‘Eight Years Of Howard Is Enough’: Carmen Lawrence Opens ALP Conference

This is the text of the opening address to the 43rd ALP National Conference by the National President, Dr. Carmen Lawrence.

Text of speech by Dr. Carmen Lawrence.

LawrenceWelcome, delegates, to our forty-third National Conference.

I’m honoured to address you today as the first National President directly elected by the party’s members and the first woman National President of a major political party.

I’d also like to congratulate Barry Jones, one of Labor’s great advocates, and Warren Mundine, our first indigenous National President, on their election. [Read more…]


Carmen Lawrence Quits ALP Frontbench

Dr. Carmen Lawrence, the ALP member for Fremantle, former Federal Minister for Health and Western Australian Premier, has resigned from the ALP shadow ministry.

LawrenceAnnouncing her decision at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Dr. Lawrence said had found that the shadow cabinet had “become incredibly conservative – timid, even.” She said was “not able to continue to support and defend policies which, in my view are devised with one eye on the polls, and another on media impact.”

Lawrence’s resignation coincides with the release of the party’s new policy on asylum seekers.

In a wide-ranging statement, Lawrence said she “hated” the ALP’s “acquiescence” on the Tampa issue in 2001. “It’s part of our task in politics to bring the Australian community with us and not to treat them as if they’re incapable of changing their views and in fact assuming that they’re terminally bigoted.”

Lawrence condemned the prevailing culture of the ALP, saying that she wanted to help “take back the heart and the soul of the Labor Party – away from those people for whom it’s good enough to get up in the morning just to think that we’re going to be slightly better managed on that day.” [Read more…]


Carmen Lawrence: Renewing Democracy – Can Women Make a Difference?

The former Western Australian Premier and Federal Health Minister, Dr. Carmen Lawrence, has called for wide-ranging political reforms in a speech to the Sydney Institute.

LawrenceLawrence, the Labor member for Fremantle, calls for a number of parliamentary reforms, including the establishment of an all-party Business committee to determine the business of the parliament. She proposes giving parliamentary committees the power to initiate legislation, especially if their recommendations have been ignored by the government.

The speech also refers to the increasing influence of money in Australian politics. She says: “We run the risk of becoming a “corporate democracy” in which the number of shares you have purchased in the party of your choice determines your effective voting power. While there has been extensive debate about big money in politics in the U.S., there appears to be a conspiracy of silence on the issues among Australian politicians. Public funding of elections was supposed to reduce the parties’ reliance on private corporate and union donations: all that has happened is a blowout in both public (doubled since 1993) and private funding as parties engage in an increasingly expensive bidding war at elections.” [Read more…]


Carmen Lawrence Acquitted

Dr. Carmen LawrenceThe former Western Australian Premier and current federal member for Fremantle, Dr. Carmen Lawrence, was acquitted in a Perth court today of charges of giving false testimony to a Royal Commission.

The charges arose from the Royal Commission investigating the circumstances surrounding the tabling of a petition concerning divorce proceedings between Brian and Penny Easton.

Lawrence was the subject of allegations during her time as Health Minister in the Keating government, but she was strongly defended by Keating. The former Prime Minister attacked the Royal Commission set up by the Court Government as a witchhunt.