Articles on Party reform

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The ALP’s national conference, held in Melbourne over the weekend, was Bill Shorten’s first as Labor leader. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

ALP national conference: experts respond

The Conversation’s experts respond to the ALP national conference on matters of asylum seekers, health, education, party reform and more.
The problem confronting Labor and federal leader Bill Shorten is not so much the ties with unions as the centralisation of power in the party and a handful of affiliated unions. AAP/Lukas Coch

Labor will be making a mistake if it simply divorces the unions

Proposed reforms in the Australian Labor Party aim to give members a greater voice in party governance and policy development. This is driven by the need to reverse the party’s shrinking support base after…
Gough Whitlam took principled revisionism to the very top of Labor politics. AAP/Sergio Dionisio

Whitlam’s hard fight for reform holds lessons for Labor today

There was nothing inevitable about Gough Whitlam’s rise to the top. He had to fight every inch of the way. The fight was not only against born-to-rule Liberals who thought he had betrayed his class but…
It seems things are not yet bad enough in the Labor Party to make significant reform, such as John Faulkner’s proposed changes to preselection, likely. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Faulkner’s reforms will fail as NSW Labor refuses to change

Labor senator John Faulkner does not anticipate that his moves to reform the party’s preselection processes will succeed at this weekend’s NSW State Conference. Faulkner is hoping to have the rules changed…
Bill Shorten’s objective of an ‘inclusive’ Labor Party is hard to argue against in theory, but achieving it in practice is likely to prove fraught. AAP/Julian Smith

Shorten, the unions and the challenge of Labor Party reform

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten has outlined his vision for a rejuvenated Labor Party. His speech earlier this week was a call to arms for the reform of federal Labor’s organisational rules. While Shorten’s…
Labor senator John Faulkner is one leading voice to call for reform of the party in response to recent poor electoral performances. AAP/Alan Porritt

Careful what you wish for: the pitfalls of internal party reform

In the wake of the ALP’s poor result in the recent Western Australia Senate election, The Conversation is publishing a series of articles looking at the party’s brand, organisation and future prospects…
Bill Shorten is the new ALP leader, after an election contest where the votes of the rank and file party members were included for the first time. AAP/Lukas Coch

Shorten wins, but the ALP plays it safe with democracy

So the election between two middle-aged, middle class, white men with broadly shared policy agendas is over. In this case, it is not the federal election between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, but the month-long…
New Zealand’s new Labour leader David Cunliffe has been elected in a process involving direct voting by the party membership. NZN/Laura McQuillan

Albo and Shorten should look to New Zealand for primary guidance

While Australia’s Labor Party is digesting a significant electoral defeat, the New Zealand Labour Party, in opposition since 2008, has gone through another leadership change and is positioning itself to…
Reform of the ALP has been raised by several key figures such as former leader Mark Latham, and implemented in some form by current prime minister Kevin Rudd. AAP/Alan Porritt

Arguments against party reform: heeding lessons from 1832

In his recent Quarterly Essay, Mark Latham compared Labor parliamentary representation to the rotten boroughs of the 18th century. Though union membership has fallen away, suggested Latham, union officials…
The new and improved Kevin Rudd wants to change the way Labor elects its leaders. But is his proposed method democratic? AAP/Image News Corp Australia Pool/Gary Ramage

The Rudd reforms: are they democratic?

On Monday, prime minister Kevin Rudd announced a series of proposals to change the way the Australian Labor Party selects its parliamentary leader. Under his proposal, incumbents can only be challenged…
Prime minister Kevin Rudd has announced reform to the workings of the ALP, including that the parliamentary leader will be jointly elected by rank-and-file and caucus members. AAP/Lukas Coch

Is this Kevin Rudd’s ‘New Labor’ party?

Public servants often complain that when their ministers go on holiday, they usually return with a rag bag of new policy ideas. Since regaining the ALP leadership, Kevin Rudd has a three year backlog of…
Kevin Rudd wants to reform the NSW branch of the ALP. But will he be successful? AAP/Alan Porrit

Can Rudd reform NSW Labor? And will it save him?

Prime minister Kevin Rudd is seeking to improve his chances of re-election by reforming the troubled New South Wales branch…
Former Premier Geoff Gallop helped reform the Western Australian Labor Party. But can it be done federally? AAP/Alan Porritt

Gallop: ALP reform is a must for social democracy

There are always two challenges that face a political party operating in a democratic system such as ours – public trust and public policy. When I was elected leader of the Western Australian Parliamentary…

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