By Rob Quinn
If the present mess is continued then the Party, (but not its ideals), may come close to extinction.
I see the problem as a ‘stick in the mud’ Party leadership, who have bent only a little towards the path of reform. If they are on a ‘good thing’, their thinking is, probably to stay with it, i.e. preserve the present Party structure which makes sure that they remain in control with access to future seats in the NSW MLC and the Australian Senate.
A suggestion as to a solution to the above would be for all Party members to be allocated a P.I.N. number with their annual membership card. This PIN could be used to vote for replacement candidates for such positions as a membership of the NSW Legislative Council, especially for Labor MLC members who retire before their full term. Prospective ALP replacement candidates could be invited to post a brief summary of their credentials on-line, with policies, and reasons for election for all NSW ALP members to see.
Members could then vote using their PIN. Members without computer access to the internet, or who are unfamiliar with computer use, could be given the names and addresses of local members prepared to help them lodge their vote.
This could be summarised as “e-membership” and “e-democracy”. To make sure of the workings of such a system a pilot programme could be carried out in a selected region, may I suggest my own region of Gilmore, and any faults or failings could be fixed before the system is made NSW wide.
The possibilities are great. Candidates pushing policies would be able to travel to different Party units speaking and discussing all matters prior to the vote being taken.
Determination would be needed by all sides to get the idea up and running. The present Party leadership would need to be dragged along to agree with the above.
The present protests of the membership seeking a more democratic Party structure will no doubt, continue for a long time. Will these protests simply be ‘hot air’ which can be easily ignored by the present Party leadership? The above idea of “e-membership” is one part of a suggested solution.
Forming committees and having forums and bus trips for solutions to Party problems can be largely a waste of time if the few same faces are the only ones to attend.
Politics is the art of the possible. Electronic voting by a mass membership has a very good chance of re-making our ALP.