Like many others I am pissed off with the election. However, like many other former ALP people I am even more pissed off with the ALP and its policies, candidates, and its organisation in general. The factional warlords and union hacks have too much control over the party that many of others still want to believe in.
That letter from JF Smith is the most accurate thing I have read in the three years of Crikey subscription. The following comment is spot on:

“The party, because it closes its ranks to non-union membership, is bereft of any real talent. The first move by Labor must be to open its ranks and accord the union element balanced representation in policy development whilst taking into account that 80% of Australia is not unionised”.

As a former ALP member I have had no reason to return to the fold. As a paid income earner on 60k and no union affiliation I have felt shut out. Whilst the socialists in the party cry for more money for schools, hospitals, and more wages for the workers the real basics of economics are forgotten.

Unfortunately you cannot buy groceries without a job. You cannot build schools and hospitals without good taxation revenue. You cannot pay the kinder fees when interest rates are 17%. Yes, indeed it’s the economy all you stupid factional and union hacks that are getting ready to destroy this once great party!

Times change and I cannot agree more with JF Smith. The ALP must modernise itself and change. This election was a disaster in many ways:

1. The ALP will not recruit decent talent whilst the factional hacks and unions dominate the state conferences and have their choice in pre-selections for safe seats. May I also add that very few of these people have ever had ‘real’ jobs outside working in an electoral office in or as some union organiser. They have no real idea of the real world out there. They have not worked in the environment that most of us work in. In short they are hopeless. They then expect the electorate to somehow relate to them!

2. The policies of the ALP in this election were nothing short of pathetic. Medicare may not be the best but it certainly is not destroyed. The feelings I get from people is that Medicare is as good as it has ever been. This was not something the Government has a poor record in. Targeting Costello was also not a good idea. In the eyes of most of the electorate, Costello (whether we like it or not) has seen to be a sound economic manager. Still a K-Mart Keating but still a worthy Treasurer nonetheless.

3. Economic management credentials is something the ALP should aim for. Heaven forbid the ALP could not have hidden Simon Crean any better and still they were slaughtered at the polling booth. Crean, Latham, Beazley, Roxon, etc – they all have no economic management credentials to speak of. Not one of them has ever been in a real money making position. Latham had a go at Liverpool and we all saw the TV ads the Libs ran. The economy is going great guns and interests are low. Taxation revenue provides money for schools and hospitals. But to many of the true believers this is a bad thing to tax people. The GST delivers money to the States but again this is seen as bad to many factional hacks.

Lets modernise the party now

Well as the great man said “It’s time”. As true believers we do not mind paying our share in tax revenue. We are strong and passionate toward social justice. We are not in unions and do not see the need for unions to dominate this party. The ALP must change and stop the union and factional hacks from dictating this once great party and its policy. Whilst the ALP is seen as a good custodian of services at all State levels this is simply spending the GST. The ALP needs shaking up at the Federal level. We need a full clean out. 60% of the ALP’s Federal members are from the unions! Well, how on earth can the 80% non unionised workforce possibly think their interests are being represented. I want this to change.

Those of us who believe in social justice and want to fight the good fight need also to be heard in the ALP. We want to help those who cannot defend themselves in a sometimes harsh society. However, we need people from non unionised or factional backgrounds. We too need to be represented. We need better soldiers to take up the fight. We need modernisation in the party. Simon Crean tried to start it but it was nothing more than tokenism. Why is that only unionised and factional hacks are heard in the ALP? I know as a non-factional member of the ALP I had no chance of being heard. I saw people nothing short of hopeless also get pre-selected for safe seats but were from the right faction or union!

Anyway, enough of the sooking. The election is gone and lost. I am testing the water now to see if there are many others who agree with me. Unfortunately due to the current constitution we will need to play the factional warlords at their own game for now. I am starting a faction to change things. The important change is to modernise both the party and its policies to be in line with the rest of society. Whether you are a current ALP or a former ALP member thinking like me, then please let me know. The unions will never allow the constitution to be changed. They will not give up their voting block. This whole thing needs change from grass roots and the current ALP administration needs to be put on notice. We need delegates at state conference and we need to be heard. We need modern policies and modern parliamentarians who can relate to the people’s needs. God forbid the current crop we have simply do not have a clue. Given that the union movement ALP elements for the most part are still living in the seventies (when it comes to policy) we have to act now.

If you are interested in modernising the party then please let me know. I am putting out the feelers to see if we can get this thing going. I did send letters to Bob and Neville last time around but not much changed. Change has to come from within. I am limiting this to the Victorian branch of the ALP but would encourage others in other states to do what they can.

All enquiries and offers of support to: [email protected]

Get heard, get organised, and get involved.

Peter Fray

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