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The following Rules amendments have been lodged today with a view to facilitating the implementation of Bill Shorten’s April 2014 reform proposals. They will be voted on tomorrow.

i) National Conference delegate election

Bill Shorten said:

“Future Labor Conferences to be a mix of people from and by Labor members and those elected by State Conferences.”

New rule 31b reads:

“A proportion of those delegates must be elected by local branch members and include delegates from outside metropolitan areas”

Preferred amendment to 31b:

“At least 50% of those delegates must be elected from and by local branch members and include delegates from outside metropolitan areas. The other delegates will be elected by State Conference.”

Alternative amendment:

“A number of those delegates at least equal to the number of Federal electorates in the State must be elected from and by all eligible local branch members and include delegates from outside the metropolitan areas.”

ii) Senate Pre-selections

Bill said:

“Give local Labor members a meaningful say in the selection of Senate Candidates”

Currently no rule has been placed in the new constitution to implement this vision.

Proposed new NPO :

“For Senate preselections, if as of July 24 2015 members who live in the State have less than 50% of the total votes, then the state branch must increase the proportion of votes for those members to at least 50%.”

iii) Increasing the weighting of local members votes in House of Reps Pre-selections

Bill Shorten said:

“… increase the weight given to the local members’ vote by 20% in every House of Representatives seat with more than 300 members” – In Victoria this would mean a 70:30 split in favour of local party members.”

This is included in this form in the new Draft Rules –

Rule 39 (d) reads:

“For House of Representative preselections, if as of July 24 2015 members who live in the electorate have less than 70% of the total votes, then for electorates with more than 300 members the state branch must increase the proportion of votes for those members by at least 20%”

Proposed amendment: In Rule 39 d) replace “300” with “100” in the phrase “with more than 300 members”

Alternative amendment: In Rule 39 d) replace “300” with “150” in the phrase “with more than 300 members”

iv) Federal Executive Intervention in Pre-selections

In April 2014 the Federal Leader said:

“From now on intervention by the National Executive shall be the exception not the rule.”

Proposed new NPO:

“National Executive intervention in pre-selections will be restricted to genuinely urgent and/or exceptional circumstances.

Eric Dearricott

25 July 2015

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Dear Friends,

Please find below a summary report of the Saturday July 4 Independents’ Pre-National Conference Forum

Forum Report

The purpose of the Forum was to provide input to Conference delegates Sandra Willis and Eric Dearricott and proxy David Imber on what were seen as key Conference issues.

Policy Issues:

a) Refugee and Asylum Seeker Policy:

There was general agreement that:
i) There needs to be a regional approach to asylum seekers
ii) Processing of asylum seekers regardless of how they arrive should be onshore
iii) Labor policy should not endorse turning boats back
iv) Labor should oppose refoulement
v) Workers at detention centres should not be prohibited from speaking out about unacceptable practices and occurrences

b) Climate Change

It was believed that Labor’s policy must include specific and ambitious targets for greenhouse gas reduction and for renewable energy produced electricity.

c) Marriage Equality

Should Labor Parliamentarians be allowed a conscience vote on Marriage Equality (Same Sex Marriage)?

Labor’s current platform supports same sex marriage but allows parliamentarians a conscience vote on the issue.

Whilst there was strong support for the Party’s policy there was general agreement that delegates should adopt an approach which maximises the likelihood of passage of marriage equality laws at the earliest possible time.

d) Trade Agreements

There was strong concern that these will allow workers to be brought in for certain projects working under conditions inferior to Australian agreements which would not only impact on local employment but undermine the wages and conditions of local workers. Other serious concerns were expressed around the ability of companies to challenge Australian social legislation in the courts and intellectual property rights.

f) Party reform

Disappointment was expressed about the failure of the draft rules changes to implement several of Bill Shorten’s April 2014 proposals and the Independent delegates were encouraged to continue to seek to implementation of those modest aspirations.
Particular aspects discussed were:

i) Bill Shorten said

“Future Labor Conferences to be a mix of people from and by Labor members and those elected by State Conferences”

New rule 31b reads

“A proportion of those delegates must be elected by local branch members and include delegates from outside metropolitan areas”

Those present supported Bill Shorten’s April 2014 statement but were strongly of the view that thought that the rank and file component should be at least 50%.

Proposed amendment to 31b

“At least 50% of those delegates must be elected from and by local Labor members and include delegates from outside metropolitan areas. The other delegates to be elected by State Conference”

ii) Bill Shorten proposed

“Give local Labor members a meaningful say in the selection of Senate Candidates”

As with National Conference delegates those present believed that at least 50% of the weighting in the selection of State Senate candidates should be held by the rank and file.

Proposed new NPO

“At least 50% of the weighting in preselecting State Senate candidates must be held by local Labor members”

iii) In April 2014 the Federal Leader said

“From now on intervention by the National Executive shall be the exception not the rule”.

This reform is not currently included in the proposed rules changes – given Victorian members have been stripped of their rights to vote in the past 3 pre-selections of candidates for the Legislative Council those present were emphatic that at rule that restricts intervention in pre-selections must be included in the National Rules by this National Conference.

iv) Bill Shorten said

“… increase the weight given to the local members’ vote by 20% in every House of Representatives seat with more than 300 members”

In Victoria this would mean a 70:30 split in favour of local party members.”

This is included in this form in the new Draft Rules – In reality for Victoria this rule will apply almost exclusively in stacked electorates because of the 300 member minimum we believe the 300 member minimum should be removed from the proposed draft rule.

v) Affirmative Action –

No changes have been included in the draft – this must change especially in relation to changing defining what are included as winnable seats prior to the commencement of pre-selections.

Regards,
Eric Dearricott
Secretary Victorian Labor Independents
0419 357 192

Dear Friends,

Please find below info about Saturday’s Independents’ Open Forum agenda.

It should be an interesting and productive Forum – Please attend if you can and invite others to attend also we want your input.

The Venue is
Unitarian Church
110 Grey St East Melbourne,
Saturday July 4
2-4pm
Parking at the front of the Church and also behind the Church at the end of Gotch Lane which runs beside the Church

Agenda:

a) Refugee and Asylum Seeker Policy – offshore vs onshore processing and turning back the boats will be challenging issues at the Conference although at this stage the latter is not in the draft platform.

b) Climate Change – Australia’s targets for carbon reduction and for renewable energy produced electricity are key items likely to be debated at the Conference

c) Should Labor Parliamentarians be allowed a conscience vote on Same Sex Marriage: Labor’s current platform supports same sex marriage but allows parliamentarians a conscience vote on the issue. Both the Irish referendum and the more recent US Supreme Court ruling in favour of same sex marriage have made a vote on the issue prior to the next election more likely.

d) Trade Agreements – there is a real concern that these could allow workers to be brought in for certain projects working under conditions inferior to Australian agreements which would not only impact on local employment but undermine the wages and conditions of local workers. Other concerns are around the ability of companies to challenge Australian social legislation in the courts and intellectual property rights.

e) Palestine

f) Party reform:

i) Direct election by rank and file members of National Conference delegates – this is included in the new National Rules but no percentage is prescribed. In Victoria currently all National Conference delegates are elected by State Conference delegates.

ii) Direct rank and file member participation in the pre-selection of each State’s Senate candidates. In Victoria currently this is done solely by the central Public Office Selection Committee.
Bill Shorten proposed that there should be direct membership involvement but this is not currently included in the new draft rules.

iii) Restricting intervention by the national Executive in pre-selections to genuinely urgent circumstances.

iv) 70% rank & File/30% Public Office Selection Committee pre-selections in Victoria.

g) Other Conference Issues from the Floor of the Forum

The draft Policy Platform and Draft new Constitution (Rules) are now on the ALP National Conference Website so if you wish to check out any policy area Google ALP National Conference 2015 to find the policy item that interests you.

Regards,
Eric Dearricott
Secretary Victorian Labor Independents
0419 357 192

PS Sandra Willis and I, who are both National Conference delegates, and David Imber who is a proxy, will be there to hear your views.