19 December 2010

2011 must be a year for re-building

There is little doubt that 2010 has been an annus horribilus for the Australian Labor Party. This year saw the Party suffer set backs on all electoral fronts, as Labor Government after Labor Government saw either a reduction in its parliamentary numbers – such as in South Australia, Tasmania and federally, or stinging defeat, as in Victoria.

Of course, there is more pain expected to come, with New South Wales due to go to the polls in March 2011 for what is already been phrased as a ‘blood-bath’ election, and Queensland which is due for a difficult ballot in 2012.

Except for the recent federal election, the result of which was more do with lacklustre and vision-less government, Labor’s fortunes in the states has been the result of long term administrations coming to the wrong end of their electoral cycle. It was, of course, only a matter of time before the tide swept the other way.

But like any cycle which has a downward trend, Labor’s reaction must be one of positive re-building and organisational reform. Already, on a national level, the ALP is in the midst of a comprehensive review – not only into the way the Party operates, but also how it governs. Here in Queensland, the Party will discuss the recommendations of a two year membership review at its 2011 state conference. From these two important reviews, there is hope that further reforms to the Party will strengthen the organisation and provide the membership with a more vital role in its future.

It can only be through a genuine process of re-building and reforming that an organisation 120 years old can have any hope of renewal and revitalisation. By re-examining the way we make decisions, select candidates, formulate policies, campaign, connect with communities, and importantly, govern, the Party can place itself in a stronger, more competitive position.

The importance of what actions we decide and take as a Party in 2011 cannot be overstated. But like any organisation, success depends on the total sum of its parts. This means that everyone, from the National Executive to each and every rank and file member, will have a role in the rebuilding process. The future of our Party depends on it.

- Rod Beisel is Secretary of the Annerley Branch

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