My analysis of each recommendation is below – order is as per 2010 review except where it makes sense to group related motions. Regards, Ben
Recommendations 1 and 15
1 Submit these recommendations to federal conference
15 Submit these recommendations to state conferences
Recommendation 1 is basically a request that the report be referred to National Conference. Recommendation 15 is a similar request, directed at the States.
- Recommendation 1: That these recommendations be forwarded directly to the National Conference of the ALP, as resolutions, rule changes, and amendments to the National Principles of Organisation (NPOs) for debate and determination by delegates.
- Recommendation 15: That federal, state and territory ministers be required to report back to respective Party conferences on the implementation of platform and policy commitments. Report to the ALP National Secretariat
Recommendations 11 and 12
11 Direct election of some national conference delegates
12 Direct election of some national conference delegates via postal ballot
Recommendation 11 is the first important recommendation – direct election of an (unspecified) component of National Conference. Expect fights here about if this should happen at all, and if so, to what extent. Recommendation 12 is effectively a subclause of Recommendation 11.
- Recommendation 11: That the structure of the ALP National Conference be changed to enable the increased participation of rank and file members through the direct election of a component of the National Conference.
- Recommendation 12: That any rank and file ballot for conference delegates occur at the same time as the ballots for the National President and Vice- Presidents, and that it also occur by postal ballot.
Recommendations 13 and 14
13 Stronger national president
14 Direct election of state presidents
Recommendation 13 gives some teeth to the position of National President – currently directly elected but nobbled by being a rotating position with no vote. It is a sensible recommendation, not earth-shattering, but it would be an small transfer of power from the factions to the rank and file and therefore will be bitterly opposed.
- Recommendation 13: That the National Constitution be amended so that the National President, elected by the membership of the Party, serve a full three year term. That a separate ballot of the membership be held to elect a Senior Vice President and Junior Vice President also to serve a full three year term. That all three members elected be granted full voting rights on the National Executive.
- Recommendation 14: That the National Principles of Organisation of the Party be amended to provide for the direct election of the Party President and Vice Presidents at state and territory level, based on the model proposed in this Review for the national level.
Recommendation 16 End free tickets to conference
Recommendation 16 would change the numbers at State Conference, somewhat, at least in some states. In NSW the effect would be to slightly strengthen the Electoral Councils by removing what is effectively free seats at the next conference for the ‘winners’ of the current conference. This is not a massive readjustment, but it will be bitterly opposed by those who are currently “winners”.
- Recommendation 16: That the National Principles of Organisation ensure that state and territory conferences be solely based on the principle of 50 per cent representation for members and 50 per cent representation for affiliates. That the practice of including additional delegates from administrative committees, policy committees, Young Labor, and the parliamentary parties in the members’ component cease. That any affiliation of non-industrial party affiliates in the future (e.g. LEAN or Rainbow Labor) not be included in the affiliates component, which should be quarantined to trade union representation only.
Recommendation 24 NAT determinations binding
Recommendation 24 seems likely to shift the balance of power between different party bodies. As the membership of all these bodies is determined using much the same mechanism, it’s not clear if this would lead to any difference in outcomes or not.
- Recommendation 24: That the decisions of the National Appeals Tribunal (NAT) be binding determinations on the Party. That the membership of the NAT be expanded and that matters be heard by more than one member.
Recommendation 25 Interventions in preselections
Recommendation 25 – intervention in preselections – is potentially the most important recommendation – expect attempts to water it down or sideline it totally.
- Recommendation 25: That intervention in Party preselections by the National Executive and state administrative committees only occur as a last resort, rather than a first resort, and then only in exceptional circumstances.
Recommendation 26 Primaries
Recommendation 26 – primaries – is another potentially important recommendation – it could be positive or negative. On the one hand, anything has to be better than what we do now. On the other hand, it’s hard to see who will support this. The rank and file don’t want primaries, they want rank and file preselections. The factions don’t want primaries, they’re quite happy with the current practice of interventions. A sensible outcome would be to mandate primaries in seats where active membership is below a threshold, but don’t expect the factions to permit that to happen.
- Recommendation 26: That the Party nationally implement a tiered system of Party primaries for the selection of candidates. That this commence in open and non-held lower house seats and be considered for held seats in the future. That a system with three weighted components be established comprising a 60 per cent component drawn from local Party members, 20 per cent from members participating from affiliated trade unions, and 20 per cent from registered Labor supporters in the community. That safeguards to prevent any corruption of this system be put in place such as: the principle of one vote, one value be enshrined to ensure that double or triple-voting not occur; there be minimum participation requirements in the union and community components of a primary to ensure that low participation did not distort results; that all participants be enrolled to vote for a minimum of three months and have a verifiable address within the electorate.
Recommendation 2 through 10, 17 through 23, and 27 through 31:
2 Survey the membership
3 Targets for membership growth
4 Budget for party building
5 Community organising model
6 National Director of Organising
7 Campaigning, organising and training academy
9 Grants for party building
10 MP responsiveness to correspondence
17 End dual voting
18 Conference delegates must be union members
19 Engage with trade union members
20 Restructured policy committees
21 Engage with community groups
22 Co-opt expert members to policy committees
23 Central policy branches
27 Outreach organisation
28 Community Dialogue program
29 Non-union affiliated organisations
30 Expanded role for Labor Connect
31 Labor Advisory Committees to include Campaigns and Growth Forum
Recommendations 2 through 10, 17 through 23, and 27 through 31 basically say that the party needs to actively court its own membership and supporters, and suggests ways in which this can be done. They should all be uncontroversial because, correct me if I’m wrong here, they don’t change anything important.
- Recommendation 2: That, as a first step towards re-engaging with Party members, the National Secretariat conduct the first national survey of Party members to seek their views, expectations and attitudes to the Party. Suggestions about improving Party organisation should also be sought. That the results of the survey be published in summary form to members.
- Recommendation 3: That the National Executive discuss and determine a membership growth target for increasing membership over the next five years, with progress targets set for each year. That membership numbers achieved be reported on an annual basis to the membership.
- Recommendation 4: That the National Secretariat and state branches dedicate an adequate and meaningful budget allocation to new party-building activities. That state and territory branches of the Party report to the National Executive on their budget allocations and activities annually.
- Recommendation 5: That the Party explicitly adopt a community-organising model which aims to empower and equip members to work in their local communities on campaigns, to build stronger community connections and to recruit members.
- Recommendation 6: That the Party appoint a National Director of Organising as a standalone position to grow membership and to assist the building of better branches. That the National Organising Director report growth activities to the National Executive.
- Recommendation 7: That the Party establish a cost-effective national campaigning organising and training academy to boost the skills, awareness and knowledge of members to allow them to better participate in party-building and recruitment activities. Report to the ALP National Secretariat
- Recommendation 8: That the Party grant an amnesty to former members who have left the Party over the past five years, but who are willing to rejoin. That the amnesty include the restoration of full membership rights; but that this amnesty not be extended to any former member who has brought discredit on the Party or its representatives.
- Recommendation 9: That a system of small, annual grants be established at national level to assist with party-building activities. That local branches be encouraged to apply for grants and the scheme be overseen by a panel of senior Labor Party members, removed from the day-to-day affairs of the Party.
- Recommendation 10: That branch correspondence to parliamentary representatives and state and territory branches should be responded to promptly to ensure branch members are aware their contribution has been considered. That Party units be permitted to have correspondence not responded to within three months brought to the attention of National Executive members by automatic inclusion in the agenda papers of National Executive.
- Recommendation 17: That ‘batt’ or dual voting — a system which offends the principle of one vote one value — not be permitted under Party Rules in any circumstances.
- Recommendation 18: That only financial members of an affiliated trade union be eligible to represent that union at Party conferences.
- Recommendation 19: To encourage the participation of more affiliated trade union members in the Party, that affiliated trade unions be requested to ask members to opt in to Party involvement (e.g. primaries, representing the union at Party conferences) on joining or renewing union membership.
- Recommendation 20: That the National Policy Committee be reformed to create a series of national party policy committees that reflect the Caucus committees of the FPLP.
- Recommendation 21: That the national policy committees incorporate into their consultative arrangements a series of workshops and roundtables with key community organisations, academics and researchers working in areas of policy innovation.
- Recommendation 22: The Review notes that the power to co-opt members to the National Policy Committee has not been utilised. That in future all national policy committees be strongly encouraged to co-opt expert members who are not factional appointees.
- Recommendation 23: That NSW Labor’s successful model of a Central Policy Branch be extended to other state and territory capitals and to major regional centres such as Newcastle, Wollongong, Launceston, Townsville, Fremantle, and Bendigo or Ballarat. That a National Policy Branch be established online, which would assist state based Central Policy Branches by providing national lectures, presentations and seminars online for Party members. Report to the ALP National Secretariat
- Recommendation 27: That the Party at a national level create a outreach organisation, which provides the following for progressive Australians: an online presence where they can engage with progressive ideas and policies; a place to organise progressive campaigns; an opportunity to engage with the Australian Labor Party. That this organisation be governed by a board of independent, senior party people and young activists drawn from the Party, union movement and progressive third party organisations. Report to the ALP National Secretariat
- Recommendation 28: That the Party at a national level institute a Labor Community Dialogue program as has occurred at state levels of the Party, to facilitate access and discussion between the Party, community organisations and community leaders, and that this be supported by an active series of online engagement opportunities that would connect progressive community organisations with the Party at both a membership and parliamentary level.
- Recommendation 29: That the Party’s National Principles of Organisation be amended to allow the affiliation of like-minded organisations, in addition to industrial unions. Furthermore, that campaign groups such as the Labor Environment Action Network and Rainbow Labor be granted ex-officio delegate rights at state and territory conferences and policy committees, once they are able to demonstrate and verify membership of a sufficient size.
- Recommendation 30: That Labor Connect be expanded as a membership organising and campaigning tool.
- Recommendation 31: That ALAC and state-based Labor Advisory Committees be expanded to include a new Campaigns and Growth Forum based on the ACTU model. That this forum be established at national level of the Party to connect affiliated trade unions, the Party and the FPLP into a more meaningful dialogue on shared challenges.