Stanhope / Labor’s ‘shameful’ preselection process

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THE ACT branch of the Labor Party has been engaged in one of the most disgraceful episodes of its history – driven by factional bastardry and the pursuit of personal power and political office.

Jon Stanhope
Jon Stanhope.

The preselection process for the new seat of Bean and the reconfigured seat of Canberra has been nothing short of shameful.

I received along with, I assume, all other ALP members in the seat of Canberra, the infamous dirt file on one of the candidates seeking preselection. In my 42 years of membership of the ALP in Canberra I have never been confronted by anything as disgraceful or despicable.

Not content to ensure that the low point represented by such cowardly behaviour was not repeated, the dominant left faction then used its numbers at the branch’s annual conference to overturn a decision of its credentials committee, which had declared that a candidate for preselection for the seat of Bean was not eligible under the party rules to contest the seat.

This then led to the right faction inviting national intervention to restore the decision of the credentials committee and to uphold party rules. Which it did. What a circus!

As far as I can see none of this has led to any embarrassment or any soul searching by anyone in a position of influence in the ACT branch. It is regarded simply as business as usual.

However, I’m sure that what it has done is ensure that the legions of highly educated, experienced and passionate Canberra residents who share the core values of the Labor Party and who would be outstanding Labor members of the ACT Legislative Assembly or Federal Parliament have shaken their heads and thought to themselves “nah, not for me”.


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Jon Stanhope
Jon Stanhope was Chief Minister from 2001 to 2011 and represented Ginninderra for the Labor Party from 1998. He is the only Chief Minister to have governed with a majority in the Assembly.

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