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
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,
Quakers Hill Branch
Summer Hill Branch
Jervis Bay/ St Georges Basin Branch
Newcastle/New Lambton branch
Bob & Anna Flynn
Milton Ulladulla Branch
South West Rocks Branch
Branch not stated
Bellinger River Branch.
Port Kembla Branch