PROBLEMS

Here is an ongoing list of the undemocratic things that factions do to the membership.

  • Factions by nature are designed to circumvent democracy. They are anti-democracy.
  • Factions sign ‘stability pacts’ with each other, which means that they carve up Parliamentary seats into agreed territory and will unite to wipe any independent challenger off the map.
  • How come 90% of the ALP are not factional, yet you can count on one hand the amount of independent MPs?
  • Factions have a process called ‘binding’, which means all faction members must follow the orders and vote that way.
  • Factions circulate “How To Vote” cards for internal ballots. These can be 10-12 people long. All candidates are ALP members and are worthy of consideration, therefore such devices are just artificial constructs designed to control the outcome.
  • ALP branches should be ALP branches, not outposts for any Faction or Trade Union. This is often not the case and office bearers will use the branch to progress factional business and to promote factional candidates.
  • Factions try very hard to seem harmless and just part of life, but they are unofficial entities who control the party. They are therefore holding the ALP hostage. They have grossly disproportionate power.
  • Some factions use ‘Show and Tell’ when voting. This unbelievable phenomenon involves someone else from your faction supervising your vote and confirming that it is going where they intend.
  • Faux reform such as allowing members to vote on President and Vice President of the ALP, but these positions have no voting power or influence, they are ceremonial. Much like the membership it seems.
  • They always cut State Conferences short or make sure there is no time to debate reform motions, which are then send off to ‘committee’ to die and never be seen again.
  • Why are there factions in Young Labor? The ALP would be far better served without them. Young Labor is a bloodbath and we disenchant and hurt far too many fantastic young people, with the factions waging proxy wars, dividing and conquering and seeking out the next generation of apparatchiks, with the promise of jobs and support for party positions. It’s a terrible combination.
  • University Labor clubs should NOT be outposts for factions.
  • Factions often go by other names and brands to disguise themselves.
  • Members will vote in internal ballots without full disclosure on who is in a faction, which one and who isn’t. This should be disclosed because people sign up to these factions to receive advantages, including bloc votes for pre-selections and internal votes.
  • State offices do not fully disclose the results of pre-selections, for example in Queensland all that is provided is that “Such and such person was pre-selected for such and such seat.” What we need to demand is full disclosure of the results (The membership ballot as well as any central or union blocs). It is important to also include any name of a person who nominated but withdrew.
  • Factions will often tap people on the shoulder and tell hopeful nominees that they are wasting their time and that the seat is sewn up and they should withdraw. Luckier people may get some sort of offer for support for something else. Whether those promises come about is another matter.
  • Why is there such a difference between voting expectations and privacy inside the party and outside of it at polling booths? Would you tolerate someone telling you how to vote? Or spying on you?
  • Unions are fantastic custodians of values of fairness in our society. But not when their power within the party is wielded by warlords without consent or knowledge of their own membership.
  • Most unions are affiliated to one particular faction. Factions are therefore a projection of union power.
  • Some union leaders actually believe that “they are the moral compass of the party” and “they pay the bills so they own the party”. Well yea I guess you do donate a lot of money, but that is largely from their membership, which is tax deductible. Hardly displaying the values of fairness and equality and battling the forces of entitlement.
  • Leadership ballots that put power in the hands of members have been dismissed. Such as the recent ‘change of leadership’ in Tasmania at 3am. There should be a ballot, but there wasn’t. Tasmania has a flawed 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 system, but non the less the process should have been activated.
  • In Queensland, there should be 50% rank and file voting for Senate nominations. With much fanfare this rule was brought in. Of course what happened? You need a whopping 200 signatures to nominate. (Something only a faction could really acquire, especially considering the effort that they would put into scrutinizing that list and trying to knock people off it) So only three candidates nominated. One for each faction. And the ticket order was handled by state admin committee.
  • Seeing apparently endorsed candidates campaigning before their pre-selection was announced to the party membership. An announcement to membership should be the first action, before any campaign activity takes place.
  • Many people will come out and slam the state of party democracy and call factions thugs and cancer. But what is the next step? We need to go further than that! If factions are cancer, we need an antidote.