Eric Dearricott, Secretary Vic Labor Independents reports on the contribution of Victorian Independent, non-aligned and Open Labor to the ALP draft platform at the recent ALP National Conference.
Dear Vic Labor Friends,
On Tues Mar 30 and Wed Mar 31 the ALP conducted online its National Conference at which it determined Platform within which Labor’s policies for the next Federal election will be framed.
Victorian Independent, non-aligned and Open Labor members Eric Dearricott, Jamie Button (delegates) and Linda Condon (proxy) actively participated in the Conference.
The Conference was well conducted, chaired for the most part by Michelle Myers, National Junior Vice President from Victoria because President Wayne Swan had been grounded by the Queensland lockdown.
Policy highlights of the Conference were Albo’s announcements of a $16B plan to revitalise Manufacturing and employment in Australia, a support package to encourage the take up of electric vehicles in Australia, a strong commitment to jobs, connecting up to 100,000 homes to 400 community batteries and support for the principles of the Uluru statement.
Compared with the ambitious Platform laid out at the 2018 National Conference, which we took to the 2019 elections, a cautious attitude was taken with few matters that could be potentially distorted and exploited by our opponents included.
The online format would have made debate on issues where significant differences existed, nigh on impossible, but such issues had been resolved or set aside prior to the Conference leaving just 2 matters to go to an online vote both of which were carried 300+ to about 30 votes.
Between us we Victorian independent and non-aligned delegates and proxy lodged some 15 amendments to the draft platform, all arising from proposals raised at the open forum we conducted on March 16.
Of the 15 amendments to the platform we lodged, 6 were carried in their original form, following discussions we modified 6 of our amendments and they were endorsed by the Conference. We withdrew just three amendments, all related to climate change, after discussions with key players.
Our successful amendments included:
- In Chap 2 para 64a strengthening of Labor’s commitment towards improvements in preschool and kindergarten programs
- to Chapter 2 Paras 88 and 91 beefing up Labor’s commitment to universities as the leading centres for learning and research and to humanity and in para 75 to ensure the quality of teaching and training in the vocational education sector,
- In Chap 3 injecting more reality into Labor’s statement re Carbon Capture and Storage
- in Chapter 4 inserting in the focuses of Aged Care funding ….., mandated minimum staffing, ….
- In Chap 4 Para 13 seeking the continuation of Telehealth beyond the pandemic
- In Chap 6 Para 42 committing Federal Labor to work with the States to review the age of criminal responsibility which can currently result in children as young as 10 being incarcerated.
- In Chap 6 Para 45 including a statement that Labor will reinstate and maintain the Family Court as a specialised and superior federal court for Australian families.
- Strengthening Chap 7 Para 44a to describe Labor’s commitment to action on climate change as a core objective in its foreign policy.
- and Chapter 7 heading and new Para 3 greater emphasising the need to renew Australia’s foreign policy traditions
All three of the amendment which we withdrew after discussions were around climate change issues. We remain confident however that Labor will take effective policies on climate change to the election and are encouraged by Chapter 3 Para 13 which commits Labor to net zero domestic greenhouse pollution by 2050 and medium term targets consistent with that goal.
We had received 30 proposed amendments from individuals and groups following the March 16 Forum, almost all of which we were supportive. However with only three of us attending this Conference (hopefully there will be more next time) that 15 was as many as we could lodge without appearing selfish.
Secretary Vic Labor Independents