Darriea steps up
Thursday, 21st April, 2011
By John Casey
The Broken Hill branch of the Australian Labor Party has commenced the long road back from last month's State election mauling by appointing Darriea Turley as its new president.
Mrs Turley, who has forged a distinguished career in many local and state government roles, including her current position as Deputy Mayor, replaces Neville Gasmier at the helm of the BH ALP.
She is just the second woman to be appointed to the presidency after Marion Browne who held the position for some seven years during the 1980s.
A member of the local ALP branch for more than 20 years, Mrs Turley was elected as a first-time nominee for the presidency and says she is looking forward to the challenge.
"We have a very strong branch of the ALP here in Broken Hill with an amazing history but now is the time to make it even stronger by throwing open the doors to some fresh faces and new ideas," Mrs Turley said.
"We need to learn from the state election results and engage with people to get them investing in the Labor Party again.
"That includes head office in Sydney who need to understand the importance of regional areas to the party," Mrs Turley continued.
One of the first items on Mrs Turley's agenda as president will be to conduct a workshop for interested people to share their thoughts on resurrecting Labor as a political force in New South Wales.
"We need to gauge what the future holds for the party, discuss how we go about growing as a group and define what messages the community wants to hear from us," Mrs Turley said.
"Some of the feedback I have been getting is that voters want a change to the protocols in place at polling booths on election day and that is a matter I'll be putting on the agenda," she added.
Mrs Turley said she would be approaching the Electoral Commission regarding the lobbying that goes on at polling venues because it was getting out of hand.
"Most people have already decided who they are going to vote for by the time they arrive at the polling booth so they shouldn't have to run the gauntlet of all the lobbyists," Mrs Turley said.
"I believe the relevant authorities should review the procedures in place and I will be looking for bi-partisan support in this area," she added.
With a family steeped in Labor Party tradition Mrs Turley's supporters will not be surprised by her rise to the top position in Broken Hill, although she herself did not covet the role.
"I must admit to feeling disappointed when Neville said he wouldn't be running again and only then decided that it was time for me to step up," Mrs Turley said.
"Neville did a great job during his tenure which was punctuated by three election campaigns (federal, state and local) and it will be reassuring to know he will be working away in the background for the betterment of the party."
Mr Gasmier said after three years as president it was time for him to take a step back.
"I'd like to think that I have had an impact during my time," Mr Gasmier said.
"The election results might not reflect too much success but I am more than happy with what I have achieved.
"But for the branch to move forward it is time for some new blood to promote a fresh enthusiasm and direction for the party," Mr Gasmier added.
"I will continue to support Darriea and given her previous performances I have no doubt she will be successful in the position."
Mrs Turley, who was nominated as New South Wales Woman of the Year in 2008, will also be able to call on a very stable executive group with Shorty Reville (senior vice-president), Les McQuillan (junior vice-president), Marion Browne (secretary) and John Harris (treasurer) all re-elected at Sunday's annual general meeting.