Open Labor calls for release of report into illegal membership renewals.

In the name of a democratic ALP, don’t shoot the whistleblower

Open Labor, the network dedicated to ALP renewal, today calls on the Victorian Labor Party to abandon its unwarranted, heavy-handed legal threats towards veteran party reformer Eric Dearricott, who has acted against branch-stacking and the illegal payment of membership fees.

A legal letter sent last week on behalf of State Secretary Noah Carroll threatens Mr Dearricott with criminal prosecution for alleged breaches of privacy and security. Mr Dearricott denies that he has breached any such provisions.

Open Labor spokesperson Tom Bentley says the party should welcome Mr Dearricott’s efforts to uncover malpractice in the enrolment and renewal of ALP members and must act more strongly to ensure that every individual member uses traceable means of payment.

“Branch stacking has no place in the ALP.  These practices cannot be justified, as the party’s federal leaders have acknowledged.  Closing off access to membership details and threatening the person who assembled the evidence is an inadequate and indefensible response.”  He said.

In government and corporate cases of whistleblowing Australian law has generally protected those brave enough to expose wrongdoing in the public interest.

Australian Securities and Investment Commission Chair Greg Medcraft recently called for whistleblowers to be further supported in the role they play.

“Companies and the public sector are expected, and even required, to have whistleblowing policies. Why should the ALP exempt itself?” says Tom Bentley.

Open Labor also calls on the party to publish its internal report into the alleged membership abuses highlighted by Mr Dearricott so that members can make up their own minds about the issue and the integrity of the report.

Queries: Tom Bentley 0400 930 525  tombentley@fastmail.net