NSW Labor: new leader, still stinks

January 16, 2015
Foley voted against equal marriage in November 2013, when the vote was lost by just 1 vote.

NSW Labor has anointed a new leader less than three months before the state election in March. With the ALP trailing Mike Baird's Coalition government in the polls, it must have calculated that it has nothing to lose by dumping former leader John Robertson.

On January 5, the ALP caucus rubber stamped Luke Foley from the “left” faction with the support of the “right” faction. Foley, the ALP leader in the NSW upper house, voted against equal marriage in November 2013, when the vote was lost by just one vote.

Foley is a former secretary of the NSW and ACT Australian Services Union and a former assistant general secretary of NSW Labor. He was parachuted into the NSW upper house to replace ICAC-disgraced ALP MP Ian Macdonald.

Initially, Michael Daley from the right faction said he would challenge for the leadership. But he and other mooted candidates withdrew, which is concerning for some in the ALP.

Peter Wicks, who blogs as Wixxyleaks, is angry with this process and the people who still wield such power inside the party.

Wicks said that ALP sources told him that Noreen Hay, the disgraced Illawarra MP and leader of the Labor Unity faction, has done a deal with the NSW ALP general secretary Jamie Clements, of the same faction, to ensure that Foley gets the top job.

Hay was found to be not corrupt by ICAC in 2008. But she was found to have lobbied Illawarra councillors on behalf of developers and her 2007 election campaign space was provided rent free by developer Frank Vellar. ICAC found that Vellar had engaged in “serious corrupt conduct” with council planners.

Hay was pre-selected last month with 80 to 35 votes in what some have described as a rigged ballot. More than a dozen people were turned away from the ballot, including South Coast Unions NSW secretary Arthur Rorris, after they were told they were not financial.

Another dubious aspect of this leadership deal is that an alleged branch stacker, Hicham Zraika, in Auburn, looks like being rewarded for services rendered with a seat in the upper house.

The Upper-House pre-selection is being challenged by former Auburn MP Barbara Perry,who gifted her seat to Foley following his election as leader. The challenge is now before the ALP’s Independent Appeals process. The allegation is that Zraika stacked the vote, with the support of Clements and Laurie Ferguson.

Whether the rumours are correct or not, the whole sorry saga of a no-contest “election” for the leadership or, alternatively, branch stacking when there is a contest, is a reminder that the NSW ALP remains far from democratic and does not deserve to be trusted once again.

If these displays of arrogance are not enough, Labor’s support for the same neo-liberal cut-backs and privatisations in government — albeit at a different pace to the Coalition — is further proof that it is just Another Liberal Party.

It's time to build a class-conscious alternative to the ALP.

[Pip Hinman is running for the Socialist Alliance on the Legislative Council ticket in the March state elections.]

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Herein is the result of years of right wing conservatives getting into the controlling jobs within unions. These people have in turn put up their bastards at the whim of traitorous scum like Laurie Ferguson and Mark Arbib. Sussex street is hated by the Labor R&F and Labor Unity is a disease the require R&F operations to remove Scream loud and long and never STFU about this scum that`s killing LABOR

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