The NSW Left is leading the campaign for better governance in NSW Labor. We have always fought for democracy, transparency and accountability inside the party office and an open approach that gives members and affiliated unions confidence in our operations.
The NSW Labor Review Tribunal recently exposed serious irregularities in the way some membership and governance issues are managed, including in the 2013 Federal Leadership Ballot.
These issues reflect the serious need for review and improvement in the way NSW Labor is administered.
Assistant General Secretary John Graham and AMWU NSW Secretary Tim Ayres wrote to the General Secretary demanding a full investigation and report into these issues.
The Administrative Committee met on 10 April morning and discussed this important issue. The General Secretary has subsequently issued the statement below in response to the letters and the discussion at the meeting.
STATEMENT BY JAMIE CLEMENTS - GENERAL SECRETARY NSW LABOR
On 5 February 2015, the Review Tribunal of the NSW Branch of the Australian Labor Party handed down its decision in the matter of Hicham Zraika. The Review Tribunal deliberated on this matter for several months, requested voluminous documentary material and cross examined a number of witnesses.
As a result of that matter, the Review Tribunal decided to suspend Mr Zraika's Party membership for a period of six months. The reasons for that decision include findings in relation to allegations about changes to the postal addresses of a significant number of members of Mr Zraika's Branch.
I regard the fact that 73 of the 124 changes to Branch member postal addresses in the lead up to the Federal Leadership Election occurred in the electorate of Auburn, as a serious matter.
The Chair of the Review Tribunal, the Hon Greg James AM QC, has today confirmed that nothing was disclosed during the course of the Review Tribunal’s deliberations which would suggest that the election of Mr Shorten as Leader of the Labor Party was flawed or that there was any prospect that any further enquiry would produce any such suggestion.
The Administrative Committee agrees with that finding.
In today adopting the findings of the Review Tribunal in this matter, the Administrative Committee has agreed to implement the recommendations made regarding the future conduct of address changes in full. This includes, inter alia, a transparent process for change of addresses for party members that requires a request in writing and clear consent from the member whose address is being changed, as well as a report of all address changes made to the monthly Administrative Committee meeting. The implementation of these recommendations and these findings will be overseen by the Independent Directors of the Administrative Committee.
Theses are significant measures which will ensure that future changes to branch member postal addresses will be beyond the manipulation of any individual.
I will also grant equal access to the NSW Branch membership system to the Left Wing Assistant Secretary and write to the NSW Electoral Commission to seek advice on the capacity and cost implications of handing the administration of future leader ballots over to that body.