Report from Sydney FEC NSW Policy Forum Candidate Event

Last Sunday, Sydney FEC organised a meet-the-candidates for the NSW Policy Forum, which was attended by about 30 of the candidates. I took the opportunity to ask them if they were factionally aligned. Most were. The three most common answers were:

  1. Left
  2. Right, but…
  3. Unaligned.

Most were running because they wanted more resources for their own policy priority. Some because they wanted progressive policy, or fairer, more equal policy, or more populist policy (policy that “reconnects with the community”). Some were concerned about execution of policy – how things are done rather than what things should be done. Plenty of people were interested in where funding should be spent, only one mentioned being concerned with where funding should come from.

A number of candidates give the impression they were running because it seemed like a good career move. And at least two volunteered that they were running because they’d wanted to be sure there was an election – unlike the Union positions on the Forum where a deal has been done and there are 16 candidates for 16 positions.

The below are my notes. If a candidate is marked as not present, remember that many candidates are regional and that there have been regional forums that most of these candidates wouldn’t have been at.

If you have information on the candidates, please feel free to share. In the interests of sort-of-full disclosure I’ve indicated which candidates are on my short list, but not why or why not.

See also their statements, either at or

Rainbow Labor has also surveyed the candidates:

Alison McLaren…
Email Alison

Priorities: Transport, Planning[Shortlisted]

Amanda Rose
Dulwich Hill/Lewisham…
Email Amanda…
Sees this as an opportunity for Reform
Andrew Zbik
Lane Cove branch
Priorities: Financing, especially proper financing for Infrastructure
Bryce Wilson
Email Bryce

Priorities: Regional issues

David Armstrong
Ku-Ring-Gai branch

Priorities: Aged care, mental health, transparency in development, anti-privatisation, pro-reform (“instead of being elected, they’ve been selected”)[Shortlisted]

Gayle Barbagallo
Rooty Hill
[Not present]
George Barcha
Email George
M: 0426 042 649
Hugh McDermott
Central Policy Branch…

Email Hugh…
Priorities: reconnect to communities, progressive politics, pro-reform (“this factional thing is crap – has to change”)[Shortlisted]
Huw Phillips
Glebe branch…


Priorities: youth policy, juvenile justice reform

James Marshall
Newcastle branch
[not present]
Hugh McDermott
Central Policy Branch…

Email Hugh…
Priorities: reconnect to communities, progressive politics, pro-reform (“this factional thing is crap – has to change”)[Shortlisted]
James Marshall
Newcastle branch
[not present]
Jay Suvaal
Cessnock branchEmail Jay
M: 0402 608 540
[not present]
Julia Finn
Harris Park…
Kirk McKenzie
North Sydney branch

Priorities: Charter of Rights

Lenda Oshalem
Email Lenda
M: 0406 244 356

Priorities: Crime, Juvenile Justice

Linda Scott
Erskineville BranchEmail Linda

Priorities: Federal State Relations – wants State to take more interest in Federal Issues

Michelle Miran
Jervis Bay/St Georges Basin Branch
[Not present]
Nick Finch
Coffs Harbour branch
[Not present]
Romola Hollywood
Email Romola…
Priorities: Early Childhood Education, Social Justice
Sarah Shrubb
Katoomba branch
[Not present]
Sue Kealy
Ourimbah/Narara Valley…

Priorities: Equality


Baden Kirgan
Panania branchEmail Baden
[Not present]
Byron Danby
Enfield South…

Priorities: “The forum itself”, and health

Carol Berry
Thirroul BranchEmail Carol

Priorities: Human Rights, Social Policy, Mental Health

Cassandra Coleman
[Not present]
Christopher Hepple…
Email Chris]
[Not present]
Darcy Byrne…
Darriea Turley
Broken Hill branch
[Not present]
David Harris
Email David
[Not present]
David Hetherington
Email David
[Not present]
David Latham
[Not present]
David Wood
Newcastle day/night……
[Not present]
Donald McAllister
Far North Coast Pottsville branch
[Not present]
Edmond Atalla
Rooty Hill…
[Not present]
Farid Ahmed
Marrickville Central…
George Houssos
Randwick-Coogee West…
[Not present]
Ian McNamara
Mount Pritchard…
Email Ian
[Not present]
James Brann

Priorities: Regional Services and Infrastructure, especially Mental Health, Schools

James Young
Hills/Baulkham Hills…
Email James

Priorities: Transport

Jennifer Golledge
Bankstown branch
[Not present]
Kathryn Landsberry

Priorities: Planning, Infrastructure, Transport

Kieran Drabsch
Email Kieran
[Not present]
Lachlan Drummond

Priorities: “Equality of Outcome”, Transport

Leanne Atkinson
Email Leanne
M: 0414 417 315
[Not present]
Leta Webb
Port Kembla…
[Not present]
Luke Whitington
“Proudly Left”Priorities: Progressive policy, for example free preschool and early intervention
Marcus Mariani
Cardiff/Elermore Vale branch
[Not present]
Marilyn Eade
Mayfield branch

Priorities: The ‘N40’

Mathew Ferguson
Email Mathew
M: 0421 934 228

Priorities: Members rights, engagement and participation[Shortlisted]

Narelle Rich
Port Macquarie branch
[Not present]
Nur-alislam Joarder [Not present]
Patrick Miller
Murwillumbah branch
[Not present]
Paul Reid
Campsie branch
[Not present]
Barney Langford
Charlestown branch
[Not present]
Raj Datta
South Strathfield branch

Priorities: Community Values, Equality

Ross Smith
Redfern branch

Priorities: Housing[Shortlisted]

Shane Prince
Malabar branch
[Not present]
Trevor Drake
Hardy’s Bay branch

Priorities: TAFE


Wendy Waller
Green Valley branch
[Not present]
This entry was posted in Misc, NSW Policy Forum. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Report from Sydney FEC NSW Policy Forum Candidate Event

  1. Cassandra Coleman says:

    I am Cassandra Coleman from Lithgow. I am from the Right.
    My priorities are regional jobs and services.
    I wasn’t present because it was my youngest daughters 8th Birthday Party and I try to achieve work and family life balance.

  2. Jo Holder says:

    Thanks Ben for this excellent summary.
    The candidate forum was discussed informally after last night’s Sydney SEC meeting. Tanya Plibersek’s office (Michael Vaughan) and Sydney FEC were commended for their event organisation and for the “blind date” structure (candidates move around tables.) It was noted that Sussex Street had failed in its undertaking to host more of these events and this was unfair to many candidates. (Candidates at an event have a ‘meet and greet’ advantage.) it was noted that the selection process weighting (40% to women, 40% to men and a regional weighting) was not clear. Concern was expressed that right and a left tickets have emerged. (One overt; the inner-city left one is framed as “you may wish to vote for these people”.) Some thought factional tickets are contrary to the aims of “rank and file” selection and would embalm even this limited “reform”. One delegate was concerned that elected representatives shouldn’t stand (including councillors). My view is that no member who already enjoys weighted privilege should stand (party employees or union employees.) One interesting take was that candidates should stand for an area (say 3-4 electorates) to break down the town/country demarcation. (A view put by candidate Andrew Zbik.) Clearly there needs to be discussion on ‘reform’ beyond the vested Admin Ctee. The Kings Cross branch endorsed 7 questions for candidates which is distributed to candidates. To view responses go to the Kings Cross Labor page.
    Jo Holder, assistant sec, KX

  3. Amanda Rose says:

    What will embalm this limited reform is if a majority of people opposed to significant reform get elected to it. If a decent number of people pro-reform get elected to it this can hopefully be avoided.

    As a labor party we should never disparage collective action to achieve our goals, nor enshrine a fantasy version of rugged individualism as some kind of advanced state of nobility. (I outlined my factional involvement in another post here down the page somewhere.)

    You might as well then exclude anyone on an SEC or FEC – if you’ve reached that level of involvement in the party its likely you know who most shares your goals and views as compared to others and want to see some people get wins in the party as opposed to other people and believe more in some policies than others, even if you haven’t formally joined a faction. This is not actually a bad thing.

    I was happy to answer the factional question when Ben asked it, but its a pretty blunt instrument really and doesn’t tell you much about a person’s actual commitment to reform.

    I have suggested a list of other people (indeed, with 63 candidates most people I’ve spoken to have begged me to suggest other people they can vote for), this is not factionally based. Indeed one of the people I’ve recommended is in “the other faction” to me, and some others I have no idea. I do know their election to the PF with or without me will help prevent the forces within the party (of which are many, and guess what! they are mostly in the one faction) that want to see the thing die getting their way.

    Pretending there aren’t people who’d be more committed to advancing reform in the party than others is an efficient way to get steamrolled (again) and to see the status quo continue.

    The geographical representation thing has a lot of merit, I think. The process has been unfair to people in rural areas, undoubtably. (even with the quota)

  4. Rob Johnson says:

    Can someone actually confirm the final elected list? Voted, can’t find result on ALP website – want to make sure we keep the pressure

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