Nominations close Friday

If you think the NSW ALP is working just fine for its members, you don’t need to read any further.

But if you think it could work better, then you should know that nominations have been called for the following positions:

Senior Vice President
Junior Vice President (2)
Administrative Committee (36) (18 elected by affiliated union Delegates and 18
elected by all non-union Delegates)
Platform Committee Chair
Platform Committee Deputy Chair
Platform Committee Secretary
Rules Committee Member (9)
NSW Labor Women’s Forum Chair
NSW Labor Women’s Forum Deputy Chair
NSW Labor Women’s Forum Secretary
NSW Labor Women’s Forum Member (15)
Country Labor Committee Chair
Country Labor Committee Deputy Chair
Country Labor Committee Secretary
Country Labor Committee Members (15)
Trustees (3)

Any member with at least one year of continuous financial Party membership can nominate. They must be nominated in writing by at least five members, each of whom must have been a member of the Party for at least twelve months.

Nominations must be on the official form, which is available from the NSW Party Office.

Nominations must reach the General Returning Officer by 12 noon, Friday 23 June 2017. It’s probably too late to mail your forms, better to email or fax.

Positions will be filled by a ballot of State Conference delegates, 29-30 July.


Posted in NSW ALP State Conference | 1 Comment

Motions to be considered by Rules Committee

Just a heads up that over the next few days and weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the motions that are going to be considered by the Rules Committee.

I’d appreciate your comments on which motions are worthy of support, or not, and why?

The motions are being posted at

Feel free to visit and share your thoughts.

Posted in Misc | Leave a comment

Reminder all branch secretaries, FEC secretaries, SEC secretaries: you have until Friday to submit Rule changes and Policy changes.

This is a reminder to all branch secretaries, FEC secretaries, and SEC secretaries: you have until Friday to submit your proposed rules changes and policy changes.

For an anonymised list of proposed rule changes, see Rules_Motions_2017-drop_1.

Only the motions that are of the form “change the rules so that XXX” will change the rules, even if passed.

Posted in NSW ALP State Conference | 1 Comment

Rules Committee to meet this Wednesday

The first meeting of the Rules Committee since last conference will be this coming Wednesday.

As yet, I don’t know much about what will be on the agenda. I’ll keep you as informed as I can. If there’s something you’d like me to try get onto the agenda, let me know, and I’ll do what I can.

Formally, proposed Rule Changes and Policy Platform Changes to be discussed at this year’s Annual Conference (29 to 30 July) must be received by the Party Office by Friday 2 June 2017. But the sooner your proposal is received, the better a chance it has of being considered.

Please make sure that any proposals you submit specify exactly which rule or which policy you want to change, and provide the wording of the change you want.

To give yourself the best possible chance of getting your change through, be as specific as possible. Otherwise, you are relying on the relevant committee to put in the effort to find words for you, and most of the time, that isn’t going to happen.

Do not just say “when XYZ happens, people should do PQR.” Instead, find the rule that describes XYZ and say something like “Delete existing B.99(c) and replace with the following: …’ (For lots of examples, look at last year’s Rules Report.)

Branch, SEC, FEC and Affiliated Union Secretaries can access the motions
portal at:

Posted in NSW ALP State Conference, Rules Committee | 2 Comments

A smaller Administrative Committee? Yes. But not yet.

There was one amendment to the Rules Report. I don’t have the exact wording. Basically, it was agreed that there would be a couple of people tasked with deciding the size of Admin, and that National Exec would be used to change the size of Admin, effective next Conference.

The bit about effective next Conference is good. Any reduction in the size of Admin doesn’t affect the balance of power between the factions – the difference between ’30 right vs 15 left’ and ’20 right vs 10 left’ isn’t all that much of a difference. But within the 30, and within the 15, there will be sub factions and sub-sub factions that only have 1 member. If they lose that one member, they’re out in the cold. The difference between 0 and 1 is a lot larger than the difference between 1 and 2. Having the reduction in size happen at next conference gives would be admin members time to reach out to the smaller sub-factions, time to try to form larger alliances. It may still get messy, but by using democratic channels, by raising the quota needed to get elected, it gives people a chance to build new connections – which is of course the whole motivation for the change. It’s a lot less messy than some negotiated/imposed reduction would be.

That it is being executed via National doesn’t fill me with joy. I’d much rather see us get our own house in order without the need for external intervention – but sometimes, it’s a bit art of the possible. Delaying the decision doesn’t necessarily make the decision easier. There’s perceived to be a chance that the Schott review may put constraints on the size of Admin, but unless that happens, then the decision won’t be any easier after conference than it was before this conference – just more urgent.

Posted in NSW ALP State Conference | 4 Comments

How the ALP’s new rules will affect you.

The Rules Report will be discussed some time late on Saturday morning.

The more involved you are in the Party, the more the new rules will impact you.

If you are not a party member, the main change you will see is more female MPs.  The new AA rules (Rules Report item 132, on page 70) will increase the percentage of Labor MPs who are female to 50% by 2025.

If you are a branch member, then at least 40% of your branch’s delegates to LGC, SEC and FEC must be women. This percentage will increase to 50% over time. If your branch already meets these targets, you may not notice much change – but a lot of branches are going to have to recruit additional women. Branches that don’t appoint enough women as delegates risk losing delegates to Electoral Councils.

If you are a branch secretary, then as well as the above, there other new rules to be aware of (such as Item 81, on page 46, Item ). Capitation fees have been abolished, which is one less thing to worry about. However, your branch returns must be in by 1st of April, or your delegates won’t be allowed to vote at the Electoral Council AGM. The president must sign the minutes at each meeting. And if you have a bank account with a ‘non approved financial institution’, you will need to move that bank account (Item 123, page 67). (At this stage, the only approved institution is, I believe, the CBA.)

If you are an Electoral Council secretary, then there are a number of new things to be aware of. You’ll really need to read the new rules.

In particular, Electoral Council secretaries need to be aware that:

  • The ‘minimum percentage’ is currently 40%, will rise to  45% in 2022 and to 50% in 2025. 40% and 45% round off – i.e to the nearest whole number. 50% rounds up. For eg, 45% of 3 rounds down to 1, but 50% of 3 rounds up to 2.
  • Electoral Councils must appoint at least the ‘minimum percentage’ of female delegates to annual Conference, and at least the minimum percentage of the following: President, Vice-Presidents, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer and Fundraiser and, in a Federal Electorate Council, Political Education Officer (Item 132, page 70). If they do not do this then their delegates won’t be seated at Conference (Item 80, Page 45).
  • Electoral Council AGMs must be held between April 15 and 31 May. (Item 79, on page 45). There are some other changes around giving notice too, which you’ll need to familiarise yourself with, if you are responsible for this.
  • FECs are to appoint one delegate to Federal Conference – in years where there is expected to be a Federal Conference (Item 82, page 47).

If you are highly factionally involved, there will be even more changes. You’ll really need to read all the rule changes to see which ones apply to you.

For the factionally involved, probably the biggest is a reduction in the size of the Administrative Committee. There seems to be consensus that the current Committee is too big, but no consensus about what the right size is, or even around what process should be used to decide the correct size.

The ideal size was not discussed at the Rules Committee – it was just agreed that it should be smaller, but not how much smaller. There was discussion around when it should happen. There was no conclusion, but it seems likely to be some time after this conference but well before the next one.

My personal preference would be for this current Conference to change the rules, with the change to be effective at next Conference, not least because doing it between Conferences will probably require yet another Federal intervention, whereas making the change at Conference allows the new Committee to be chosen by Conference, with all the advantages that a democratic decision has. I can foresee this leading to internal conflicts over who is and is not on the Committee. Hopefully, such conflict, if it happens, won’t impact the wider party, but I would have preferred a model where any such conflict was directed into a democratic competition at Conference.

The other concern I have is that we haven’t put in place any mechanism to help make sure we hit our Affirmative Action targets for MPs. And if the quotas are not hit, then preselections have to be held over, which would be very difficult for all concerned.

What I would have liked to have seen would have been a ‘best of both genders’ model where, when a preselection round happens, you start at the top of each gender and whichever man and whichever woman got the most votes, they are both preselected, and then you work your way down until you meet the minimum target. Alternately, you could have a model where the Affirmative Action Bonus is calculated after votes are cast, and before results are announced. Either way, you avoid the risk that the mandatory targets are missed.

At this stage, there are no proposed amendments to the Rules Report. If there are, I’ll update you when I can.

Posted in NSW ALP State Conference | 3 Comments

Rules and Policy

If not amended, then these will become the NSW ALP’s Rules and the NSW ALP’s Policies:

For your convenience, I’ve converted both to .xls: 2016 Rules Report xls, 2016 Policy Committee Reports xls. Please note, the conversion process is not perfect – if in doubt, refer back to the original pdfs.

If you see something in either report you don’t like, then talk to your Conference Delegates.

Posted in NSW ALP State Conference | 1 Comment

Labor Members’ Forum – How Can The ALP Better Govern Itself?

Perhaps the main theme of the Rules Report that will be put to this year’s conference is governance.

Appropriately, Open Labor are holding a forum on governance this Wednesday night:

Labor Members’ Forum – How Can The ALP Better Govern Itself?

Keynote Speaker: The Hon Dr Ken Coghill, Associate Professor of Governance, Monash University, Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, 1988-1992 Continue reading

Posted in Misc | 2 Comments

How to change Labor Party Policy by next Sunday


You will need:


NSW ALP Annual Conference is next week.

Amongst other things, the ALP Policy Platform will be decided.  The Platform is binding until next Conference.

Before the new Platform is adopted, there will be the opportunity to move amendments to each section. Continue reading

Posted in NSW ALP State Conference | 1 Comment

How to change policy in the NSW ALP (part 1)

The first step in changing party policy is to submit a motion to conference. Practically any party unit can do that, including Branches, and Electoral Councils.

Once you have passed the motion at a branch or SEC or FEC, the secretary has to submit it. If you’re quick, there’s still a few hours left to get it onto the agenda for the 2016 conference:

Has to be done by 12:00 noon today (Friday 6th November).

The motion will then go to the appropriate Committee. If they agree with it, they will recommend that Conference support it.

If Conference agrees with the Committee, which they usually do, then it’s Party Policy.

It can be that easy, depending on the motion.

It often isn’t.

If the Committee doesn’t support your motion, then to get it passed, you’re going to need to get the Committee’s decision overturned by Conference. And that’s no easier than it sounds.

(To be continued. See also, How Stuff Works…)

Posted in Party structure | 4 Comments