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Statement by Labor senator John Faulkner

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Statement: ALP Reform Agenda

Last Thursday I asked the NSW Branch of the ALP to circulate a letter proposing changes to the Party’s Rules in NSW.

This letter is forthright about the challenges facing the NSW Labor Party and the reforms needed to meet them.

These proposals advance my long-standing commitment to internal democracy and Party integrity.

In 2010 I was a member of the National Review into the ALP, which made a number of recommendations for Party reform.

In December 2012, I promised to pursue outstanding integrity reforms by moving to formally change the Party’s rules at the next possible opportunity.

I considered then, and consider now, essential next steps to be:

  • The inclusion of strong integrity measures for elected representatives, Party officials, and members in our rules; and
  • Preselection by ballot of the full Party membership in NSW for Senate and NSW Legislative Council candidates.

Labor must clearly demonstrate to all those within and without the Party that we have learnt from the past and that we are fully committed to preventing corrupt behaviour ever again taking hold. To do so we must not only enshrine in our Rules our commitment to ethical behaviour, but also change the processes that enabled individuals with neither Labor values, nor Labor party members’ support, to gain preselection through nothing more than factional anointment.

Current upper house preselection processes in NSW enfranchise only factional leaders.

The NSW ALP Annual Conference in July this year is the first opportunity at either a state or national level to pursue these changes to our rules.

My position on the need for reforms to increase transparency, accountability and democracy within the ALP remains unchanged. As I have repeatedly said, (see links below) Labor’s commitment to democracy and to integrity must be demonstrated within our Party as well as through our policies.

John Faulkner
Labor Senator for NSW

Reimagining Labor: Party Reform . Progressive Australia Conference 2013, Sydney, 3 November 2013

Political Integrity: The Parliament, the Public Service, and the Parties Integrity In Government Conference , University of Melbourne Law School, 4 December 2012

Party Reform - 46th ALP National Conference 2011 , Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, 3 December 2011

The Wran Lecture, NSW Parliament House, Sydney, 9 June 2011

Henry Parkes Oration – Apathy and Anger: Our Modern Australian Democracy Opening Address, Henry Parkes Memorial School of Arts, 22 October 2005

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