Annerley Branch News – August 2022

Push for a ‘secular’ society

The Annerley Branch has supported a small, yet important amendment to the ALP’s state platform, calling for the term ‘secular’ to be used to described as the type of society Labor should ‘work to achieve’.

Currently, the term ‘secular’ is only applied to the state education system in the Party’s policy platform with many branch members now suggesting that it was now well overdue to apply the term more broadly. With the most recent census figures revealing a dramatic increase in the number of people identifying as having no religion, the advocacy for the policy change is seen as timely.

Changes to the Queensland ALP platform will be determined at the annual state conference which is scheduled for early November this year and will be held on the Sunshine Coast.

Affirmative action for First Nations candidates supported

Branch members have championed a bold proposal from the Queensland Indigenous Labor Network calling for the introduction of affirmative action for ALP candidates to ensure greater political representation of First Nations people.

The proposed Party rule change calls for the Administrative Committee to ensure that the minimum number of First Nations candidates in held and winnable seats be not be less than 1 candidate for Federal Parliament, 2 candidates for the Queensland Legislative Assembly, and 1 candidate for each endorsed local government team.

Already the resolution calling for the change has been adopted by the recently held Brisbane South Regional Members Assembly and is expected to be debated at the upcoming State Conference in November. Critics of the proposal have expressed concerns that the change might come at the cost of women, however, this has been soundly rejected by advocates of the rule amendment.

Members keen on local council reform

Clearly wanting more reform at the local government level, members of the Annerley Branch have supported state platform changes aimed to shake up current democratic practices.

The raft of proposed policy platform changes includes a commitment to full or compulsory preferential voting in local councils with divisions and full proportional representation in local councils with multi-member systems.

In addition is a call for Labor to ‘review the current system of divisions or wards for local government to determine their value or usefulness in ensuring good governance’. The proposed review, it is argued, should ‘consider removing local government divisions in favour of an ‘at-large’ vote for all councillors using proportional representation’. In essence this would look at introducing a multi-member system for Brisbane City Council.

Another aspect of the proposed reforms is to review the current system of donations to local council candidates, with consideration given to introducing public funding and expenditure caps to ensure ‘greater transparency and maintaining fair and competitive elections’.

Federal Labor urged to act on Palestine

The new Albanese Labor government has been encouraged to fulfil its commitment to the recognition of Palestine by joining with 138 other countries to do so within its first year of office. In a resolution sponsored by Labor Friends of Palestine, the Annerley Branch has re-iterated its support for the people of Palestine who have ‘endured 55 years under unlawful Israeli occupation and denial of their fundamental rights to self-determination’.

The strongly worded motion, adopted by Branch members, notes the ‘unrelenting settlement expansion’ on Palestinian land in stark contravention of international law, the demolition of homes, evictions and forcible transfer of Palestinian people from their homeland and the ‘legislated discriminatory policies and practices’ applied to the Palestinian people.

The adopted resolution is being conveyed to the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, and was also adopted at the recent Brisbane South Regional Members Assembly.

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