The name Beazley could once again grace the green leather of an Australian parliament with Kim Beazley’s daughter Hannah being vigorously bandied about ahead of WA Labor’s 2013 preselection round.
The talented daughter of the US ambassador is believed to be keen to follow in her famous father and grandfather’s footsteps and run in either the state seat of Jandakot or Riverton. Both are currently held by Liberal members but changed hands at the 2008 state election.
Hannah Beazley has experience in politics, having served as a speechwriter for former Labor Premier Geoff Gallop. She currently works as a marketing manager at exclusive girls school Penrhos College.
Beazley is factionally non-aligned but would be expected to secure support from both arms of the warring WA Labor party, especially if her father was to officially endorse her in campaign literature. Jandakot airport is located in the heart of the electorate with its thousands of employees believed to be strongly supportive of Kim’s fascination with all things military.
Hannah Beazley, a new mum, is currently visiting her father in Washington DC for Christmas and declined to comment this morning, only to say that she “hadn’t heard anything” regarding her candidacy.
However, the party’s state executive is due to meet on Monday, with state secretary Simon Mead set to announce the preselection timetable to be completed next March. But maneuvering is already well underway.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union successfully re-affiliated with state Labor last month, as revealed by Crikey in October. But at a meeting of the ALP’s powerful administrative committee on Monday night, it failed to submit a sufficient documentation used to calculate the union’s heft on the 160 member state executive.
Under party rules, an affiliated union is required to submit two numbers — total members and members eligible to vote in internal ballots. Crikey understands the CFMEU submitted an auditor’s statement, claiming 10,378 members, but failed to include the other figure explaining how the number was arrived at. In previous years, some CFMEU members were believed to be non-financial and therefore ineligible to vote.
The party’s state secretary Simon Mead, from the Left, then sought legal advice declaring that the submission didn’t comply with party rules and should be struck off, leaving the CFMEU affiliated but with no voting representation on state executive. The penalty is usually 15% reduction in the number of delegates — 15% of nothing is nothing.
The CFMEU is believed to have resubmitted its form but the issue will still be vigorously debated on Monday. Usually the state secretary’s recommendation is green-lighted without rancour.
CFMEU boss Kevin Reynolds famously disaffiliated from WA Labor in 2009 following an tussle with forces aligned to former premier Alan Carpenter over links with disgraced former leader Brian Burke.
Mead told Crikey this morning that “the legal advice concerned what our options are under the rules. This is national rule that was copied into our rules, it was put there after there was some doubt over union figures in the past.”
In 2004, the ALP’s national executive was forced to intervene in WA state preselections after nefarious allegations of rorting cast doubt on the process.
Mead said he would permit further debate on Monday depending on additional legal advice received between now and then.
The question of affiliation is important because the Left currently controls seats — including Fremantle, Bassendean, Cockburn and a smattering in the WA upper house — that are said to be unreflective of the raw preselection power of unions within the faction.
With the CFMEU in tow, the Centre-Right would be on much firmer ground to put forth its own candidates. The inclusion of an extra nine CFMEU delegates, or 13 at expanded preselection meetings, would increase pressure on the Left to relinquish its hold.
A senior WA Right figure lashed out this morning, claiming the left-aligned United Voice secretary Dave Kelly “was trying to abuse the position of state secretary for his own benefit … what they’ve done is to use the state secretary and party members to get a specious and tendentious opinion to entrench their dominance over the left and over the party.
“The Missos vowed to support the CFMEU into the party – they have now ratted on the Left and corrupted the process and the state secretary is a willing tool in the process. This is a dog act, in fact it’s a double dog act,” they said.
Kelly wasn’t impressed.
“That’s just a whole load of malicious crap, the advice from the lawyers, the independent legal advice, is that the CFMEU’s return does not comply with the rules,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. The party has always applied those affiliation rules strictly because of unions manipulating their affiliation numbers. The provisions are there to make sure the ALP can hold its head high.
“It is absolutely essential that the ALP is squeaky clean. The Right can get personal, the supporters of Brian Burke can get personal, but in the end they need to follow the rules.
“When you’re talking about the CFMEU, you’re really talking about Brian Burke.”
Inside WA Labor, United Voice, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Electrical Trades Union and the Maritime Union of Australia and the “small unions caucus” make up the broad Left, with the Right anchored by the Shop Assistants Union and the Transport Workers Union. The CFMEU has anchored a Centre-bloc aimed at maximising their influence within the party.