With the term of Jenny Macklin and Steve Bracks as Administrators of the Victorian ALP finishing on Sunday Jan 31, this is the current state of play as far as I know it. Eric Dearricott, Secretary of the Independents reports.
The drafting of the new rules
Holding Redlich prepared an initial draft of the new rules following the adoption by the ALP National Executive of the recommendations for rules changes in Jenny and Steve’s Report to them. Concerns have been expressed about some aspects of the draft, and cooperative work and consultation are continuing with the aim of completion of the new rules for approval by the National Executive by the middle of this coming week.
When will the new branch structure commence?
The new rules, including those detailing how the change from Party branches based restricted to members who reside in a particular Federal seat to one based on residing in a particular State seat are yet to be finalised and the new system to establish the database necessary for effective implementation of many of the new rules is still to be installed
Further, the final outcome of what is expected to be significant redistribution of the boundaries for State seats is due to be announced by the VEC on October 14.
In my view, a view shared by others, it would be absurd to shift members into new branches based on the current State seat boundaries and then to have to undergo the further disruption of changing those branches and their membership just a few months later.
Transitioning after the State redistribution would be a better option, but a decision on this matter is yet to be made.
When will normal Branch meetings be able to resume?
Both the National Executive’s ban on formal ALP Branch meetings in Victoria and pandemic restrictions, at least at the moment, make indoor meetings challenging to conduct and it is not clear when the National Executive will allow resumption of formal branch meetings and what conditions they would place on them.
In the meantime gatherings outside of up to 100 people are allowed – a start of year informal branch picnic in the park could be an attractive start of year Branch bonding activity whilst we wait for greater clarity.
Lets get the Party working for us!
Recommendation 14 of Jenny and Steve’s review, adopted by the National Executive, was that State Office establishes a Member Services and Engagement Division.
An important part of its responsibilities is to support branch activities, promote Party engagement activities and to provide information, engagement and other services to members. State Office re-opened on Jan 18. In this time of need, members and branches should be asking the Member Services and Engagement Division to swing into action.
Interim Governance Committee chosen to take over the reins.
The National Executive have chosen a 5 person Interim Governance Committee (IAG) who will take over the reins from Steve and Jenny on Monday Feb 1. The IAG will act in lieu of the Administrative Committee until after a State Conference, which is to be held in May 2022, elects a new smaller Admin Committee.
Although many ordinary Party members had pushed for inclusion of a non-factional IAG member with close ties to Branches, their efforts were in vein – the IAG will be comprised of 2 Social Left members, 2 Labor Unity members and one member of the Industrial Left.
A key task of the IAG will be, in conjunction with the National Executive, to choose the time of implementation of many of the new rules and to prepare for FEA elections in early 2022 and a State Conference in May 2022,
So what will change on Feb 1?
Other than the IAG taking over from Steve and Jenny, the only major change is likely to be the installation of the Inaugural Party Monitor, in essence a Party Ombudsman. The person filling that position has not yet been named by the National Executive.
The 3 new members of the Disputes Tribunal Panel appointed by Steve and Jenny will remain in their positions until after the 2022 State Conference.
Selecting Victoria’s Delegates to the Virtual National Conference to be held late March
Voting rights were stripped from Vic Labor members when the National Executive intervened in June last year.
There has been no announcement of how Victoria’s National Conference delegates will be chosen. NSW friends have advised me that even though members there could have voted for their delegates, that State has decided to appoint the same delegates as for the 2018 National Conference. It would be surprising if a similar approach wasn’t taken here.
More soon …