Does the Victorian ALP really need
another faction? Does it really need more internal drama? For once, the
answer may be yes. Working out just who’s who in the factions of the
Victorian ALP can be harder than sums on a Sanskrit slide rule –
particularly when you come up against the non-aligned grouping. They’re
getting serious in the wake of the inquiry into branch stacking in MHR
Brendan O’Connor’s seat of Gorton and the wider abuses in the party.

of them have formed a group they’re calling “The Untouchables,” and
have launched it with a fanfare in their newsletter, the Non-Aligned
News (this is the Victorian ALP, remember).

“While the name is
amusing the group is serious about taking action to enforce the party’s
rules,” they say. Their new alignment even comes complete with a

1. The Untouchables are a group of ALP members and fellow
travellers committed to eradicating branch-stacking and other corrupt
practices from the party.

2. Their objectives are twofold:
(i) to identify and prosecute breaches of party rules, and
(ii) to press for further reforms to party rules aimed at outlawing branch-stacking.

3. In pursuit of the first objective, the Untouchables shall:

  • assemble the resources necessary for the following tasks,
  • gather evidence on branch-stacking and related breaches of party rules,
  • prosecute complaints under the party’s rules, and
  • in the event that the party does not implement its rules, seek court orders compelling it to do so.

4. In pursuit of the second objective, the Untouchables call for rule changes:

  • capping the number of delegates elected to State conference from any FEA,
  • requiring a full, professional and independent audit of party membership in June 2005, and
  • requiring, in June of each succeeding year, a random audit of 10% of
    party membership to be followed by a full audit if the random audit
    uncovers evidence of systemic breaches of party rules.

5. Substantial resources will be needed to fulfil the above objectives,
particularly if litigation must be resorted to. Accordingly, a trust
fund has been set up into which donations can be made for the purpose
of furthering these objectives…

Sounds serious – but they’ve been playing their politics tough in the
Victorian ALP for a long, long time. What will happen when The
Untouchables run into The Avengers?