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?.