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Crikey says: NSW Labor fails to learn lesson on corruption

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The New South Wales branch of the Labor Party has produced some of the most egregiously corrupt politicians the nation has seen since the days of Joh Bjelke-Petersen and the “Moonlight State”. During its most recent stint in state government, the party created a toxic culture in which the public interest and basic good process were regarded with contempt, as minor hurdles to be overcome in the pursuit of corrupt deals by the likes of Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi and Ian Macdonald.

The party’s rejection of Senator John Faulkner’s proposals for reform at its weekend conference clearly illustrates that branch’s continuing problems.

Faulkner’s proposals to hand over preselection for upper house spots at both the state and federal level to party members would not have guaranteed Labor never produced another crook, but they would have struck at the heart of the factional dealmaking system that handed power to crooks like Obeid. Their defeat — at the behest primarily of the party’s Right faction — leaves intact that system. The only guarantee that we will not look upon his like again is Labor’s promise that it will do better in the future.

In refusing to fix the system that produced Obeid and others, Labor does the voters of NSW a profound disservice. Until it does so, NSW Labor should not be seriously considered as capable of returning to government. The party simply doesn’t get it, and doesn’t deserve to be allowed near the reins of power until it does.

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  • 1
    JohnB
    Posted Monday, 28 July 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Labor’s faction-controlled preselection practices are clearly on the nose in NSW and rightly so. Factional dealing, though, is rife across the land, in Labor and other parties. How else did cold war warrior like Lee Rhiannon gain preselection for the Federal Senate from the Greens? How did the current crop of neanderthal, shortsighted, bigotted, aged white male Liberals gain control over the federal party and, thus the government?

    To focus entirely on Labor, or on NSW, is to indulge in a bit of cross-border sniggering about an issue which is much wider and pervasive than just one party, one state or three crooks.

  • 2
    lusito
    Posted Monday, 28 July 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Great editorial Crikey. As a current professional currently dismayed by our standard of politicians, I always contemplate joining a political party to see if by throwing my hat in the ring, I can be somehow be part of a cleansing force.
    The extreme right-hand turn by my party of preference leaves me looking at the Labor party as the best one with potential to re-invent itself. After reading your editorial - my desire to join the party has been sucker-punched.

  • 3
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 28 July 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    This dead-hand monopoly share-hold over NSW Labor - is like a house of cards - “Go Directly to Gaol. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200” cards?

    What interesting thought processes?
    Do they fear more, another faction controlling decisions (in government), than they do the Coal-ition?
    How can they influence government policy and implement members interests from Opposition themselves?
    This troupe of influential clowns make the Coalition look better by default - just like Murdoch’s viewspapers are paid to do professionally .

    But they did have some nifty precedents on which to assume they might as well try to get away with as much as they could - “Askin’s Bag”?

  • 4
    Paulg
    Posted Monday, 28 July 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    The right wingers actually prefer to be in opposition, whatever the party in government. From there they can manipulate the numbers to their own advantage without having any executive responsibilities.

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