05 September 2009

Feature: Party review seeks change

With the State Election concluded, focus has once again been placed on the review of the Party’s membership processes and structure.

Initiated last year by State Secretary, Anthony Chisholm, the review seeks to examine ways of improving Branch member retention and participation.

This latest review has been seen by some sections of the Party as a long overdue opportunity to reshape the way the membership is viewed and valued by the hierarchy.

Currently, it is anticipated that some reforms to the way the Party operates will be discussed at the upcoming State Conference to be held in June, although some believe that a more extensive level of discussion needs to occur first.

One of the more controversial proposals mooted at some forums is the suggestion to create only one branch per state electorate. Already, many within the Party have strongly voiced their opposition to this suggestion, citing it as a regressive move that would hinder member participation. If presented to State Conference, some delegates are hopeful that it would be defeated.

The Annerley Branch itself is in the process of finalising its own submission based largely on feedback from its members. In it, the draft submission calls for providing branches with more resources, improving structures, encouraging Party Units to better manage their performance, and changing the culture to promote participation and diversity.

Specifically, the draft submission recommends several key points, some of which are: -
· Maintaining the minimum number of 7 members for a branch to operate and placing no restriction on the number of branches per electorate;
· Encouraging branches to network amongst themselves;
· Ensuring unregistered members are placed within a local branch within 6 months of their membership;
· Giving a greater branch development role to Party Organisers, in order to help local party units better manage their performance;
· Providing member fee discounts for seniors, union members and young people;
· Publishing a Branch Handbook as a resource tool to help activists;
· Improving the induction process for new members;
· Providing better targeted training programs;
· Encouraging all Party units to have a community focus &
· Surveying the membership on a regular basis.

The draft submission will be tabled at the May general meeting for endorsement of the Branch. If adopted, the submission will then be presented to the membership review panel for its consideration.

For more information about the review, or the draft submission of the Annerley Branch, please contact the Secretary, Rod Beisel, on 0403 570 733.

(Originally published April 2009)

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