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.
Faulkner 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.
- Listen to Faulkner’s speech (45m)
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.
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