Read Open Labor's stance on the preselection process for the upcoming federal election.
There's static in the air that the Labor Party National Executive is planning to call in preselections for the Victorian federal seats of Macnamara (formerly Melbourne Ports), Chisholm, and the newly created Fraser in Melbourne's west.
With today’s announcement by Jenny Macklin that she will retire at the next election presumably Jaga Jaga will also enter that mix. A National Executive decision on candidates for these seats would mean that local party members -- who under Victorian party rules are entitled to 50 per cent of the vote for their prospective MP -- got no say at all.
Open Labor strongly opposes any move by the ALP National Executive to call in these preselections, and urges all party members, in and out of factions, to come together to tell our leaders to do no further damage to grassroots democracy in our party.
Party leaders from Bill Shorten on the Right to Mark Butler on the Left have made it clear that the party needs to be a larger, broader organisation in order to survive and thrive. How referring these preselections to the National Executive furthers that goal is impossible to fathom.
Instead, it would show once again that too many party decisions are made in the dark, and without consulting the local members, citizens and communities the ALP seeks to represent. Far from attracting new members, it would discourage existing ones from turning out to staff the phones, railway stations and polling booths, and in other ways work hard for their candidates before and on election day.
Given the current campaigns for the by-elections to be held on 28 July, it is highly unlikely that the Turnbull Government will call an election before the end of this month, at the earliest. With campaigns having to run for at least 33 days after the issuing of writs, any Federal Election will almost certainly not take place earlier than September. So no one can argue that a full preselection process – which can be run in as little as two weeks – is too much of a delay.
It's time to put factional agendas and deals to one side in the interests of the party's health and future. The ALP must represent and include the broadest possible range of Australians. Only a larger, more diverse and democratic party can do that.