preselections may not be overridden or delayed except in exceptional circumstances. The following are not exceptional circumstances: unproven allegations of branch stacking; star candidates; insufficient time to hold a preselection; desire for balance in gender representation; low membership levels; nor any reasonably foreseeable event. Proven allegations of branch stacking may be grounds for delaying a preselection. The following is exceptional circumstances: no nominations being received by close of nominations.If there is insufficient time for a preselection prior to the close of nominations, then any member may without repercussion nominate themselves for office, and all party members are required to vote for all such nominees in an order to be determined between the close of nominations and polling day but otherwise conducted as per the normal preselection process.

2. Timely conduct of Preselections

If one year prior to the earliest date on which a General Election can be reasonably expected, nominations for an electorate have not been called, the local Electoral Council is empowered to conduct its own preselection, following the usual rules for a preselection. One month’s prior notice must be given to all branches in the Electorate and to the Administrative Committee before an Electoral Council can vote to conduct its own preselection.

As you and I experienced with the Gilmore preselection, for example, there is little that causes the rank and file as much upset as having preselections delayed or preempted.  As with the four core OurALP motions, these motions do not call for the end of factional influence, only that it be exercised differently – through persuasion rather than diktat.

PS More than one person has asked me if the membership of the Administrative Committee is a secret. Is it?

Regards, Ben Aveling,
Secretary, Alexandria Branch

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