ALP moves to democratise it’s leadership selection

From the SMH

ALP branch leaders from across the state have called for the party’s rank and file to be involved in the direct election of the next parliamentary leader of the NSW Labor Party.

A statement signed by branch secretaries, presidents and councillors calls on the state Labor conference, to be held in July, to investigate the benefits of opening up ballots for the NSW parliamentary leadership to rank-and-file members.

It represents a groundswell of support from Labor’s grassroots for a more democratic process of electing party leaders. It is also a bid to rebuild flagging membership numbers.

The statement says social democratic parties overseas have demonstrated that giving party members a role in deciding the parliamentary leader can drive significant membership growth. The New Democratic Party of Canada has reportedly boosted its membership by 50 per cent.

Sounds like the NDP delegation to last year’s ALP conference made a strong impact! They shouldn’t forget however, that many of the NDP’s new members come from newly established branches in Quebec, where they previously had virtually no presence, but still managed to win 59 of the 75 seats at the 2011 election.

We still don’t want to flog our farms off overseas…

Unsurprisingly, most New Zealanders still don’t want to sell our farms off overseas

A survey by pollsters UMR shows 70 per cent of Kiwis opposed the sale of the nearly 8000 hectare farming estate to overseas investors – regardless of nationality.

Good to hear that it’s not anti-Chinese sentiment.

…almost 90 per cent of those polled were aware of the Crafar farms sale and 70 per cent did not want a sale to foreigners.

That’s pretty conclusive!

Friday entertainment: 1991 NSW ads

As sad as it is, I really do enjoy a good political ad.

Yesterday Bruce Hawker treated geeks like me with a post full of ads from the Labor New South Wales campaign in 1991. In his words…

With Bob Carr again in the news as the new Senator for NSW and Australia’s Foreign Minister I thought it would be interesting to look at some of his 1991 NSW election ads.

In this campaign Carr took Labor from its bad defeat in 1988 to almost winning back government in just three years.

The following ad is particularly familiar, but I highly recommend you check out all of the ads in Hawker’s post.

Shearer’s new New Zealand

David Shearer gave his first major speech as leader of the opposition this morning. I may be a little biased on these matters, but even the most seasoned political journalists were impressed. John Armstrong’s column was particularly illuminating…

David Shearer’s first big speech as Labour leader does the trick. It does what was expected of it. It contains enough hints of the direction he will be taking the party – and that direction is firmly towards the centre.

Today’s speech will be fleshed out in more detail in ones to follow in coming weeks, however.

A new leader has to start somewhere. Shearer delayed doing so until he felt that he had got things right. The wait was worth it. Today’s speech is the perfect antidote to last year’s electoral disaster. It marks a new beginning for Labour. It’s game-on from here on.

You can read the full speech or watch the entire video on the Labour website. Here is a shortened version…

Good news in Bratislava – bad news in Brussels

Thanks to Dorothy for pointing out that that the left have won a victory in Europe, with Direction – the social democratic party of Slovakia winning their recent parliamentary elections. The Wikipedia page for the election covers it pretty well.

Interestingly though, the election was caused by the centre-right government’s support for the Greek bailout package by the EU. Is this sentiment spreading through Europe? The French Socialists will certainly be hoping so…


Unemployment and austerity

Everyone should read this piece by Mehdi Hasan in the Guardian. Gripping stuff…

…Europe’s crisis isn’t just about economics. Unlike GDP or inflation, unemployment is the only major economic indicator that measures real human beings, rather than growth or prices.

Having a job isn’t just about earning a living or paying taxes; it’s about human dignity and self-worth. The human and social costs of unemployment are well-documented: financial hardship, emotional stress, depression, lethargy, loss of morale and status, shame, sickness and premature death. Then there is the hopelessness that often leads to rising crime, disorder and social unrest. We can probably expect a new wave of riots and violence in the continent’s city centres.