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Dec 5, 2011

ALP Left hang tight to reforms as they step up numbers drive

The ALP's Left say they will not give up on key reforms trashed by the Right at national conference and will urgently move to recruit multiple members to force Labor to democratise.

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The ALP’s Left faction say they will not give up on key Bracks-Carr-Faulkner reforms trashed by the Right at national conference and will urgently move to recruit multiple members to force Labor to democratise.

A devastating summary of Saturday’s reform debate, obtained by Crikey, illustrates in stark detail the emasculation of the hallowed trio’s considered initiatives. All three elder statesmen spoke during the debate and were livid after the Right welched on delivering anything meaningful.

“The 2011 National Conference rejected in whole, or in part, the vast majority of … recommendations to increase the role, influence and say of the membership in Party affairs,” the Left report reads. “These recommendations if adopted, would have restrained some of the power of those currently in control of the Party.”

The progressive reforms — which included the direct election of national conference delegates and the ability of the party president to vote on national executive — were left stillborn after the Right refused to commit to hard numbers and instead hived off the issue to an implementation committee.

The report reveals just 13 — or 42% — of the 31 BCF reforms were adopted with a majority adopted in only part (30%) or rejected completely (26%).

The appointment of an organising tsar, a membership amnesty, the direct election of state presidents, a ban on dual voting, a strengthened National Appeals Tribunal, a reduction in preselection interventions and the official affiliation of like-minded organisations were all junked.

“Party-building activities and community organising won’t happen effectively in some branches and direct election of National Conference delegates remains unfinished business,” the report reads. It slammed the conference’s “very weak commitment organisationally to properly look at primaries”.

A senior Left source with direct carriage of the faction’s agenda slammed a media report yesterday that the Left had “abandoned” the proposal to directly elect 50% of delegates and had instead put a suggestion that the national executive would “explore options” for rank and file deployment.

“There were no last-minute changes, the Right just jammed through an omnibus of resolutions and it was highly unlikely most delegates knew what they were actually voting for,” they said.

At multiple points during Saturday’s debate Right convener David Feeney’s chief foot soldier Stephen Donnelly held up a sign with an up and down arrow to ensure the sheep in the bleachers baa-ed at the correct moment.

Yesterday morning, right wing AWU national secretary Paul Howes, a former socialist, was seen in close discussion with Faulkner in the conference’s nose-bleed section after his faction had smashed the initiatives’ intent.

The Right’s performance “underscored the extreme reluctance to move away from pre-arranged fixes”, the Left source said.

“On gay marriage, offshore processing and uranium they didn’t want to hear the argument and debate that is a normal part of open and democratic decision-making.”

The Right commanded 218 delegates on conference floor, the vast majority of which are controlled by ruling daleks and business-focused trade unions who consider corporate success as a the key barometer of the national interest. The Left were within spitting distance at 177 delegates but struggled corral the 20 defectors needed to control debate. However, on contested votes on uranium, gay marriage, offshore processing and live cattle exports, the biggest gap was just 12.

Its one clear victory — a change to the party’s platform to allow same-s-x marriage — was carried on the voices to avoid prime ministerial embarrassment.

Australian leader writer and former Kevin Rudd speech-writer Troy Bramston, in a Fabian Society Forum compered by Geoff Gallop just hours before the reform debate kicked off, said it would take another 10 years before Labor would broach the topic again — presumably after another bout of soul searching after defeat at the ballot box in 2013.

But change could come much sooner. The Left will campaign hard to recruit enough delegates to chip away at Right control and seize control of the agenda. Depending on which state they come from, just 500 or 1000 new members would see Right banished to minority status.

“The votes were so close that if we can turn the huge cheers heard during the conference on contentious issues into 500 or 1000 new members we’d see some important changes to the platform,” a source said.

“Reform is really about removing the filters so the rank and file can select people on the basis of their views. The things people care about can become part of the process. At the moment they are not.”

The Left would also abandon any previous inclination to work out fixes with the Right — the conference signalled an attitudinal change and there would now be a supreme hesitancy to compromise.

“This is about whether we mean what we say … do we believe in democratic engagement to make a better world? If we say yes, than there’s no way we would have voted to export uranium to India,” the source said, citing La Trobe MP Laura Smyth’s speech during the debate as the “best at the entire conference”.

Despite the rancour, there was still some factional cross-pollination evident in the conference’s aftermath with Anthony Albanese and Wayne Swan witnessed cheering the weekend’s cautious progress over a pint at Darling Harbour’s picturesque Watershed bar. Whether the cordiality will last is another question.

To catch up on Crook’s weekend coverage check out his posts on The Stump, including:

Andrew Crook —

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

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51 thoughts on “ALP Left hang tight to reforms as they step up numbers drive

  1. Edward James

    I spend my time and money encouraging in the minds of the peoples a belief that we do have the power to change the political face of our governments. Yes we can finish dismantling Labor at the Federal Ballot box. Consider what the peoples did in NSW. It has been clear for years Labor Party members themselves wont remove those parasites they know are consuming our taxes while eating their political party away from within. We the voting public should waste no time in finishing the job we started in NSW on March 26 2011. Keep in mind when you vote for change list your targeted dead wood last on any ballot paper. So they do not get to wander over to the opposition bench for expencive taxpayer funded RnR. Exercise your vote well when voting for change, number all the boxes! Edward James
    Edward James says:08:46am | 21/06/11

    Kevin Rudd is an integral part of the rotten culture which is the ALP, While David Penberthy mentions how Peter Beattie would know Rudd from his time as Chief of Staff for Wayne Goss. He David Penberthy fails to throw the Heiner affair hand grenade into the mix. http://www.heineraffair.info/site_pages/beattie.html
    With the two parties not much preferred wanting to see the end of him Rudd for different reasons. I must keep asking why we should not take this time to question Kevin Rudd about his inglorious past as Goss Chief of Staff. Edward James
    Quote from Former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie

    “…It Will Go Down In The Record Of This Parliament As The Petition With The Least Number Of Signatures On It.” And “….There Is No Audience For This Issue. There Have Been More Inquiries Into This Issue Than We Have Had Hot Dinners. The Answer Is: No, No, No, No, No And No. It Is Done. It Is Finished. It Is Over.”

    Former Premier Peter Beattie ridiculing the 84-page Lindeberg Petition on 28 October 1999 [see State Hansard p4502]. The Lindeberg Petition was a symbolic “one-man” petition.
    Marilyn Shepherd says:04:55pm | 21/06/11

    Oh lordy, the Heiner affair again. Do give it a rest. There was no Heiner affair.
    Christian Real says:05:28pm | 21/06/11

    Marilyn Shepherd
    Agreed, the so called Heiner Affair,has been trotted out for far to long by the pathetic Liberal supporters,radio shock jocks and their party.
    I also agree that there was no heiner Affair and the Liberals and radio shock jocks smoking gun is still firing blanks.
    Edward James:
    You say that “David Penberthy fails to throw the Heiner affair hand grenade into the mix”
    Perhaps Edward James,it is because there is no hand grenade to throw into the mix, there never was and there never will be.
    Up date based on happenings identifed best by the site know as the The Heiner Affair. Yet related to happenings in the Queensland Labor government this year where $120,000 dollars of public monies has been given to a Queensland women. The troubling issue is that no member of the public or elected member of parliament are allowed to ask why it was handed over. I am aware the receipent a first Australian Woman who was pack raped as a young gile while in the care of the John Hunter welfare instution, which was in its turn underthe control of the Queensland Government. This woman has identifed the money as shut up money, and she would like to have her time in court. That wont happen while an army of Labor and Liberal National Coalition supporters keep denying the child abuse ever happened. Edward James believes the information at this link is supported by wide ranging checkable elements of truth, much of which is on the public record.

  2. Davies Ben

    Well it is normal reporting for News Unlimited.

    There are several issues in the artilce:
    1. One what is government procedure? Once someone turns 18 documents are always shredded under our privacy laws.

    2. How has the victim made her claim?

    3. There are a lot of Cults in this country Queensland’s I am god is the best)))

    4. These cults as seen on 60 minutes convince people they were raped as children.

    5. Hypnosis is in our court system so in these times rape cases do increase with these controversial evidence as memory is treated as fact.

    5. It is normal reporting for Cato Institute owned newspaper here is there ideology

    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1409 Murdoch joins board of the Cato Institute!!!!


    So in knowing that Murdoch/Wendi Deng have an agenda with the Media Empire I refer to them like many in America as Propagandists and their Newspapers as Faux news…

    Actual any decent reporting into our economic system which is the determinate subject matter all around the world not ever going to be reported as the Banks will always increase the total sum of money by 3% every year. America here we come 5% of the world’s population 25% of the world’s prison population as crime is linked with socioeconomic status.

  3. Davies Ben


    The 14 points of Fascism. Murdoch’s Communist ARMY CENSOR THIS SITE!!!


  4. Davies Ben

    2 prime ministers same speech check it out

    http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13187 what harper is now doing in canada

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nCFmMWs1bY libertarians in the 1930’s

    colin powell’s weapons of mass destruction speech the biggest lie thus far this century

  5. Davies Ben


    Here you can clearly see Suzane’s Communist/Fascist hero Milton Friedman clearly outline to increase the total sum of a countries money supply by 3% every year to create a bankers utopia… But this for people with a brain so here is clarke and dawes explaining it again. How many posts will crikey censor?


  6. shepherdmarilyn

    The ALP keeps lying about so-called people smugglers knowing very well that giving refugees a ride is quite legal. Here is just a couple of the evil ones and the lies exposed in estimates by Andrew Metcalfe last year.

    http://player.sbs.com.au/naca/#/naca/wna/Latest/playlist/People-smuggling-lawyer/Wednesday, 26 May 2010

    L&C 101
    each occasion they would rotate back to Australia for a few weeks or simply to another post in the region and
    work there is the sort of fine detail we have not gone through yet.
    Senator HUMPHRIES—Sure. Language training?
    Mr Metcalfe—That would certainly be something that we would seek to do as well.
    CHAIR—I am not pressuring you for time. Senator Hanson-Young has 15 minutes in this area.
    Senator HUMPHRIES—If it was anybody else, I would say no, but I will let her go.
    CHAIR—I am just wondering whether she should do her 15 and then we will come back to you. Or, if you
    have got only another five minutes, we could wrap you up.
    Senator HUMPHRIES—No. I have a bit more than that, so I would be very happy to defer to Senator
    CHAIR—Then she could go home, because she has a young child here. So that would be most
    Senator HUMPHRIES—I come from a family oriented party, so I understand that argument.
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—Thank you. The reason it is so short is that I put the IOM questions to you
    earlier, so I snuck that one in. The final question I have in outcome 3 is in relation to the specific budget
    measure in Budget Paper No. 2 that refers to border security and the engagement with Indonesia. Do you want
    to find that? Do you want me to keep talking, or do you want me to let you find that first?
    Senator Chris Evans—I think you have got the right people at the table, Senator.
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—Great. So this engagement measure within Indonesia describes $31.2
    million going from the aid budget to managing irregular migration flows. I want to firstly clarify what that
    means in terms of going from the aid budget. Is that from Foreign Affairs? Is that from something else within
    Immigration? What will that actually be used for?
    Mr Metcalfe—In broad terms, Senator, that indicates that the activity is ODA eligible. It qualifies as overseas development assistance and is therefore drawn down from the budget administered by AusAID and
    the department of foreign affairs.
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—Would you be able to specify the items listed that will be funded through
    that $31.2 million and whether any of that money will actually go towards combating people smuggling, visa
    determination processes and the processing of involuntary returns?
    Mr Hughes—The combination of things provided for includes assisting UNHCR with the early refugee
    status determination of irregular migrants in Indonesia, supporting Indonesia with accommodation and
    detention arrangements for people—
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—That is detention facilities?
    Mr Hughes—Accommodation and detention arrangements for people intercepted by the Indonesian police
    and immigration. It is enhancing Indonesia’s capacity to undertake returns of people found not to require
    international protection and assisting the Indonesian authorities in improving their immigration system.
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—Does any of that money go to the IOM?
    Mr Hughes—At the moment, the details have to be worked through with the Indonesian authorities
    because the intention is to support them in their local capability. So I cannot say at the moment how much of
    that might be spent through IOM. But it is possible.
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—I understand the idea of accommodation and detention facilities, but in
    terms of the policing side of it, does that lead specifically to people smuggling, or is that about policing those
    people who are held in detention?
    Mr Metcalfe—It is about irregular migrants or people who are potentially being people smuggled to
    Australia. It is simply a continuation and an expansion of what has been happening for many years, where we
    work with Indonesian immigration authorities to assist them with people who may be unlawfully in Indonesia
    who are seeking asylum. We work with the UNHCR and we work with IOM to provide capacity building so
    that the Indonesian immigration authorities have a greater ability to manage the situation that they face to
    ensure that people who are in fact seeking protection are able to access processes and so on.
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—Sure. Correct me if I am wrong. It is for individuals seeking asylum and
    helping to establish those processes?
    L&C 102
    Wednesday, 26 May 2010
    Mr Metcalfe—It is for us to support Indonesia as it participates in regional arrangements and cooperation.
    So it is very much about supporting the Indonesian and international effort to support irregular migrants in
    Indonesia, many of whom are seeking to come to Australia illegally.
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—Will any of that money go towards Indonesia dealing specifically with
    people smugglers?
    Mr Metcalfe—People smugglers or people being smuggled?
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—People smugglers.
    Mr Metcalfe—It would not be my expectation that it would be targeted at people smugglers. There may be
    other elements of law enforcement cooperation through the Australian Federal Police, for example, where
    there may be work in that sphere. But this is very much about the immigration processes and supporti ng their
    processes to deal with the many people who are in Indonesia and come into Indonesia.
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—So the other various programs that are listed under the budget specifically
    about targeting people smuggling are going to be related to the smugglers as opposed to the individuals and
    this is about those individuals who are—
    Mr Metcalfe—When we talk about people smuggling, there are many things within that. It is ultimately
    designed to ensure that individuals are supported without seeking to embark on the very risky voyage to
    Australia. From our perspective, that largely relates to assistance to the Indonesian immigration agency, the
    UNHCR and the IOM. Other elements of Australian government support certainly go to law enforcement
    cooperation, which will be more directly targeting the criminal elements associated with people smuggling.
    Senator Chris Evans—Our focus is very much on capacity building in immigration in Indonesia. If you are talking about law enforcement initiatives, they are much in the AFP space of initiatives and work they do
    with the counterpart police operations et cetera. Our relationship is with Imigrasi and it is about their
    capacities and professionalism, be it on border management systems through to policy development and
    detention and returns processing et cetera.
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—So you are confident that this $31.2 million that has been taken from the aid
    budget specifically for this engagement with Indonesia will not be used to combat the criminality aspect of
    people smuggling? It is not about people smugglers; this is going to be about the—
    Mr Metcalfe—I see the point you are making, though. This is very much about the immigration capacity as
    opposed to the law enforcement capacity, if you want to draw that distinction.
    Senator HANSON-YOUNG—Thank you very much. That is all I have. I think I was under 15 minutes.
    There you go.

  7. Davies Ben


    when our entire way of life and economic and political system is founded upon says law you geewiz will believe anything otherwise you would not understand what is going on the direction of the federal bankers approach to this crisis…

    have to improve supply or simply centralise all private wealth but hey we have never printed too too much money before now have we?

  8. Karen

    Gee, SB, you should be given the ‘hammerhead’ award for the number of times you say ly*ing Gillard – what has she lied about? Putting a carbon price/tax to create an ETS that her kitchen cabinet put on the back burner under Rudd? She went to the election to push ahead with the deferred climate change policy, didn’t she? Her only problem was she marketed the carbon tax as a tax when it is, in fact, always was a carbon signal under a broader ETS that she always said she was going to move ahead with. So, now, stage 1 has been completed with stage 2 to go in 2015. You knew that before the election as you do now!

    But now that we are on the subject of lies, what about the continual backflips under Abbott who has, amongst so many other things, backflipped on a carbon tax he previously supported. All for the political expediency of getting his proverbial into the lodge.

    Yes, lets just talk about all those dirty Tory lies, shall we?

    From this time on, I will mentally picture you banging yourself over the head (everytime you go on about ly*ing Gillard) with your own hammer saying, “I am a hypocrite – I continue to vote for the tories who took us to war over weapons of mass destruction, the cr*p that came out of Canberra over medicare, GST, children overboard, all those ‘core’ and ‘non-core promises’ that have had to be distinguished, in order to gloss over the junk put out there by the tories over the last 11 years)”.

    And you are going to pick over Gillard interminably? Give me and everybody else on this site a break!

    @ Davies Ben – you are clearly widely read, if a little florid in your posts. However, your palpable anger and frustration is understandable. It is depressing to think that bankers and corporations (and their media arms) are the economic elites who rule the world – and will devour governments, small business and ordinary salary/wage earners along the way, if their fascist agendas aren’t met. Economic fascism has utterly destroyed the US and, now, Europe. Indeed, Power without Glory. We can’t allow that to happen here.

    Rudd is right about one thing – if Abbott gets in, he will utterly transform this country and will make Howard look like a cakewalk. So, folks, reclaim your democracy – if your voting intentions have been swaying over to the Greens, now might be a good time to join the Left faction of the ALP (just another 1500 members it needs) to rebalance the party and try and save it from the tory agendas of those those right wing union bosses that have hijacked and decimated the party in NSW – let that rump aka known as the ‘shoppies’ and the like go over and join the tories – they are better of there.

    Hopefully, this comment now gets through moderation.

  9. Edward James

    @ Suzanne Blake…. Yes I know all about John Robertson he should be ashamed of his time as Minister for the Central Coast He knows I have been trying to pin a tail on his ass for years! http://bit.ly/EJ_PNewsAds Link to my political attack ads
    Your comment has been published:
    Weak as! John Robertson. I watched you on 7 30 NSW. I was surprised you kept a straight face. Expel Macdonald and while your at it those others for bringing the Labor Party into disrepute. Edward James

    To view your comment online go to: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-nsw/macdonald-faces-possible-alp-suspension/story-e6freuzi-1226215716083

    Please note the Editor may have slightly edited your comment to be suitable for publishing.

  10. Edward James

    Perhaps there are some members of the two parties not much preferred reading Crikey.com, who can explain for me why grass roots members don’t openly question their elected representatives about published allegations they are accommodating abuse of power and corrupt activities? I identify these allegations as “political sins against the peoples”. Sins which may in time find their way into another place where criminal sanctions may be applied. For me it is more cost effective to have the allegations against our elected representatives and political parties discussed in the peoples court of public opinion. John Robertson and John Della Bosca before him were Ministers for the Central Coast covering part of the time when five people died in a ditch at Piles Creek Somersby. I listened to the coronal inquiry, but before that I made my own photo surveys of the place where that extended family died. It seems I went further than those investigators who gathered the evidence for the coroner to consider, before handing down his findings. Why is it that Gosford City Council is permitted to get away with misleading the State Coroner when they allowed him to understand the council had no knowledge or experience in the use of concrete to protect the structural integrity of corrugated steel pipes the like of which were used in the three six foot diameter pipe culvert at Piles Creek, the state sponsored death trap, the two four foot diameter pipe culvert at Leask Creek also rusted out and undermined, and the two eight foot diameter pipe culvert in Mooney Mooney Creek beneath Peats Ridge road rusted out but not quite undermined at the time of its replacement with a preformed concrete arch culvert. The last named two pipe culvert is interesting because my photo surveys and video prove it had a concrete lining in the invert position from when it was first placed in 1962 and other photos show the concrete lining was repaired at some point years after. Gosford City Council was responsible for its up keep for the eight years prior to the collapse at Piles Creek. Gosford City Council through its management assures readers of the Express Advocate council inspects its roads and structures twice each year. To me that is self evidence the corporation was aware of the use of concrete to protect corrugated steel pipes as according to the council it has inspected the two pipes beneath Peats Ridge road at least fifteen times during the previous eight council was responsible for the culvert structures.. Neither Attorney General John Hatzistergos or Greg Smith want to know about these allegations but they should because their fellow party members are sitting on the council responsible for misleading the coroner and that should not be ignored by those of us who vote. After all if party members particularly those elected to public office power and opporsition are insistent on ignoring often published allegations what dose it prove about their personal values. Edward James.
    Link to political attack ads, corruption I identify as accommodated by our elected representatives at all three levels of government.

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