FACTION FRICTION: Labor Unity meeting unanimously endorses Shorten peace plan // Patriots take first steps to Right reconciliation

UNITY There’s a reason why worshippers pray and sing together, Amway salesfolk meet up and political types rally, when done well it can be very good for morale.

Last night’s Labor Unity members’ meeting at the Australian Workers Union HQ was such an experience for many of those attending it. There were at least three hundred people there, crammed in to the busy meeting hall, with so many that several dozen spilled out into the street. On the verge of a long weekend, it was an astonishing attendance and an amazing vindication of Bill Shorten’s leadership.

Many who were confused, left enlightened. Many who were uncertain left confident with the frank explanations and clear sense of direction. Many who’d felt left right out of all the action suddenly felt included and part of something bigger than themselves.

It was an important moment. A self-affirming one of the kind some seek in footy cheer squads, churches and May Day marches.

Some three hundred Labor Unity patriots crammed into their meeting room, there was applause, some great speeches, a lot of explaining of the recently concluded arrangements over preselections and – amazingly enough – unanimous support for the faction’s leadership.

Long-time Labor Unity members like inner-city numbers-man and former Melbourne Mayoral candidate Ray Collins asked tough questions about the recently announced preselection peace deal and the current internal crisis within the Victorian Labor Right. They were given straight-shooting responses.

Melbourne Ports federal MP Michael Danby dressed in matching purple garb with Corio comrade Richard Marles spoke up on behalf of “the purple faction”, endorsed the deal that he said delivered stability. He explained with many nodding enthusiastically that he was no friend of the Socialist Left but he thoroughly endorsed a global deal that resolved preselection fights before they started. He and others also made the point they felt very little enthusiasm for the prospect of being in a different group from their dear friend Senator David Feeney, a brother patriot who had gone into battle shoulder-to-shoulder with so many of them so many times.

The strong sentiment supporting Bill Shorten – unanimous support – was matched by an equally strong desire not to tear Labor Unity asunder, if it can be avoided.

Patriots say Shorten spoke particularly well and singled out popular ALP State Secretary Steve Newnham for high praise. He spoke of his courage and strong performance. Labor Unity members responded with a long and loud round of applause reflecting their support for him and also their pent-up fury at those who threatened to punish him for the supposed crime of being in the wrong sub-group.

Motions passed by the members were deliberately cast in the most moderate and peace-friendly language to show that while they were firmly resolved in their action that the door was open to reconciliation within the divided Right.

At midday today, the start of the reconciliation process occurred when negotiators from the disputants convened to attempt to resolve the issues.

Sources told VEXNEWS the discussions were positive, with the three participants Shorten, Feeney and Richardson at their diplomatic and constructive best. One source said “We are on track to sorting out a resolution.”

Some believe a steering committee that would operate on consensus grounds could unite the divided Right into one big happy Labor Unity of clipboards, count-sheets and Kumbayah. (And in saluting our SDA friends, we’d also add cardigans, once but no longer a regular feature of every SDA official’s wardrobe)

We certainly hope so because The Age’s celebration of the faction’s action and lavish praise for Labor Unity’s convenor Bill Shorten is starting to spook us. Even left-wing blog Crikey has lavished praise upon him. “Does this mean we’ve done something wrong?” one patriot asked us, seeking reassurance about their righteous cause. It doesn’t necessarily meant that but it’s certainly useful and helpful to ponder the joy some in the SL feel about a divided Right.

It’s worth thinking about it carefully. It’s worth reflecting on some of the vile invective poured out in our VEXNEWS comments section, from people our technical investigation has revealed to be from computers that have previously posted pro-Left or strongly anti-moderate comments here. They have regularly masquerading as feuding moderates here in past days. Some of them were immediately deleted, some were sinister in the extreme, racist, homophobic and in other ways very ugly. It’s not nice to think people who write such things are playing such an active role in public affairs, whether it be in the Left or wherever.

All of them were clearly designed to fuel the raging bushfire many believe was sparked by a group of incompetent buffoons in the Premier’s office who ought to have left well enough alone.

We didn’t start the fire, insists all corners of the Labor Unity globe. And when they look around to blame folks, many point to the squat tower of power at 1 Treasury Place where the personal ambitions of several people – in our view – conflicted with their duty to their Premier, the party and the government they are paid well to serve. It was a shameful episode, made all the more outrageous when you ponder how little many of them seem to understand about what they were messing with. Not-so-clever media management advice given by some know-alls to the plotters against State Secretary Newnham. They were as wrong as they were certain.

It’s always nice to be able to find the arsonist who lit the devastating fire. This was a more complicated situation than that of course, but the colours of VEXNEWS are black and white for good reason. We seek the comfort of simple explanations. We not unreasonably blamed Party President NUW boss Charlie Donnelly for calling on the crazy Admin Committee meeting a few days before Christmas but possibly by giving him the boot as we did made matters worse. The truth is clearer now. Initially at least, Donnelly was doing what he thought he was being asked to do by people he presumed to be responsible and competent in positions of authority. It rapidly descended from there in a way that reflected no credit on anyone involved. It was the wrong thing done for the wrong reasons at the wrong time. It was the first significant thing done by the NUW since they returned to the Labor Unity fold. It was not a good start. Whether progress can be made beyond that we’ll see soon enough. Many of the senior players on all sides VEXNEWS that – with patience and goodwill – it could well happen.

For the NUW, who are growing increasingly despondent about the always unrealistic prospect of splitting militant SL unions from the SL, it might be their only hope to avoid ten years of the isolation and desolation they had thought they had finally left behind.

In other news, the vacancy in Southern Metro created by the departure of the arguably corrupt Evan Thornley’s big butt from the red velvet of LegCo will be filled soon. Noms close at 5pm today.

So far, Labor moderates Marcie Pinskier, Jenny Huppert, Julia Mason, Dick Gross and Steve Perryman have nominated. All strong candidates in their way with not one of them likely to implode in the manner now known as “doing a Thornley.” We believe the most likely candidate will be female to help deal with the gender imbalance in the Labor caucus and will almost certainly be a local with strong ties to her local community.

UPDATE: 

Dear Labor Unity Member,

If you were unable to attend last nights meeting at the AWU, we have included below the motions that were discussed.

As reported in the newspaper today, over 300 rank and file Labor Unity members were in attendance. All motions listed below were passed unanimously and without amendment.

The atmosphere was one of genuine engagement about why the agreement was necessary, the details of the agreement between Labor Unity and the Socialist Left, and the way forward for the Group.

We have also attached a document by Race Mathews that he has requested be circulated in response to recent events within the party.

We sincerely wish you all a Happy Australia day weekend.

Yours in Unity

Bill Shorten, LU Convenor
Noah Carroll, LU Secretary

Motion 1

That this meeting supports the agreement that has been reached in the name of Labor Unity to provide stability to the Party.

Moved: Cesar Melhem     Seconded: Wayne Mader           Passed Unanimously

Motion 2

This meeting is concerned at events that have occurred over recent months that have demonstrated an inability for Labor Unity to work in the spirit of consensus and in the best interests of Labor Unity and the Party.

In particular, we acknowledge the support given to the petition that expressed no confidence in the current Labor Unity Executive.

We are also concerned by recent media speculation that has been damaging to the Labor Party, and that has put individual self-interest ahead of the important task of maintaining Labor Governments.

We realise that in the current circumstances it will take effort on behalf of many to get Labor Unity back to a trusting consensus model of decision making. In order to achieve the aim of returning to one united Labor Unity, this meeting resolves to establish a steering committee whose responsibility will be to:

(a)     Establish the process and structures by which we will operate and bring these recommendations back to this group for endorsement.
(b)     Commence negotiations with the NUW/SDA/HSUA to establish the means to bring the two groups back together.
(c)     The steering committee will consist of:

1 representative each from the AWU, TWU and ASU
•       6 representatives from the rank and file
•       2 State Parliamentary Representatives
•       2 Federal Parliamentary Representatives
•       Young Labor Unity President
•       Factional Convenor and Secretary

Moved: Richard Marles   Seconded: Michael Danby         Passed Unanimously

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25 Comments

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25 responses to “FACTION FRICTION: Labor Unity meeting unanimously endorses Shorten peace plan // Patriots take first steps to Right reconciliation

  1. Foot in both camps

    Strong rumours that Steve Perryman (editor of the Higgins Voice and slayer of Andersonite dragons)is being supported by elements of the SDA and AWU? A small sign of hope for future reconciliation.

  2. Anonymous

    Until Ports AWU friends insist on Marcia Pinskier or Jenny Huppert. We’ve had one dilettante Southern Metro MLC already, that’s enough thanks.

  3. confusede

    but the big question is: when does lisa carey pack up her office and haed back to little timmy’s.

  4. Astounded of Melbourne

    “buffoons in the Premier’s office”

    name them…

  5. Anonymous

    Is Garth Head still making his speech?

  6. Daffyd

    America has its first black President. This is a timely opportunity for Labor’s National Executive to select a pink candidate for our community. Or are we to be left to the Greens.

  7. Anonymous

    Garth still talking?

  8. Anonymous

    5. Party Reform and Party Rules 5.1 The SL and LU will support mechanisms to ensure that a workable and democratic process for the Legislative Council preselections is put in place.

    Definition =no local plebisite

  9. Madam Lash

    Fair is foul and foul is fair.

    All those involved do not have the right to circumvent the democratic processes enshrined in the ALP rules.

    Protecting sitting members is a moveable feast depending on who is running the numbers.

  10. Anonymous

    The group assembled last night was not Labor Unity, it was a renegade rump. Labor Unity continues without these traitors.

  11. Feeney's A Coward

    Rump? Yeah, like Feeney & Co could have got 300 people to a meeting? Why didn’t the ball of blubber fight back. Because he knows he would have been held to account, that’s why!

  12. Anonymous

    Garth Head ate a horse, hence his girth.

  13. Delusional

    The so called Labor Unity meeting was a fake. There were only about 120 people there and anyone who would oppose the deal was excluded. Keeping repeating the lie doesn’t make it true.

  14. confused

    see ya lisa, your time at head office is up…show a tiny little bit of pride and get a job elsewhere… one that rewards incompetence…

  15. Garth Head

    I have just finished my speech to a now empty AWU boardoom on the need for unity of bread crumbs, egg yolk, and chicken breast. I move from the floor that I be allowed to break open the emergency Schnitzel case.

  16. Sumo

    Garth Head and David Feeney should settle their differences with a wrestling match.

  17. stephen newman: what the f*ck?

    KEVIN Rudd and John Brumby face the prospect of renewed instability in the Victorian ALP in the lead-up to next year’s federal and state elections, after left-wing unions pledged not to accept a party “peace” deal.A broad coalition of left-wing union leaders yesterday passed a resolution saying they “do not accept the so-called stability agreement” struck at a meeting in Melbourne last week between leaders of the Right and the Socialist Left.Some of the most powerful Left unions will now negotiate with key right-wing unions that were excluded from last week’s agreement, on the prospect of a counter deal.This opens up the possibility that the Victorian party could realign around two competing new “factions”, each containing elements of the old Right and the old Left, during this year’s preselections for the next federal and state elections.But backers of the deal last night said they remained supremely confident it would “stick” and that several of the left-wing unions would ultimately be seen to be “on board”.Proponents of last week’s deal — negotiated by federal MPs Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy from the Right and Kim Carr and Alan Griffin of the Left — said it had the support of 70 per cent of the party, including Premier John Brumby and the most senior federal Labor MP from Victoria, Julia Gillard.The proponents said that by mapping out a “global agreement” between Right and Left leaders on preselections, the deal offered the best chance of internal stability as Mr Rudd and Mr Brumby try to win the elections in the face of the economic downturn and rising unemployment.But opponents of the deal from both major factions said it had been “blown open” by yesterday’s resolution of the Left unions, arguing that the agreement was now backed by only about half the party.Some opponents said a counter deal would be pursued until the federal figures behind last week’s agreement gave ground to the dissidents.Yesterday’s meeting of left-wing unions was held at the Carlton South office of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and included leaders of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the Australian Services Union, the Electrical Trades Union, the Maritime Union of Australia, the United Firefighters Union and the textiles, clothing and footwear union.Sources said the Left union leaders wanted to send a strong message to the backers of the so-called peace deal that their support should not be taken for granted.”The deal’s proponents were trying to construct a sense of inevitability around it,” a union leader said.”They were holding it out as a ‘stability agreement’, suggesting anyone who didn’t like it was obviously ‘anti-stability’.”It’s a cute piece of political positioning but, really, it’s amateur-hour stuff.”Sources said the AMWU and the CFMEU were now expected to talk with a range of other key bodies in the party, including the leading right-wing opponents of the “peace deal”, the National Union of Workers (headed by Victorian Labor president Charlie Donnelly) and the shop assistants union

  18. Madam Lash

    Thank you CFMEU, ASU, MUA, UFU and TCU. At least there are some in the ALP who understand the meaning of democracy and consultation. Proponents of the new deal are only protecting their own skins and trying to sell it as “stabilty”. They must think ALP members are morons.

  19. Madam Lash

    *stability

  20. moses' concubine

    Despite all the excitement, the fact is unavoidable. The people of Victoria await 2010 with baseball bats. Brumby is drowning.

  21. Oracle

    Failure to get rid of dead wood by facilitatiing their rights to MP super ( they are 3 days short of next state election) is a win win. Many of the affected sitting MPs want to go, but need to come back to qualify. Give it to them JC and renew the party so you can be Premier again for the nexy 2 terms!

  22. Oracle

    Ie currently there is a failing, but we need to facilitate their rights…oops.

  23. south aus

    message to bill shorten get donnelly out of the alp before he stuffs it like he stuffed our union

  24. tHE jOKER

    To try to get Donnelly to stop stuffing things up is like asking the sun not to rise in the east.

    Donnelly is a pathological stuff-uper. His enormous ability to f*ck all he touches should be examined by scientists. It is a mutant ability.

    Check out what he’s currently trying to do to his own union. He is too busy digging a grave for his career he can’t hear his own members’ protests.

    Why, I almost feel sorry for him….almost.

  25. anan kofi

    Life is difficult for people who don’t understand what is happening.
    Need to remember that the networkers have caused splits, disruption & disunity wherever they go. I say send them packing!!!!

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