The Most Radical Reforms in 110 years of ALP history

It’s no surprise that Joe Tripodi is still blocking Labor Party reform. But did you know Sam Dastyari has said “[a]t the ALP conference in July this year I will be proposing the most radical reforms in 110 years of ALP history”.

We don’t think that what we’re asking for is radical. We just want our fair share of a say in the direction of the party. We want membership to be meaningful. And if that means closing a few loopholes in the rules, then so be it. Or course, we all know Joe doesn’t want that to happen.

What we’d love to know is what does Sam want, and what he is thinking of proposing. And we ought to be told now. Reasonable people may legitimately disagree on how much reform is needed, but Party Reform is too important to put the conversation on hold until July 9th.

So we’re sending an open letter to Sam, see below. If you want to support us, leave a comment on this post, or email me, or email reclaim_the_alp (sign-up required). If you can do it by this weekend, we’ll add you to the open letter when we send it.

Regards, Ben Aveling, Alexandria Branch


Dear Sam,

In last Sunday’s SMH, you are quoted as promising that ”[a]t the ALP conference in July this year I will be proposing the most radical reforms in 110 years of ALP history.” (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/tripodi-is-back-with-a-hand-on-controls-20110605-1fnj0.html)

Thank you. As individuals, as party members and as members of OurALP, we welcome your acknowledgement of the need for reform and we will do everything we can to hold you to that promise. But why wait until Conference? We ask you to detail now what you are proposing, to allow branches time to consider your proposals alongside the Rules Committee Report.

The reforms proposed in your letter of May 2011 lack substance. An amnesty, experiments with preselections, and similar tinkerings do nothing to make membership meaningful.

We are not naive. We know that ending “weekly factional meetings at the State Parliamentary level” has not ended factional manoeuvrings at the State Parliamentary Level, or at any other level. At best, it recognises that factional dominance of the party is preventing the promotion of, in your words, “the best ideas and people”.

Consider for example, the business-as-usual handling of the recent appointment of Walt Secord and Adam Searle to the Legislative Council. Half a week in advance of the close of nominations the press wrote with absolute certainty that “[t]he pair will replace former attorney-general John Hatzistergos and Right power-broker Eddie Obeid”. Having the decision immediately after the close of nominations, plus the raising of the nomination fee, sent a clear signal that this is not yet, to use your words again, “an open system”.

The 26th of March was a rejection by the electorate of business-as-usual. A credible vision for reform must do more than cherry pick the 2010 Review. We ask you to demonstrate real commitment to the spirit of the Review’s recommendations. For example, accept the proposals passed at the Tom Mann lecture hall one week after the election.

1. Implement the 2010 Review without watering down the key provisions – especially recommendation 25 – intervention in preselections only in extremis

2. Direct elections for senior party positions

3. Direct election of union delegates by union members

4. Effective rules against branch stacking

Yours for Labor,

Phil Drew
Leichhardt Branch

Chris Quilkey
Quakers Hill Branch

Ian Gallaway
Maria Cunningham
Ben Aveling
Victoria Rollison
Elayne Jay
Paul Jones
Alexandria Branch

Samantha Bell
Bomaderry-Nowra Branch

Alan Outhred
Michael Johnston
Summer Hill Branch

Stefanie King
Bomaderry/Nowra Branch

Ern Kotlash
Jervis Bay/ St Georges Basin Branch

Joel Kelsey
Newcastle/New Lambton branch

John Glyde
Mary Exel
Bob & Anna Flynn
Milton Ulladulla Branch

Lorraine Maftoum
Batemans Bay

John McCutcheon
Kiama Branch

Margaret Morgan
South West Rocks Branch

Max Knott
Ballina

Ron Kirk
Susan Birell
Judy Mahon
Adrian Ryan
Branch not stated

Kevin Boyd
Bellinger River Branch.

Ann Martin
Port Kembla Branch

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3 Responses to The Most Radical Reforms in 110 years of ALP history

  1. Susan Birrell says:

    As a relevative new member of two years I joined the party as I wanted to support the ideals of the ALP to protect the rights of workers which have been under threat along with other issues. After the loss of support in the Federal election and the devasting loss in the NSW elections I would have thought that there would be a concerted effort to access the reason behind voter rejection and make the necessary reforms needed to change the way procedures have been undermined. It is most disappointing to see that those who lead ALP NSW are continuing in the same methods which is not addressing key issues resulting in holding the party back from encouraging citizens to have confidence in ALP. The 2010 Review is an important document proposed by eminent party leaders and for branch members we need to see these recommencations put in place

  2. kevin boyd says:

    When will Sam and the other line and middle managers of the party understand that the Labor party is a party of the people for the people and that unilteral decisions made by these born in a bubble bureaucrats never have and never will be able to speak for or on behalf of the memebrship.
    This role is the sole domain of the rank and file through conference as a result of vibrant informed and and passionate debate from people engaged and directly impacted by the decision making process.
    Sam and others should stop pretending they are representing and advocating for the rank and file when they are neither.
    if you want reform and we all want the ALP to be relevant again in line with its aims and objectives as outlined in the rules package 2011 (which are subsequently abused and distorted by you and your kind) then allow the people to speak and drive the reform or change that is necessary and stay the hell out of it and do what you are told.
    Go and twitter yourself and massage your face book profile and leave the real work to those who know what they are talking about.
    Kevin Boyd
    Secretary Bellinger River branch

  3. Patricia de Heer says:

    I have worked as senior producer two on of Hawkes election campaigns plus one local election, never a member and I wanted to join but the structure didnt offer any hope of being heard. voted labor all my life 45 years, and will continue, but unless the people are heard it is not truely representative. the phrase ‘rank and file’ should be outlawed as it is oudated, the members/people are the ALP, when the party becomes truely representative I will be first in line, I offered my services at the last election, never recieved a call back,
    I live in a safe liberal seat so there isnt ant interest in taking on Mr Hunt, we are considered a lost cause

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