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Left launches push to reform ALP

Saturday, 8th October, 2011

 CANBERRA - Labor’s left will open a campaign this weekend to give grassroots members a greater say in the party, as speculation continues over the federal leadership.

 The Labor Renewal launches in six states and territories come as Victorian MP and former veterans affairs minister Alan Griffin and WA senator Mark Bishop were named as being behind a bid to get Kevin Rudd back in the prime minister’s job.

 The Victorian ALP meets this weekend with a debate expected on gay marriage, ahead of December’s Labor national conference which will look at changing the party’s position on the issue.

 Labor Renewal national convenor Darcy Byrne said members wanted action at the national conference on some of the changes recommended in the review of the party by Labor stalwarts John Faulkner, Bob Carr and Steve Bracks.

 These included greater involvement of members in the election of officials, policy development and candidate selection.

 “We are optimistic about Labor’s future, but we know real reform will only be achieved if members force change from below,” Mr Byrne said.

 A number of candidates for the ALP national presidency have backed the reform plan in letters to members.

 Current president Jenny McAllister said in her letter that members were frustrated that their role in Labor was “withering away”.

 “We can allow Labor’s membership to continue to decline, and accept our transformation into a parliamentary party dominated by a professional political leadership,” the Sydney member wrote.

 “Or we can act to revitalise ourselves - to grow our party through adopting reforms to strengthen democracy, renew our values, and enhance member participation.” – AAP

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