Earlier this week I was asked if there was a good summary of what has happened with Labor Party reform across the country.
One of the downsides of being a federal party is it is conducive to silos. While there is knowledge about the larger East Coast branches, there is far less knowledge about what is going on in the smaller states and territories. To my knowledge, there is no detailed comparative summary of reform.
The table below, focusing on which branches have a directly elected component, is the best summary. It along with some of the following commentary were in the recent hard copy issue of Challenge.
|Jurisdiction||Parliamentary Leader||National Conference delegates||Senators||Young Labor President & Secretary||Party President|
|Victoria||Expected in March||X||X||√||Expected in March|
|Western Australia||√||X||Expected next year||√||√|
On the reform front, there have been some key changes over the past year.
- Since the direct election of the federal ALP leader, Queensland, the ACT, NSW, the NT and WA have moved to directly elect their Parliamentary Leaders. Tasmania and QLD have a 33/33/33 model while the others have opted for 50/50.
More state branches are directly electing their President. Western Australia recently held its first direct election and the ACT adopted it at its recent Conference.
- Queensland has reduced the union component of the Electoral College for local preselections from 50% to 30%.
- Many branches have amended their rules to allow the recognition of Policy Action Caucuses as party units.
Other reforms, however, have stalled.
Even though there was a National Conference resolution adopted on directly electing delegates, only NSW and Tasmania have adopted this key reform to date.
While there is the recognition of a need to change, only the ACT, NT, Queensland and Tasmania allow party members to have a direct say in who Labor’s Senate candidates are. All other jurisdictions have no direct election input.
Despite a push at Conference, New South Wales Young Labor remains as the only state branch that does not give all its members a vote on its President and Secretary and no Young Labor member gets a say over who the National AYL President or Secretary is.
From this it is clear that there has been some positive movements on party reform but there is still much more to do.