10 Point Reform Plan for NSW Labor in response to Rudd’s intervention

The ALP National Executive has endorsed a package of reforms to NSW Labor. These rules changes are an encouraging win for all campaigners for Party reform and democratisation. The job certainly is not finished though. Depending on when the Federal Election is held, Party reformers will need to campaign for further changes to ensure corruption is eliminated by democratic accountability. Below is a classic ten point framework for the further reform required. I’d be very keen to hear your thoughts, particularly on point 7.

“We, active members of the NSW ALP, seeking to prevent corruption ever taking hold in our Party again; and seeking to make the NSW ALP a growing movement of thousands of NSW citizens; and believing that the best way to do this is by the thoroughgoing democratisation of our Party; demand the following:

1. That the rank and file 50% of the Administrative Committee be elected by a ballot of all members of the NSW ALP with 12 months continuous membership.
2. That the NSW Labor General Secretary and Assistant Secretaries be elected by a ballot of all members of the NSW ALP with 12 months continuous membership, according to rules of proportional representation.
3. That the NSW Labor Women’s Officer be elected by ballot of all female members of the NSW ALP with 12 months continuous membership.
4. That the Country Organiser be elected by a ballot of all members of Country Labor with 12 months continuous membership.
5. That the Labor Senate candidates for NSW be preselected by a ballot of all members of the NSW ALP with 12 months continuous membership, according to rules of proportional representation.
6. That Labor candidates for the NSW Legislative Council be preselected by a ballot of all members of the NSW ALP with 12 months continuous membership, according to rules of proportional representation.
7. That the President of the NSW ALP be selected by a random lottery of all ALP members with ten years continuous financial membership. The term of President will be one year and each member will be restricted to one term only. Any member so selected may decline to serve as President, but all members of ten years membership will have their names entered into the ballot. Appropriate training and support for the President shall be provided to ensure the member so selected can fulfill their duties.
8. That joining and membership fees for the ALP be simplified so that affiliated union members and concession card holders pay $5, and all others pay $10, per year.
9. That the formula for electing the National leader be adopted in NSW, that is a ballot of all members of the NSW ALP shall count for 50% of the vote, and the votes of the SPLP shall make up the other 50%.
10. Finally, we active members of the NSW ALP seek closer ties between rank and file members, MPs and affiliated unions, through a large scale organising, training and recruiting program. This program’s aim will be to recruit, train and organise 1 active member per 100 voters in NSW, across all electorates. To do so will require an all-out effort, coordination and cooperation of all Party units and the investment of significant resources. The expertise and organising capacity of the union movement will be indispensable in such a program.

The adoption of these proposals will ensure that corruption will be prevented through democratic accountability, that growth and activism will be the priority of all the Party’s candidates, Party units and leadership position holders.

A mass party with thousands of members participating and voting regularly is the best method of ensuring Labor remains relevant and electorally successful, and ensures that no one clique or faction can control the Party for corrupt purposes.

The faster these demands are adopted, the quicker NSW Labor can return from the political wilderness and lead NSW again for the benefit of NSW working people.”

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About lukewhito

Politics, history, cricket, rugby league, bodysurfing. Kids and family. Love it all.
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8 Responses to 10 Point Reform Plan for NSW Labor in response to Rudd’s intervention

  1. Sacha says:

    Luke, adopting this plan would substantially open up the party.

    Have you read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy? In it the Martian legislature has one house comprised of persons selected by lot – it’s the only part of the state not controlled by one particular political party. Why are you proposing the President of the NSW party be selected by lot? What is the issue you are seeking to fix and why is selection by lot your proposed tool for fixing it?

    Selection by lot is a very interesting concept. Elections have at least two purposes – to choose more competent as opposed to less competent persons for a role, and to make it more likely that what a person does in a role will be aligned with what the electing body would like them to do. Selection by lot does away with both of these. In the case of a large legislature, selection by lot would be expected to lead to the overall views (e.g. on a conservative/liberal spectrum) in the legislature to somewhat reflect the spread of views within the population. But selecting a single important (?) role by lot will lead to randomness in who is president. This could be quite useful, especially with a minimum qualification of 10 years membership.

    Luke, what’s your motivation with this proposal?

    Having 3 Admin Cmt members selected by lot would be quite interesting.

    On another note, John Faulkner mentioned at the Kings Cross branch meeting that the rules for nominating for National President might need to be looked at – he was saying that in practice only factionally aligned people can nominate – as you need a minimum number of signatures in each of 5 state/territory branches. I agree that the current nominating requirement is a material barrier to many members nominating – I suggest the nomination requirement could be signatures of 20 members for 12 months membership and a $250 nominating fee.

  2. Pingback: The campaign for Labor Party democracy continues | Agitate, Educate, Opine

  3. Leftymatt says:

    The Country Organiser direct election is an interesting thing. It’s important that we don’t forget Country Labor Committee, which is currently elected by the NSW State Conference.

  4. Anthony Gill says:

    I really like point 7.

  5. lukewhito says:

    I’d also add this to the reading list for those interested in using random selection to improve democracy. http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Research_and_Education/pops/pop51/dryzek

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