A tip from Rex in the city

Rex Ringshot, nice guy, one time solo blogger, now blogmeister for Labor First, a self styled ‘grass roots’ attempt to renew an ALP that could do with some renewing, has asked me to draw your attention to a Labor First function to launch their ‘good branch handbook’ on the 4th of August.

This doesn’t sound very inspiring, but it features Julia Gillard, Evan Thornley and Bill Shorten.

I emailed Rex to ask if one could come even if one was not a party member (as I’m not a member). He said yes and “Would it be asking to much to put a link to it from Club Troppo?”

As you can see, it was not asking too much. I’ll probably be there and would love to meet any Troppodillians there.

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Ken Parish
17 years ago

Very likely the only way to have even a snowball’s chance in hell of revitalising ALP branches would be to terminate with extreme prejudice all the factional warlords whose activities render branches and their members essentially irrelevant except as cannon fodder to hand out how to vote cards on election day (unless the membership need to be ethnically stacked to ensure election of a factional candidate ticket). Since Shorten would be quite high on the list of assassination targets under any meaningful branch revitalisation strategy (with Gillard not all that far behind), you’d have to wonder why anyone in their right mind would invite him to be a keynote speaker at such a function. Sounds likely to be a major waste of time to me, although it may depend on the quality of the drinks and nibblies (but being an ALP function I wouldn’t be too hopeful on that front either).

17 years ago

Evan Thornley? Is Rex going to invite Andrew Landeryou?

Jason Soon
17 years ago

I thought there was a rumour going around that Rex *is* Evan Thornley?

david tiley
17 years ago

Rex himself is a number one doubleplus decent bloke, and good company to boot.

17 years ago

These ideas a reasonably worthwhile. But why not just introduce ALP primaries in say 50% or 65% of winnable L.H. seats and simply remove the thirst for ALP branch stacking and the parachuting of “executive” choices in. I mean is there is anyone in the ALP who thinks Evan Thornley or Bill Shorten wouldn’t win a primary – but there are plenty “time fillers” other than those guys in the mix.

I mean really the key to the 1980’s was trust in ‘wider interests’ driving policy – the ALP must now look to same principle for reforming itself.

PS. The best thing about primaries is that you don’t have to remove the block vote!

Geoff R
17 years ago

There was a good recent article in Labor Tribune about primaries. How compatible are they with caucus solidarity are they however? In the US members of congress people vote in loose blocs. Wouldn’t a Labor primary candidate in inner Melbourne have to pledge different voting on refugee policy than one in western Sydney?

17 years ago

Read: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=159

I think it is part of a successful brand – so long as the “new” Labor or what in Australia you describe as a “centre-coalition” part of the party has overall message control: prominent members in the past being Walsh, Keating, Hawke, Dawkins, Evans, Button et al.

In todays ALP – not that any MP really has the history of policy delivery that those guys have: but one would assume – Tanner, Emerson, Latham (circa 96-99 but not after 02), etc

There is nothing wrong with the left having some “air time” and fun – so long as they don’t control or set an agenda that stiffles the ALP.

I think it is an absolute necessity for ALP success to differentiate the ALP in say North Qld from the inner city party in say Plibersek’s seat. I mean how much does the politics of Beattie have to do with the politics of Clover Moore: not much in my view. Should the ALP have to reconcile this differece or can it let it exist.

In my view – in large part – the Greens poll well in the inner city and the ALP polls badly beyond the cities into the regions, because the ALP does not differentiate and have tailored candidates.

17 years ago

Can I add – the biggest benefit of primaries is that the ALP would move beyond an “elites” (MP’s, Pollsters, etc) and sub-branch divide, whilst maintaining a link with popular grounded opinion. I mean the biggest reason to use primaries is that the extreme Left cannot infiltrate the process so long as the “centre-coalition” remains active and generates community support.

Also the backgrounds of MP’s will clearly evolve from th ecurrent method of time filling in a Senate office, move to Union duties when kids come, branch stack, hope for the best. I mean in primaries you’d be far better going to neighbourhood watch, become involved heavily your school, etc: i.e. actually have a life, perspective, and understanding beyond politics. I mean put it this way in the current ALP they wouldn’t preselect most of guys listed above (Hawke and Keating exempt – but all the Centre faction guys would miss out).

Also primaries can be a massive source of revenue and campaign innovation: just look at the way the US Dems use the internet say.

17 years ago

Interesting comments Corin. Definitely worth more contemplation on my part.