Public Pessimism, Political Complacency: Restoring Trust, Reforming Labor – John Faulkner Speech

Senator John Faulkner has renewed his call for the ALP to reform itself, arguing that party reform is vital to tackling the public perception that politics has become a values-free competition for office and the spoils it can deliver.

FaulknerFaulkner tonight delivered the inaugural address of The Light on the Hill Society, sponsored by the Revesby Workers’ Club.

The ALP’s former Senate leader and minister in the Keating and Rudd governments, said: “The stench of corruption which has come to characterise the NSW Labor Party must be eliminated. Failing to act is not an option.”

He called for the banning of “the practice of factions, affiliates or interest groups binding parliamentarians in Caucus votes or ballots”, arguing that factional binding allowed “a group with 51% of a subfaction, which then makes up 51% of a faction, which in turn has 51% of the Caucus numbers, to force the entire Caucus to their position”.

Faulkner also called for reforms to political donation laws.

Faulkner called for major reform to the ALP’s internal operations and its association with trade unions, saying: “Labor’s model of delegated democracy was cutting edge – in 1891.” He said the cutting edge structures of the 19th century now work to prevent democracy and open debate in the ALP. Party conferences, state and national, should have a component of directly elected delegates. Faulkner also called for union members to be given a direct say, rather than have their opinions “filtered through layers of delegation”.

Trade union representation should be reduced over time to 20%, Faulkner said. The membership of the party should directly elect 60% of delegates to state conferences, with the other 20% coming from electorate councils.

Motions for party reform moved by Faulkner were defeated at the last NSW conference of the ALP.

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Transcript of Senator John Faulkner’s Address to The Light on the Hill Society.

Public Pessimism, Political Complacency: Restoring Trust, Reforming Labor

I have always believed that politics is worthwhile.

This is not, nowadays, a popular view.

Important issues are, we are told, ‘above politics’— because politics, by implication and expectation, are the province of the low road. [Read more…]


Sen. Joe Bullock (ALP-WA) – Maiden Speech

Senator Joe Bullock was elected at the re-run Senate election in Western Australia on April 5, 2014.

Bullock

The original Senate election of September 7, 2013 was declared void by the High Court after the Australian Electoral Commission lost around 1400 ballot papers during a recount.

Having replaced Senator Louise Pratt in the first position on the ALP ticket, Bullock was the only successful ALP candidate. The ALP also failed to win a second seat in South Australia.

Bullock, 58, an official of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, was a controversial choice for preselection, especially after the publication of a tape of an address he made to the Dawson Society. [Read more…]


Bill Shorten Focuses On Medicare In Address To NSW Labor Conference

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has addressed the NSW ALP conference at the Sydney Town Hall.

Shorten

In his speech, Shorten sought to focus attention on the proposed co-payment for Medicare, declaring that Labor’s support for universal health insurance was one of its central tenets. [Read more…]


Greg Combet Says Julia Gillard Offered To Stand Aside For Him

Greg Combet, a senior minister in the previous Labor government, says then Prime Minister Julia Gillard offered to stand aside to allow him to assume the leadership.

Combet appeared in an interview broadcast on the ABC’s 7.30 program tonight. Combet’s memoirs, The Fights of My Life, will be released next week and launched by Gillard.

Combet says that he approached Gillard in mid-June last year and was of the view that a ballot for the leadership should be held. He said Gillard offered to stand aside if he put his name forward. He says he declined because he thought the momentum for Rudd’s return was well-developed and that it would be a difficult political manoeuvre to “pull off”. Facing a personal health problem, Combet said he decided not to nominate. [Read more…]


Bill Shorten’s Speech On The Carbon Tax Repeal Legislation

The carbon tax repeal legislation is about to be passed by the House of Representatives for the third time and the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has argued against them in an impassioned speech to the chamber.

Shorten

Shorten lamented the lost opportunity that began in 2009 with legislation of which he said the nation could have been collectively proud.

A range of commentators have described this speech as one of Shorten’s most impressive. Others feel it is indicative of the ALP’s parlous position that it came on the day the demise of the Gillard government’s signature achievement became inevitable.

  • Listen to Shorten’s speech (22m – transcript below)

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Hansard transcript of Bill Shorten’s speech to the House of Representatives on the carbon tax repeal legislation.

Shorten

In late 2009, this nation was on the verge of making a decision about which we could have been collectively proud.

We could have made this parliament a place of inspiration. [Read more…]