ALP Conference is always an exercise in theatre. The jokes are bad, the speeches loud, but we in the left always hope that our points will cut through.
Members of the left, rank and file and union, gave outstanding speeches on the floor on day one, on a range of crucial issues.
Left members gave strong and thoughtful contributions during the reform debate, even though we disagreed on some points.
Notably, Young Labor activist Callam Drake gave an impassioned plea for democracy within Young Labor, pointing out that NSW was the only state where Young Labor members couldn’t vote for their leaders in a direct ballot.
We heard left members take up the debate on Israel-Palestine, when Centre Unity finally decided to adopt the position that the Left has been advocating for years.
It wasn’t until 5pm that we got around to the crucial state policy issue of the Liberals’ cuts to women’s shelters and homelessness services, seven hours after conference began.
Left activists including Penny Sharpe and Verity Firth gave impassioned speeches on the importance of saving women’s refuges.
Secretary of the Left Rose Jackson joined the reform debate with a powerful speech on the role of women in the party, and in defence of Affirmative Action.
We look forward to Sunday, when the Left will take up the fight on economic issues, marriage equality, refugees, jobs and in the Country Labor debate, just to name a few.