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