australian labor party

Australian Labor in its Death Throes

The last post here was how Australian Labor was in serious trouble. The very next day it gets far worse. Labor relies on Union money to fight it’s elections but it appears this will dry up. The in fighting is really something out of a science fiction novel. No we are not making this up. This is a text book case why we say party politics has failed. The unions are clearly saying we run the Labor Party.

WA Labor Party conference dramas continue, as union members refuse to stand for Anthony Albanese

Anthony Albanese and Mark McGowan side-by-side in a victory pose.PHOTO: Anthony Albanese and Mark McGowan at the end of the federal leader’s keynote address. (ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)

Tensions have again flared at the WA Labor conference, a day after the party was embarrassed by a walk-out and heckling and booing of senior office holders.

Key points:

  • Members of two unions refused to stand for Anthony Albanese after his conference speech
  • Mr Albanese has been trying to have Victorian union boss John Setka expelled from the party
  • Tensions also erupted over the Government’s plans to build a new port in Kwinana

Drama over the party’s position on the Fremantle Port and heavy criticism of the McGowan Government’s policies followed a mixed reaction to the keynote speech by Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.

Members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and the Maritime Union of Australia pointedly refused to join in a standing ovation for Mr Albanese, amid tension over the leader’s push to expel Victorian union boss John Setka from the party.

But Mr Albanese avoided a repeat of the first day of the WA party conference, when party members walked out during a Welcome to Country ceremony and boycotted a speech by Premier Mark McGowan.

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But tensions did erupt later on Sunday over the State Government’s plans to build a new port in Kwinana, with powerful unions pushing to guarantee Fremantle Port’s life for another two decades by extending existing leases for the facility.

That vote was defeated after a painstaking process lasting more than two hours, with the McGowan Government narrowly avoiding an embarrassing blow.

But divisions were still laid bare, with two state Labor MPs seen voting for a motion at odds with a key Government policy.

‘We are not bigots, we are not bullies’: union

Maritime Union boss Christy Cain also claimed 8,000 families would be left “on the scrapheap” if the Fremantle Port was replaced by a new Kwinana facility, angrily rebuking critics within the party.

“We are not racists, we are not bigots, we are not bullies,” Mr Cain said.

“We are trade unionists standing up for what is right … stand up for Fremantle Port.”

But those comments earned an angry rebuke from Energy Minister Bill Johnston.

“I am not going to be lectured [to] by anyone about whether I am a true trade unionist or not,” Mr Johnston said.

“This is not the way we play this game.”

Who is John Setka?

Who is John Setka?
He is arguably the most famous union official in the country, and yet John Setka’s refusal to step down from his role is creating woes for federal Labor and the broader union movement.

Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan warned that the Government would likely face action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission if it followed through on the union demands.

Earlier, Mr Albanese used most of his speech to criticise the Federal Government’s record.

He briefly touched on his party’s failure in the May election, in which it lost nationally and failed to pick up an extra seat in WA, despite pouring significant effort into the state.

“As much as we were disappointed, I am gaining effort from the determination to lift Federal Labor’s vote in WA,” Mr Albanese said.

“If we can persuade Western Australia to send more Labor members to Canberra at the next election, then we can govern for all Australians.”

Anthony Albanese delivering his keynote speech at the conference.PHOTO: There was a mixed reaction to Anthony Albanese’s keynote speech. (ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)

Mr Albanese repeatedly praised the performance of the McGowan Government, saying he would play a role in helping its re-election effort.

“You will be seeing a lot of me in the meantime,” he said.

‘You wipe the blood off and get on with the job’

WA Labor frontbencher Mick Murray reiterated his party’s apology to those who had been performing the Welcome to Country, but played down suggestions the incident represented serious disunity.

“State conferences are a bit like a boxing ring, you get in there and have a bit of a stoush, you come out and win or lose you wipe the blood off and get on with the job,” he said.

“Let’s face it, it’s like a big family, and not all Christmas dinners go well.

“But again, I think the timing was very poor and I think the people on stage deserve an apology.”

Delegates seated at the WA ALP conference in Perth.PHOTO: There was a bigger audience for Mr Albanese’s speech, than for the Premier’s address the previous day.

Elect one clown and you will get the whole circus

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