Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten has claimed a mandate for sweeping changes that will allow people to join the ALP without being union members.
Shorten today detailed his party reform plans, including opening up the party to non-union members and loosening ties to the union movement.
Shorten also wants to see more primary-style community pre-selections and a more representative ALP national conference.
Ahead of his Melbourne speech, Shorten said it was time Labor modernised its relationship with the unions.
The ALP needed to be a “membership-based party not a faction-based party” if it was to be competitive.
“We need to give real power to our members … we need to make sure that the best possible candidates are encouraged,” Shorten told Seven Network.
“We need to reach out to people from small business, from regional towns, from all walks of life.”
Asked if he had the support of the unions, Shorten said he had discussed the proposed changes “with a range of people”.
“I’m the leader of the Labor party,” he said.
“I believe that as the first leader elected by (party members) that I do have a mandate for change.”
SHORTEN’S PLANS TO MODERNISE THE ALP
- More than double membership to 100,000
- Launch “one-click” online joining
- Establish low cost, uniform national membership fees
- Allow non-union members to join the party
- Increase the say of branch members in local preselection contests
- Hold primary-style community preselections in non-held seats
- Investigate ways to give members a greater say in Senate preselections
- Open the party’s national conference to members
WHAT SHORTEN SAID:
“Today is a day for facing up to some hard truths.”
“Tony Abbott did not put Labor in opposition – the Australian people put us here. And unless we change, it is where we will stay.”
“If we are truly serious about modernising the Labor Party, we need to modernise our relationship with the union movement.”
“This change makes it plain that in 2014 Labor is not the political arm of anything but the Australian people.”
“If we are to renew and rebuild the Labor party, we must rebuild as a membership-based party, not a faction-based one.”
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