30 April 2014

ALP reform agenda gains momentum

Efforts to democratise the Australian Labor Party’s decision making and pre-selection processes is gaining traction with a growing number of grass-roots events and activities being organised to highlight the case for reform.

Speaking recently to a well attended members event in Brisbane, Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten MP (pictured), outlined his vision of a reformed ALP that he claims will be better connected to the community and gives its members a greater say.

“I want to see a bigger Party, which is easier to join and that engages with everyday Australians”, he told a packed room of enthusiastic members and supporters.

Significantly, Mr Shorten recognised that factions were a problem, suggesting that giving members a 'bigger say' in the decision making process was vital. One essential reform Mr Shorten outlined was a commitment to allowing members to directly elect national conference delegates.

“I want a member-based Party, not a faction-based Party”, he said.
 
Mr Shorten also acknowledged that the ALP needed to train its activists, modernise its structures and reach out to local communities.

However, it was the Opposition Leader's strong support for rank and file democracy that struck a chord with members.

Given the high level of resentment over several recent pre-selection decisions, the movement to reform the Labor Party is expected to gain momentum over the next few months.

In Queensland, for example, the state chapter of the reform-focused Local Labor will be launched by Senator John Faulkner, with a growing number of rank and file members indicating their willingness to join and campaign for a more democratic Party.

Complementing the wide range of events and activities promoting reform, this year’s State Conference delegate ballot is also expected to highlight the urgent need for change. Indeed, the Annerley Branch is expected to play its part in the growing movement for reform, with several of its members contesting the delegate elections for Griffith and Moreton on a pro-democracy platform.

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