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Gary Gray Announces Resignation as ALP National Secretary

The National Secretary of the Australian Labor Party, Gary Gray, says he is leaving the Party’s top administrative job, confident that the ALP is poised to win the next Federal election.

Mr Gray announced this morning that he would resign from the position of National Secretary, effective from March next year.

“I have told Kim Beazley and the parliamentary leadership of my intention to resign after almost seven years serving in the job. It is obviously not a decision that I have taken lightly – but it is a decision which has been guided by my dedication to the Australian Labor Party and my determination to always do what I believe is best for the ALP.

“The decision to go now ensures my successor has every opportunity to position the Party for the next Federal election in 2001.

“I leave knowing that Labor’s prospects have never been brighter. Nationally we only need a swing of less than 1% to win government. At the state level, Labor is in control across the entire eastern seaboard including Tasmania. We have every chance of winning state elections in Western Australia and South Australia.”

Mr Gray said his decision to resign two years before the next Federal election meant the incoming National Secretary would have ample time to prepare for what was certain to be a challenging campaign.

“The National Secretary’s job is not one that anyone can do forever; it is not a job that anyone can do indefinitely.”

He said some of the high points of his tenure included the National Executive’s decision to put Pauline Hanson’s One Nation last on all how-to-votes and the 1998 Federal election result where Labor’s resurgence saw a gain of 20 seats.

During almost seven years as National Secretary, Mr Gray introduced sweeping reforms to the Party’s national organisation. These include:

  • Establishing a sustainable, financial structure for the National Secretariat;
  • Introducing an affirmative action policy which has lifted female representation from 61 to 99 members of parliament across the country;
  • Launching the Labor Herald – the first national newspaper in the ALP’s 110 year history;
  • Chronicling the history of the ALP through journals and other publications;
  • Pioneering marginal seats campaigning and direct voter contact strategies;
  • Developing strong links with the corporate sector and a fundraising program which has raised more than $30 million since 1990;
  • Restructuring the National Executive so it is directly elected by National Conference;
  • Introducing professional development programs for Labor members of Parliament;
  • Assisting state branches reduce debt levels and providing financial and logistical support to them during election campaigns;
  • Designing comprehensive disclosure requirements for political donations which ensure these donations are transparent; and
  • Developing a regional focus for Labor’s international relations providing practical campaign and organisational support for Labour parties in the Asia Pacific including South Africa, Fiji, New Zealand, Canada and PNG.

Mr Gray said that although it was difficult to let go of a job which had been so challenging and rewarding this was the right time to make the move.

“It is 25 years since I joined the Labor Party. I joined as an idealistic sixteen year old because I believed in what the party stood for. Today I am older but still just as fervent about the Labor Party and its values.

“Over the years I have met and got to know Party members, members of parliament, staff and supporters across the country. This has been an enormous privilege. I thank all of them for the support and friendship they have given me.”

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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