I left the comment below on a post by Michelle Grattan at The Conversation: Factional chiefs triumph – again regarding the abuse of ALP National Executive by factions to prevent the membership voting on State Upper House preselections for the November 2014 Victorian elections. Grattan argues that:
It’s another triumph for Labor’s faceless men - another indication that, for all the talk of making the party more democratic, you can’t keep the factional chiefs down.
The cost of this exercise in factional muscle is anger and disillusionment among those grass roots members who thought the move to give the rank and file a say in electing the national leader might be the start of a new way of doing things. Silly them.
Michelle is on the money. My somewhat restrained response:
The National Executive are not the 'faceless men' of the old days. At least ten of them are Federal or State MPs including Bill Shorten, Anthony Albanese, Kim Carr and Stephen Conroy. Others are often in the news such as the Shop Assistant's Joe de Bruyn.
It seems that party democratisation is always just around the corner. It is a joke to be promoting community campaigning with local candidates and at the same time reverting to the worst of factional politics that goes in the opposite direction.
The dropping of charges against Victorian MP Geoff Shaw enabled a win-win situation. No anger, no losing face. Smiles all round.
The National Executive could have given us a new start - they fell at the first hurdle!
Being a life member, like many in our ageing party, I feel like it's a life sentence! However, there is something to offer new members and those thinking of joining us. It is the chance to get rid of self-interested factional hacks across the party. We're not going away. If they're not part of the solution, then we're coming for them!
Watch this space or send this to @billshortenmp and friends.