Dear ALP members,
Early in March, you and 13,000 other ALP members across the State, will receive a ballot paper in the mail and for the first time have the opportunity to vote directly for 43 of Victoria’s 86 delegates to this year’s ALP National Conference.
I write to seek your support for my candidature in that election. I have been to National Conference previously. As an independent/unaligned delegate I was not bound by a faction, I consulted widely with Party members on the key policy and reform issues prior to the conference, I successfully sought reforms which empowered Party members and I reported back after the Conference.
Between 200 and 300 primary votes will be required to be elected – a challenging total.
At the 2015 National Conference Party members gained the long sought right to a direct vote for half of Victoria’s delegates. This was because of the reform proposal that I and the four other independent/non-aligned delegates from across Australia placed before that Conference and used our balance of power to secure.
Previously when all of Victoria’s 86 National Conference delegates were elected by the delegates to our State Conference all but a very small handful of delegates were union officials, state or federal parliamentarians or political staffers. In 2015 all but 2 Victorian delegates were tied by one of the major factions.
The new rule requires each State to have at least as many delegates directly elected by financial members as there are Federal electorates and to include delegates from outside the metropolitan area.
In Victoria, under the new rules, the remaining 43 of the 86 National Conference delegates will be elected by the 300 Union appointed delegates to our State Conference.
Members of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party have the right to attend and have the same the National Conference participation rights as delegates, other than voting.
With all Party members voting directly it should be possible to achieve a broader, freer and more membership responsive set of Victorian National Conference delegates than in past years. But it is a challenging task for me and the other independent/non-aligned rank and file candidates competing against factional machines in a state-wide ballot. As well as myself (Eric Dearricott) independent-nonaligned candidates Linda Condon, Jamie Gardiner, Pauline Brown as well as Jamie Button, Kath Cozens and Joel Kennedy from Open Labor will be standing with the goal of giving rank and file Party members genuine representation at National Conference. I, and they, need your support.
If elected we intend to continue to pursue reforms not adopted by the 2015 Conference: direct party member participation with at least 50% weighting in pre-selecting Senate candidates; increasing the weighting for local party members in Victorian pre-selections from 50% to 70% and curtailing central intervention in pre-selections. I will also propose that the directly elected National President and Vice Presidents be granted voting rights on the National Executive and that the rulings of the National Disputes Tribunal be binding on the Party.
Although preparation of National Policy proposals, under the auspices of the National Policy Forum, is already well advanced, delegates on the floor can nevertheless make a significant difference by moving and supporting amendments. I will support progressive policies such as strengthening measures to combat climate change, wage justice, equity in education, improving housing affordability, the agenda of Labor for Refugees, a reduction in tertiary education student fees, a human rights charter and implementation of the Uluru statement.
Just prior to the 2015 National Conference we arranged an open meeting for members of local Branches to provide input on the key issues to be debated at that Conference – should we be successful in this ballot we would seek to do the same again.
I hope you will support me and our independent/non-aligned candidates.
Eric Dearricott (0419 357 192)
Secretary Victorian Labor Independents and Admin Committee member