The Democrats are back in crisis and Natasha resigned after another dummy spit this on Wednesday when these controversial 10 motions were passed by the Democrat party room in an ambush meeting. We sent this exclusive by email to our 4150 subscribers at 1.50pm on Wednesday afternoon and now can also publish the proposed amendments put forward by Britney supporter Andrew Bartlett.

2. That the Party Room establish a Working Party to establish a Code of Conduct for Staff and also for Senators dealings with Staff. This working party shall consist of two senators and two staff (one Leaders, one electorate) elected by the staff. That the Group report back to the party room by the end of September.

3. That the Party Room adopt the following protocol for Leader’s staffing:

a. That the Party room conduct an annual needs analysis of staffing needs with a view to allocating staff according to Party room agreed priority issues and portfolios; b. That all staff be subject to annual performance appraisals which involve the Leader and the relevant portfolio senators, or, in the case of senior strategic and media staff, all senators;

c. That a working group of the Leader, the Deputy and two staff representatives develop job descriptiuons, performance appraisal and professional development procedures;

d. That the selection panel for portfolio researchers shall consist of the Leader (or her nominee) and the relevant portfolio senators;

e. That portfolio positions shall be advertised externally unless that selection panel agrees that an exceptional case exists;

f. That where there is conflict over the prioritisation of the work of a researcher between senators, the matter shall be referred to the party room for resolution.

4. That the Leader provide a report to the party room detailing any role (if any) that her staff played in the activation, prosecution, support or halting of action against Senator Lees by the organisational wing of the party.

5. That following the August sittings senators agree to the engagement of an independent facilitator (e.g. Di Bretherton) to work through conflicts in the party room and assist with the development of new protocols

6. That the Whip contact the National President with a view to developing a draft protocol for interaction between the party room and national executive and discussing the National Executive’s proposal for a parliamentary code of conduct, and report back initially to Party Room by the end of August.

7. That the Party Room adopt a protocol that no senator, including the Leader, will formally or informally lodge a complaint against another senator without first raising the matter in the party room with a view to mediation.

8. That the Party Room establish a committee of three headed by the Leader to draft a report to the National Compliance Committee Review Committee that deals with the proper balance between the right of senators to speak out and their constitutional obligations.

9. That the Party Room advise the National President and the National Policy Co-ordinator of concerns with the National Executive motion restricting the right of senators to speak on policy during election campaigns and invite the National Policy Co-ordinator to meet with the senators to discuss concerns that portfolio holders have in relation to the formulation of party policy, explore ways of improving the policy process and explore issues of presentation of policy during campaigns.

10. That the Party Room advise all members of the National Management Committee and National Compliance Committee that the interests of reconciliation and rebuilding within the party would best be served by a moratorium on any disciplinary action against any member arising out of the issues of the last two months.

ends

The defence that failed

Now, we can exclusively bring you these Andrew Bartlett amendments which the Natasha forces attempted to put to the gang of four on Wednesday morning.

Here’s the e-mail that he circulated to party members:

From: “Bartlett, Andrew (Senator)”

Date: Wed Aug 21, 2002 6:41 pm

Subject: RE: [AD]

I didn’t move four motions, I put forward a range of amendments to the proposals that had been previously been put forward. These amendments were circulated last week.

My amendments are outlined below. They were all rejected.

Andrew B

For consideration – suggested amendments and additions to the proposals presented to the meeting of all Australian Democrats Senators held in Adelaide, at 7am on Mon August 12th 2002.

Preliminary Motion:

That the Party Room

(a) notes comments made on ABC radio on Monday August 12th on the World at Noon, less than 4 hours after the end of the meeting of Senators, that “sources close to Senator Murray said that he wouldn’t have agreed to return to the Party Room in the interim if it hadn’t been for Senator Cherry’s plan and if it hadn’t been for the condition that these concerns be dealt with at the earliest opportunity.”

(b) Recognises that the 10 motions presented on Monday 12th August were not presented as being linked to Senator Murray’s decision to return to the Party Room and resume his duties as a Democrat Senator on that day and emphasises that any discussion of these motions is not linked in any way to Senator Murray’s decision to comply with the statements of National Executive on 11th August and the Party Room of 6th August.

(c) Requests Senator Murray to clearly indicate that his return to the Party Room is not an “interim” one and not conditional on Senator Cherry’s motion.

Different version of Proposal 1

That the Party Room restates its view that Senator Lees should resign her Senate seat immediately, in accordance with the commitments she gave to the Australian Democrats Constitution and in recognition of the need not to further decrease public confidence in the integrity of politicians or the validity of the Senate and its voting system of proportional representation; and communicates that view to Senator Lees. If it is subsequently made clear by Senator Lees that she will not act in accordance with this view, the Party Room should then consider the nature of any future relationships with Senator Lees.

Amended version of Proposal 2

That the Party Room establish a Working Party to establish a Code of Conduct for staff and for Senators, including dealings between staff, Senators and party members. This Working Party shall consist of two Senators, two staff (one Leader’s, one electorate) and one party representative (appointed by the National Management Committee). That the Working Party report back to the Party Room by the end of September.

Amended version of Proposal 3

That the Party Room disassociates itself from any comment or suggestion that the existing Leader’s staff is ill-disciplined, unprofessional or disloyal. It also gives no credence to any rumours or insinuation that staff or party officials have been involved in any attempts to fabricate untruthful and unlawful accusations.

The Party Room notes that the level of involvement of the current Leader’s staff in organisational party decisions is at a level far below that of any set of Leader’s staff in at least the last 10 years and recognises that attempts by parliamentarian’s staff to improperly influence the decisions of party officials are not acceptable.

That the Party Room consider adopting the following protocol for all Democrat Parliamentary staff:

(this should not be finalised without some input from staff reps):

(a) Conducting of an annual needs analysis of staffing needs with a view to allocating staff according to Party Room agreed priority issues and portfolios;

(b) That an annual performance appraisals be undertaken for all staff. Appraisals of Leader’s research staff should involve the relevant portfolio Senators. In the case of Leader’s personal, strategic and media staff, the views of other Senators, staff and members may be sought by the Leader;

(c) That a working group of the Leader, Deputy and two staff representatives develop any necessary job descriptions, performance appraisals and professional development procedures;

(d) That the Leader be encouraged to involve relevant portfolio Senators in selecting portfolio researchers where appropriate;

(e) Delete

(f) That Senators be encouraged to raise issues regarding prioritisation of Leader’s research staff directly with the Leader and if necessary with the broader Party Room. Where there is still a dispute, final decisions will rest with the Leader.

Amended Proposal 4

That the Leader provide a full report detailing the role (if any) that any staff had in liaising with members of the organisational wing of the Party to determine strategy or content concerning the wording of the party organisation’s letters regarding Senator Lees, actions initiating complaints against Senator Lees, or preventing the halting of such complaints.

Amended Proposal 5

That following the August sittings, all Senators agree to the engagement of an independent mediator (e.g. Di Bretherton) to work on achieving more effective and honest cooperation amongst Australian Democrat Senators.

Amended Proposal 6

That the Party Room unanimously expresses its confidence in the elected members of National Executive and acknowledges the Executive’s constitutional role to direct, organise and coordinate the functioning of the party.

That the Whip contact the National President with a view to developing a draft protocol for interaction between the party room and national executive and discussing the National Executive’s proposal for a parliamentary code of conduct, and report back initially to Party Room by the end of August.

Amended Proposal 7

That the Party Room rejects the notion that communicating with or expressing a view to a party body can be equated with lodging a complaint. The Party Room suggests a protocol be adopted by all Democrat Parliamentarians that no Parliamentarian will formally lodge a complaint or make public complaints against another Democrat Parliamentarian without first raising the matter with a view to resolution or mediation.

Amended Proposal 8

The Party Room rejects any suggestion that the Democrats’ National Constitution has resulted in a Star Chamber or that the National Executive manufactured an artificial conflict with Meg Lees.

The Party Room recognises that the National Compliance Committee, which is a sub-committee of National Executive, has been part of the party’s Constitution for over 6 years, having been implemented by a ballot of party members and rejects any notion that this Committee is discredited, out of control or conducts show trials.

That the Party Room establish a Committee of three headed by the Leader to see if a consensus report can be developed over the next two weeks, to be provided to the Party’s internal review, that deals with the proper balance between the right of members to speak out and their constitutional obligations.

Amended Proposal 9

That the Party Room rejects the notion that the policy process of the party is a sham and the Party Room requests the National Policy Coordinator to clarify the intent and effect of the National executive resolution of June 2002 regarding the use of the term ‘policy’ by members during election campaigns.

Amended Proposal 10

That, in line with previous practice, the Party Room issue invitations as required to party office bearers regarding to attend Party Room meetings to discuss or provide information on issues of concern regarding party activities. That the next invitation be to the National Policy Co-ordinator to meet with the Party Room to enable direct discussion on any concerns that portfolio holders may have in relation to the formulation of party policy. Whilst such discussions may include suggestions as to ways of improving the policy process, it is recognised that any substantial proposals for significant procedural reform are most appropriately made to the party’s national review, which has been underway for some months. The Party Room also affirms it support for the principle that all Democrat members should have an equal say in the final determination of the party’s policies and that policies should be formulated with the maximum participation of members.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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