Open Letter To Jamie Clements: Reforming Young Labor


Dear Jamie,

I write today to ask for your support for the democratisation of NSW Young Labor.

The political culture that is fostered in the youth wing of the Party will be a strong indicator of the future fortunes and political culture of NSW Labor.

I am deeply concerned that NSW Young Labor has been left out of the Party reform debate.

NSW Young Labor is currently the only state or territory branch in the entire country that does not allow its members to directly elect its executive and office bearers (see Table 1). 

NSW Young Labor is a member-based organisation where general members are removed from the decisions and governance of the organisation.

In a context where NSW Labor is opening its doors to introduce democratic reforms like the community preselections we have seen in Newtown, Campbelltown and Balmain, now is the perfect opportunity to implement ‘one member, one vote’, and open NSW Young Labor’s doors.

The leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party and the National President are directly elected by Party members, and NSW will move to this model at this year’s Annual Conference. It follows that there is now a strong case for Young Labor to follow suit. I want to see the direct election of the NSW Young Labor President and Secretary by all NSW Labor members under 26.

The Party can no longer sit back and allow NSW Young Labor to be exempt from democratisation. It must change.

If we want to truly reform NSW Labor, we must reform NSW Young Labor and its culture.

Direct Election of the President and Secretary will:

  1. Create a participatory and activist culture
  2. Attract and promote talented activists
  3. Allow long term engagement of young members of the party

I request that the enclosed proposal be given due consideration.

This will allow for candidates for President and Secretary to present a campaigning agenda, ideas and vision to the greater mass of members of NSWYL. The victor would then have a strong mandate to lead the organisation.

Engaging every member under 26 with a vote will truly strengthen both the organisation and the broader movement. It will also draw a line in the sand, allowing NSW Labor to walk away from an undemocratic legacy of a gerrymandered Young Labor.

I have today written to the President of NSW Young Labor, Jessica Malnersic, informing her of the enclosed proposed changes and requesting the opportunity to meet and develop a joint reform agenda.

Through this structural change we can continue to shape a new culture for the NSW Labor Party.

Yours in Labor,

Callum Drake

Junior Vice President

NSW Young Labor



Table 1. Election methods: Young Labor Australia - States and Territories.






Participation Test



Executive Ballot

Executive Members only



One Member One Vote

Postal Ballot

All YL Members

Financial for 6 months and attendance at 2 official meetings of party units in two years.


One Member One Vote

Postal Ballot

All YL Members

6 months membership plus a member of a QLD Labor Branch


One Member One Vote

AGM Ballot/Postal vote for rural and regions

All YL Members

Must preregister for AGM


One Member One Vote

AGM Ballot

All YL Members

Member at close of roll


One Member One Vote

AGM Ballot

All YL Members

Member of ACT Sub-branch, 3 months and attended an ACT Young Labor Meeting


One Member One Vote

AGM Ballot

All YL Members

Member at close of rolls