Open Labor’s statement on the use of our logo during FEA elections has
generated strong arguments and various interpretations since it was
posted on Tuesday morning.
A large number of people made a clear connection between Open Labor’s
logo and positioning and sets of preferences that were aligned to
specific factions. But there are also a range of different
interpretations and interests here, and an atmosphere heightened by the
current FEA elections and by the highly charged atmosphere generated by
the Wills Preselection.
The statement has been used heavily in Batman to promote competing,
One of the people we named has been in touch to offer an alternative explanation
of what happened last Sunday at the Batman polling station and to complain
that he is not being treated fairly.
Rhys Dale says that he was not intentionally standing in front of the
Open Labor banner while handing out, and did not intend to create any
specific impression about political alignment and independence by
encouraging an association with Open Labor.
Open Labor accepts Rhys’s explanation at face value and therefore
corrects the post which suggested, based on photos and feedback supplied
by a range of people, that this impression was being intentionally
We’re sorry that Rhys appears to have been caught up in accusations and
counter-accusations for which he was not responsible, and that he was
named as part of an Open Labor post in a way that was not accurate.
More broadly, by naming the three individuals quickly without giving
them a chance to explain where they were coming from, Open Labor went
too fast and too hard.
The issues we are raising are current and live – and we believe that
pointing out conflicts between principle and practice is necessary - but
targeting individuals, especially younger people trying to participate
in the Labor Party, is not the best way to do it.
So we apologise to those three people and we have removed the statement
from our website.
Rather than dragging out an argument that would never be resolved about
who stood where and who should have contacted whom, we choose to
acknowledge our error and point to the issues, not the individuals.
It is worth noting that this argument is being played out – again -
through the prism of the contest for numbers between left and right
factional groups – and that Open Labor’s earlier statement is being used
in that contest.
Engaging in politics means sometimes making the wrong call – and in this
case we own our mistake.
But Open Labor exists because there is a much greater community interest
in the issues and causes that Labor can advance than there is in the
contest – internal and overt – between the factions. There are many more
people – inside and outside the party – who are turned off by some forms
of factional behaviour, when they see that contest being elevated above
the values or reform goals that virtually all Labor supporters would
We will keep working to be honest, transparent and democratic about that