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…]


Senator Don Farrell (ALP-SA) – Valedictory Speech

Don Farrell was elected as a Labor senator from South Australia at the 2007 federal election.

Farrell

Farrell served just one term. He was one of six ALP senators to be defeated at the 2013 federal election. His term expired on June 30, 2014. His place was taken by Bob Day of the Family First party.

Farrell had originally been preselected to the number one position on the ALP Senate ticket for the election, but he relinquished it to Penny Wong, out of deference to her status as a senior minister. However, the ALP only polled 22.66% of the primary vote and won just one seat. [Read more…]


Senator Mark Furner (ALP-Qld) – Valedictory Speech

Mark Furner was elected to the Senate as a Labor member from Queensland at the 2007 federal election.

Furner

Furner served just one six-year term and was one of six ALP senators defeated at the 2013 federal election. His term finished on June 30, 2014. He was replaced by Glenn Lazarus from the Palmer United Party. [Read more…]


Senator Ursula Stephens (ALP-NSW) – Valedictory Speech

Senator Ursula Stephens was a two-term Labor senator from New South Wales.

Stephens

First elected in 2001 and re-elected in 2007, Stephens was defeated at the 2013 federal election. Her position was taken by the Liberal Democrats candidate, David Leyonhjelm.

Stephens was Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Inclusion in the first Rudd government following the 2007 election. She was also Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector during the same period. [Read more…]


Senator Louise Pratt (ALP-WA) – Valedictory Speech

Louise Pratt was an ALP senator from Western Australia, serving for one term from 2008.

Pratt

Pratt was successful in the first count of the W.A. Senate election held on September 7, 2013, but she was defeated in the second count. After the High Court voided the election in February 2014, Pratt was again defeated in the April 2014 re-run. [Read more…]


Senator Lin Thorp (ALP-Tas) – Valedictory Speech

Lin Thorp was a Tasmanian ALP senator for two years from June 2012.

Thorp

She was appointed to fill a casual vacancy created by the retirement of Senator Nick Sherry. She failed to win re-election at the 2013 federal election. Her position was effectively taken by the Palmer United Party’s Jacqui Lambie.

Prior to serving in the Senate, Thorp was the member for Rumney in the Tasmanian Legislative Council from 1999 until her defeat in 2011. She was a minister in the Tasmanian government between 2008 and 2011, and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council from 2006 until 2011. [Read more…]