Labor Party reformers seek commitments from presidential hopefuls

News Update2Labor Party reform groups are asking the five candidates for ALP National President to support substantial changes to party rules in order make Labor more open, democratic and responsive to its members.

Local Labor and Open Labor have sent a questionnaire to the candidates – Mark Butler, Jane Garrett, Tim Hammond, Henry Pinskier and Louise Pratt – seeking their views on party reform.

The questionnaire asks candidates for their views on giving Labor members and supporters more say in pre-selections for Parliament, on changes to the relationship between the party and affiliated unions, on secret ballots in party votes and on an ethical charter for Labor MPs and office holders.

Local Labor and Open Labor will publish the questions and responses on their websites during the period of postal voting, which runs from May 11 until June 12.

The new President will chair Labor’s July National Conference, which leader Bill Shorten has promised will be a conference of big ideas and reforms to Labor’s rules and structures.

Local Labor National Convenor, Stuart Whitman, said that implementing the 2010 ALP National Review recommendations to create a more democratic party were vital to strengthening the participation of Labor members and branches in the party.

“A well-run party with members who are engaged and respected by the leadership will give Labor the best chance to get elected and implement policies for a fair and progressive Australia,” Stuart said.

Open Labor spokesman Tom Bentley said the party’s National President can play a critical role in pushing the party to be more open and accountable to its members.

“With an important National Conference just months away, the President has a great opportunity to be a leader in party reform. Let’s elect someone who wants to use it.”

For more information regarding the candidates participating in the ALP national presidential ballot, please visit www.alp.org.au/national_president_ballot

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