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Labor Lacks Electoral Loyalty

14 Sep

I am angry, and overall very unimpressed regarding the Labor Party.

We have just been through one of the most incredibly ugly and hostile periods I can recall in Australian Political History based on my memory. At 47 years of age I have seen a few come and go and nothing compares in my mind for ugliness, severity and overall mistrust of Government by the population.

However in the interest of keeping this short, I intend remaining in my primary area of annoyance.

The members vote on who should lead.

its been announced that unless you have been a member of Labor for a minimum period of two years then you’re not entitled to help elect our next Party leader and frankly this is a disgrace. The newest members joined for for various reasons, while others like me have been Labor loyal since they first became eligible to vote.

But the key reason for my anger is this.

Old members, new members, those who turned 18 just in time to register and join did so because they wanted to be part of the party. The majority did so because they saw reflected in Labor their own values, beliefs and hopes for Australias future. Many saw our first female Prime Minister and felt so inspired they were galvanised and joined. They all became active in a common cause and a shared belief or vision of where we should be headed as a Nation.

Association of ideals is a very powerful tool in Politics, its why we are drawn to particular Political Parties.

Now these newer people are to be denied a voice and vote. These people many of whom may not have been members for two years but who joined to champion the party through tumultuous times. Who fought with friends and relatives at home, who were derided for supporting Gillard or Rudd, who walked through endless criticism only to stick by the Party. They are now suddenly deemed less worthy because it seems they haven’t been around long enough.

For 29 years I have cast my vote to the ALP, for 29 years I have called Labor the Party of the working man / woman, defended it, championed it and supported it no matter what. However I have little interest in a Party that wants to discriminate regarding its members, we either are, or are not good enough for the Party. We are part of the team or we are not, we are acknowledged or we are not, we are appreciated or we are not, we are treated equally or we are not. Time in and fees paid should be completely irrelevant.

Labor in my opinion has now shown very little appreciation of its newest members and far too much disregard. Members who didn’t arrive in the good times, oh no, they joined to fight a fight that we were told endlessly couldn’t be won. Yet still they joined, they voiced belief, they perhaps became active in local branches, attending meetings, or simply tried to make their friends come around from the media whitewash that so many unthinkingly believed no matter what was said to the contrary.

Lets also not forget the many hundreds of young and not so young faces outside polling booths, standing exposed to jibes, sarcasm, hostility and even direct intimidation according to many reports. Many of them new members who were good enough to use, to have bear the brunt as the face of the party, to do the leg work, play lackey and gopher but now aren’t good enough to be counted as “real” members. How utterly revolting it must feel for them to learn this in the aftermath of a defeat they tried so hard to help prevent.

I am also angry that so many aren’t angry. New members saying ‘Oh well I have only been a member for a few months / 6 months / a year”. Honestly, Labor people saying this infuriate me. You’re members & you campaigned, maybe not officially, but every-time you talked about the issues, challenged a lie in the media, tried to tell someone that Abbott was bad news. You did it to help the party retain power in this Country and without you the result would have been far worse. Then there’s the other side, saying its fair enough as it will “stop ballot stacking or special interest groups taking over”. Sorry….what… are you serious? Cut the conspiracy theories and put away the tin foil will you, its not only counter productive, but it makes you sound like an idiot.

Finally there’s the fools.

Those members who ran around yelling they were long term Labor voters intending to donkey vote or actually give their vote to some vague nuisance party because they loved JG or Rudd or hated them both or whatever other personal affront was loose inside their heads. Why are these long term yet unreliable members that turned their backs entitled to vote, but newer completely loyal members are not.

Where’s the standard, the test of fairness, the definition of what makes one deserving of a voice?

It appears Labor really is forgetting who put it where it is, who ate crap, who lost friends, made enemies and who used every avenue to get the Party message out as the media attacked. Who in fact gave them the chance to not only retain seats, but enough influence that Abbott doesn’t walk across the landscape changing it as he sees fit. Most of all its showing contempt for those who were willing to join when the water was deepest, with defeat announced thrice daily from almost every media source across Australia. They came and they stuck fast.

Frankly the loyalty shown outside the party by members has all too often outweighed the recent division and treachery displayed within by the Ministers. So really, who deserves to vote more? Disruptive backstabbing Ministerial malcontent’s, or the Labor members who through loyalty and support kept so many of their careers alive post election?

Encouraging participation breeds enthusiasm and loyalty, exclusion breeds dissatisfaction, contempt and anger.  After 3 years of internal hostility, alienation and exclusion whats the first thing these idiots do, they promote Party exclusion, this time with the very support core which kept them alive.

I find the blind arrogance in this exclusion of new members to be absolutely breathtaking, after all there still are such a things as gratitude and appreciation, are there not?. 

Brooksy.

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15 Comments

Posted by on 14/09/2013 in Uncategorized

 

15 responses to “Labor Lacks Electoral Loyalty

  1. Matt Martin

    14/09/2013 at 8:19 pm

    Let me begin by saying I’m an ALP member of 20+ years.

    I was under the impression that NatExec would meet on Monday to finalise the rules for the ballot including relaxing the two year qualifying period.

    Assuming the qualifying period isn’t relaxed then it would seem, at least for the rank and file component of the ballot, the National Secretariat is using the only available model it has — the process used for electing the national president.

    Remember, these rules were introduced by our Kevinly Father through the caucus, not via the normal machinery processes culminating with National Conference approval. They’re not particularly refined or clear on detail at this point.

    A qualifying period is a sensible thing in that it prevents “membership stacking” which, as doubtless you will recall, has plagued the Party in the past, fouling and corrupting its processes. Consider the plight of the NSW Branch.

    Should it be two years? Personally I’d be content with a one year qualifying period.

    Whilst I support some form of community preselections for local government and state lower house seats, I don’t support idea of letting non-member “fellow travellers” vote in the ballot for Leader.

    Frankly, membership should have it’s privileges.

    If a person has been a resolute Labor support all his or her life, has worked on election campaigns, attended fundraisers, openings, rallies and the like then is it really that much of a jump to take out a membership ticket?

    There’s a lot more to being a member of the Party than just handing out How-to-Votes and buying Johno Johnson’s seemingly endless stream of raffle tickets. It’s those additional efforts undertaken by members which entitle them to a greater say in Party affairs than that afforded to fellow travelers and loyal supporters.

    Please forgive the wall of text. ^_^

     
    • wrb330

      15/09/2013 at 4:03 am

      Hi Matt,
      thanks for reading and giving an actual, well thought out response.
      I intended to promote discussion and it seems I have been successful..(-:
      I agree that membership should have privileges, but the rules that apply right now were not designed for this, hell nothing we have was designed for this.
      So if we as a party are to have this new process I think the old rules need to be overhauled at the very least. In that light I hope that you’re correct in saying the NatExec will overturn the 2 year period.
      In this instance I doubt very much there has been any stacking attempts, first Labor was expected to be vaporised in the polls, and secondly how could anyone know Rudd was to announce this new idea.
      So realistically for this first go at this process I do think members who joined to fight prior to its creation deserve a chance to vote, after all its not just a party leader to keep things ticking over but potential Prime Minister.
      Having said that, I also agree there needs to be a period of exclusion, so I would have no difficulty accepting that for all future votes under a new system a period of 12 months should be used, for me the issue here is the fact it was Labor who was calling for all hands, for people to support and vote for us, to donate and become members.
      People responded to what they felt was a genuine appeal to common sense and I think its a big mistake to disregard them at the first official action after the election.
      God knows we have lost a lot of members in past years, I would rather we now welcomed, included & encouraged those who came along in the past 23 months to participate.

      Anyway, as I said, I was out to stir discussion on a very new and sudden idea.
      Thanks for you’re thoughts and points, I do appreciate them.

      Cheers,

       
  2. kezza2

    14/09/2013 at 11:02 pm

    Rules is rules, Brooksy

    I was a member of the ALP for over 20 years, but let it lapse. I still supported Labor at each and every election, state and federal (and local) though. I’ve handed out ALP HTV cards in all weathers, including September 7, both as a member and not.

    I’m now almost 60, have lived in Victoria all my life and have supported Labor since I was first able to vote. Unlike you, I wasn’t enfranchised when I was 18. Rules is rules.

    Speaking of rules, the Vic ALP candidate pre-selections federally, for instance, are decided 50% by local ballot (of eligible members) and 50% by the POSC (the Public Office Selection Committee).

    To be an eligible member, you have to be:
    a) on the electoral roll
    b) a continuous party member for 12 months
    c) your AEC address has to match your ALP address.

    Rules is rules.

    Actually, I don’t agree with members being able to vote for the leader of the party, so I’m not too fussed about this issue, apart from the fact I think caucus is best placed to determine the leadership credentials of whoever wants to throw their hat in the ring, and best placed to determine who they want to work with.

    The ALP embraces the labour movement, and was actually formed by the labour movement, i.e. by the unions. Don’t you think the union movement is equally outraged by the so-called reforms, after all they’ve been totally disenfranchised by Rudd’s laughable brain-farty grasp for power that’s causing you so much angst?

    And rules is rules is rules. Do you think the unions should take legal action against this stupidity? After all, caucus doesn’t decide the rules. National Conference does. Hmmmm.

     
    • wrb330

      15/09/2013 at 5:18 am

      Rules aint rules in this case.
      This isn’t a former process being reinstated, this is brand new, untried and unheard of and we have no idea what the process will actually be regarding votes, the dissemination of information pre vote or the direction these two want to take the party as yet.
      Frankly I would prefer a vote on whether or not Rudd was a bloody idiot for even dreaming it up, but that seems unlikely.
      So if we must vote, then all members should vote in the first one for balance and a true reflection of all members opinions, worry about cooling off periods after that.
      The main fear being thrown around is stacking of votes. If we make any new members from the 2 weeks prior to the leader ballot announcement void, then stacking is very unlikely if not completely impossible.

      If the party is to undergo such a massive shift in process, I feel the entire party membership combined is entitled to have a voice in the first outcome and process.

       
      • kezza2

        15/09/2013 at 6:03 am

        Sorry, Brooksy, don’t agree.

        Just because Rudd had a brainfart doesn’t mean we all have to jump off a cliff. Labor has tried and true rules. And they need to be adhered to. And if rule changes are warranted, then they need to be ratified at National Conference, not by some populism propagated by a bloke who thought he could get the leadership through twitter.

        If you want to change the rules become a member, do your time, and work from the inside.

        And, while I can concur with your sentiment that

        “If the party is to undergo such a massive shift in process, I feel the entire party membership combined is entitled to have a voice in the first outcome and process”

        I don’t agree that members of less than a year’s membership should have any say at all in the process. In fact, I go so far as to say 2 year’s membership. That way, at least a person having a say would have had to fork out twice . . .

         
  3. Mark RIch

    15/09/2013 at 11:35 pm

    Wrong Kezza, you don’t have to wait 2 years to vote once you register so why do this. DOes it say the party doesn’t trust new members, sure does. Very stupid decision anyway you look at it

     
    • wrb330

      16/09/2013 at 12:29 am

      Hi Mark,
      I agree, Labor has been suffering membership drops for quite some time, now that we have new motivated members trickling in we need to keep them and the only way to do that is to engage them and welcome them to participate right from the get go.
      If we dont they get pissed off and they will leave because many express a feeling now of being used then discarded after serving their purpose, they quote being used for money and a vote, now they feel abandoned.
      Labor put out a call to arms, new people, many who were long time supporters officially signed up and came to fight harder than ever before. Its time to show some simple appreciation by allowing them to play the final part of a horrid campaign and destabilised Gov.
      Yes am exemption period is needed, but new approaches are too because this is an entirely new idea without precedence.
      Its why I believe newer members in this election who joined up to 3 months before the election should be given the right, then introduce a 12 months window for 2016, but make it a new rule, for a new system.
      I want as many new members to be given the right to speak as possible, that gives the party a complete picture on members thoughts and expectations for any new direction the party may take, not a reduced percentage of the members.
      Plus after the past 6 years of faceless men and Union control allegations building mistrust of Labor in the population we need to display an open, impartial and fair balance right from the start.

       
    • kezza2

      16/09/2013 at 11:38 pm

      Hate to break it to you, Mark Rich, but in all elections in Australia, federal, state and local, voters don’t vote for a party leader; they vote for a candidate in their electorate or ward – and the party room decides who is the leader, or the council who gets to be mayor.

      We’re not the USA. We don’t vote for a PM, much as the perception seems otherwise.

      I can see where you’re coming from regarding this issue. Is it really a matter of trust? Versus, say, demonstrated loyalty?

      I don’t know. As I said previously, I’m not really fussed by the issue.

      As it’s turned out, the new members will have a say. I hope the vote is exercised wisely.

       
  4. Matt Martin

    16/09/2013 at 12:34 am

    I’m still confident that NatExec will this afternoon relax the requirements for credentialling. The fine details of this process are really not the issue in this.

    As a local branch secretary I cannot remember a time when my members have been so excited about an internal Party matter. Particularly the right wingers, a number of whom have told me they are thinking of voting for Albo.

    As with presidential ballots members really can vote in secret and for whom they like. They don’t have to pair off or show their ballot paper to a factional worthy.

    This kind of ballot takes the power out of the hands of the factional warlords and back room mugwumps. Why do you think Steven Conroy and Joel Fitzgibbon are so cranky about this? Their power is diluted.
    I don’t think rank and file ballots are the answer to everything. Certainly the policy forum ballots are pretty pointless. But for positions like national president and parliamentary leader rank and file ballots are ideal.

    I should add (in the interests of transparency) I am a member of the NSW socialist left faction.

     
    • wrb330

      16/09/2013 at 1:23 am

      Welcome back Matt,
      Thanks for the update regarding the NatExec, I hope this relaxing takes place, as you’re quite right, there seems to be a lot of excitement over the changes.
      I myself am an Albanese fan, but I actually think the issue is wider and more important than just picking a first time winner.
      It simply offers real participation & involvement at the basic and often most important level, who inspires us the most, who lights our fires as a potential leader to follow and support. The excitement I am finding is mainly coming from the younger members who haven’t felt like they have a voice in the past, that the old attitudes and approaches drown out their calls for progression and modernisation.
      I could be wrong, but down at gut feel levels I dont believe I am.
      I am concerned the process needs to be well considered else we get tangled in internal campaigns, but this running of is for the party to decide, simpler the better I would think.
      Again I agree, ballots are not the be all and end all and on many occasions are perhaps counter productive. However in this case yes, after the past 6 years they would at least offer a pretty accurate initial then ongoing annual snapshot of the entire members overall satisfaction on where the party has been and should be heading in the future as I assume both candidates shall present their vision for the party.
      That may at times be a nightmare and could cause internal disputes, but overall such input cant hurt and it retains active member involvement, I would hope this translates into increased membership to offset the losses suffered in the past.
      You’re declaration is appreciated, but you’re membership status / group is of small concern to me, im after ideas and discussion from any and all who wish to participate.

      Cheers,

       
      • Matt Martin

        17/09/2013 at 9:37 pm

        As you probably already know, NatExec did adopt more permissive rules for the Leadership ballot. Anyone who was a financial member of the ALP on election day will be able to vote.

         
      • wrb330

        18/09/2013 at 3:05 pm

        Yes I heard,
        Very glad its happened, now for it to work as hoped I suppose..(-:

         
  5. lmrh5

    16/09/2013 at 12:37 am

    Reblogged this on lmrh5.

     
  6. kezza2

    16/09/2013 at 11:54 pm

    Brooksy,

    Well, your blood pressure has surely returned to normal now? :smile:

    But what a victory for the new members of the Labor Party. Grass roots campaigns do work. Good cheer to you.

    I’m glad I’m not voting because I seriously wouldn’t know who to choose between the two candidates.

    I’ve never thought Shorten was leadership material. But, on the other hand, he did fabulously well in his portfolios.

    But, during the election campaign, watching a debate between him and Eric Abetz on IR was painful. He just couldn’t strike a blow in his own area of expertise, and he seemed very distracted, almost as if he didn’t want to be there. No passion, no fire in the belly, on the hustings.

    And Albo, loveable Albo, was a shocker in the Communications portfolio (yes, I know, he only had it for a few weeks) but he seriously didn’t get his head round the detail at all, despite claiming considerable experience in his pitch.

    Although his success in Infrastructure was extremely commendable.

    So, good luck to all of you in this privilege. May the best man win.

    PS. Apparently, historically whoever gets the leadership of the Opposition is doomed never to become PM.

    Now, there’s a thought to digest. Perhaps if you really want Albo to be PM, then it’s best to vote for Shorten, and vice versa.

     

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