Friday, 18 May 2007

The CFMEU and NUW NSW call for Labor Party democracy

Blink and you'll miss it, but Labor Tribune carries this recent response to the ALP parachute-brigade, which is currently engaged in shunting high-profile "electable" "representatives of the working class" into ten federal seats - and bugger the wishes of the local branches.

National executive shows contempt for ALP rank and file

The CFMEU and NUW NSW call for Labor Party democracy

In an extraordinary display of arrogance and contempt the rank and file of the ALP have been disenfranchised of the right to select candidates in the following NSW federal seats: Throsby, Wentworth, Eden Monaro, Hughes, Blaxland, Charlton, Fowler, Lindsay, Paterson and Robertson.

At the ALP national conference a resolution was adopted endorsing the national executive to select candidates in three NSW federal seats. However within 48 hours, an extra seven seats were added to the list. This decision disenfranchised over 2000 party members from having any say.

The initial decision was sold on the basis of giving ACTU secretary Greg Combet an opportunity to enter the federal parliament. The National Union of Workers (NUW) and the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) support the selection of Greg Combet. Similarly we supported the entry of Peter Garrett in 2005 to the federal parliament. However there needs to be some balance and, in particular, there needs to be more respect for the rank and file members of the Australian Labor Party. While some candidates selected by the national executive process were quality, others were mediocre.

The NUW, the CFMEU and many rank and file party members regard this process as unacceptable. We intend to campaign to ensure that the party rank and file are given proper consideration in future ballots. This type of arrogance and contempt cannot continue unchallenged. This is an issue that deserves priority after the federal election. We need to make maximum effort to win the federal election campaign and then ensure that democracy is returned to our party.



If you are an ALP member or union official and you support this statement, email your name, branch and contact details to Jennifer Glass at

Authorised by Andrew Ferguson, State Secretary, CFMEU (Construction & General Division) NSW Branch

Authorised by Derrick Belan, State Secretary, NUW NSW Branch

This is only the latest in a long line of undemocratic shenanigans by the ALP, of which the Wombats will provide more detail later, and we very much doubt it will be the last. I rather suspect that this call will fall (or has fallen) on deaf ears, but good luck to 'em.

What really stands out is, despite all the "fight for ALP democracy" rhetoric, this call is to fight for rank-and-file democracy only after the elections. The usual stuff then - never "fight for your rights now!"; always "elect Labor - then fight for your rights."

No comments: