We came so very close at the last Victorian State Conference to seeing much-needed reform of Senate preselection voting rules. Ultimately, meaningful debate on the floor was thwarted by a cynical misuse of formal procedure. But all is not lost: the next Victorian State Conference is coming up in only a few months, and we want to make it impossible for the guardians of the status quo to justify ignoring members' calls for democratic reform.
Since 2003, Victorian members have not been allowed to exercise their right to vote for their state Upper House candidates. Too often, preselections are worked out behind closed doors, and unworthy candidates are chosen for politically expedient reasons.
Open Labor, the Independents, Local Labor and 32 branches across Victoria called on delegates to allow 50% of the vote in preselection contests to be given to ALP members. Given voters' growing disillusionment with politics and politicians, both here and abroad, our leaders would be wise to learn from Brexit and Trump, and make it easier for loyal, committed ALP members to participate meaningfully in our party's processes.
32 branches signed up in the weeks leading up to last year's conference. This time, we hope that you and your branch will add your voices to call for this much-needed change.
Below is the motion that we are sending out to branches. We hope that you will take this motion to your branch, and join us in this fight. If you would like someone from Open Labor to come and speak to your branch, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Motion for Victorian ALP branches
That this branch of the ALP writes to:
1. the ALP’s State Secretary requesting him to advise the State Conference of the Victorian ALP and also
2. to the elected conference representatives from this FEA expressing our support for a rule change regarding the method of preselection for Upper House seats.
That the rule change be to provide a 50% rank and file member’s component to take place in Senate preselections for this state, with the vote held by optional proportional representation and a secret ballot.
This branch also requests that the party ensures that the Administrative Committee of the Victorian Branch does not take away members’ existing rights to vote in the imminent pre-selections of Legislative Council candidates for the next State election, as has occurred in the four previous elections.
That this branch also writes to Open Labor to advise of its support for their position on preselection voting.
Here are the branches that have already signed up to support members' voices in Senate preselections:
As you can see, the support for democratic reform comes from all quarters, from the city to the bush. We hope that you join us, and that our leaders will respond with action, not platitudes.