- Labor Right
Nationally, the Right is a broad alliance of the various Right state groupings. For example the New South Wales right are know as Labor Unity while their Victorian colleagues organize under the banner of Center Unity. ACT right faction members are split, belonging either to the mainstream union-backed Labor Unity grouping or the personality-based remains of the old Centre Coalition. The Queensland right entitles itself Labor Forum. Factional power usually finds expression in the percentage vote of aligned delegates at party conferences. The power of the Labor Right varies from state to state, but it usually relies on certain trade unions, such as the
Australian Workers Unionand the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Associationwhich send factionally aligned delegates to conference and also from ordinary party members with right wing alliance.
The Right is currently the dominant faction in the Labor party. The faction also holds a majority on the party's National Executive. The faction has 41 of the 115 Federal Labor MP's. The arrangement is that the federal leader of the party is from the Right, while the deputy leader is from the Left. State Premiers such as
John Brumbyare also associated with the Right. An unusual exception to this rule is Queensland Premier Anna Blighwho is a left member and was groomed for the Premiership by Premier Peter Beattieof the Labor right.
In a 2005 speech prominent Left Faction member,
John Faulknerdescribe the factional system in Australian Labor as being less about ideology and more about patronage. Faulkner pointed out that Unions did not control the ALP but rather the factions which control the party also control the Unions. Furthermore, he described the typical career path for aspiring political apparatchiks "a university degree in law or industrial relations, a paid job in a union, leadership in a union, various positions in the ALP (including paid positions) culminating in a State Secretaryship or the like, nomination to the Senate or to a safe House of Representatives seat." [cite news
title = Factionalism in Australian Political Parties, especially the ALP
publisher = Humanities Faculty, Macquarie University
url = http://www.humanities.mq.edu.au/Ockham/Factionalism.html
accessdate = 2008-05-24 ]
An overriding theme of Labor right wing governance is of balance between progressive social change and the need for sound economic management as the pathway to community development and growth. For the Labor right, there is a time for change and a time to maintain the
status quoand that time is measured by community expectations and needs rather than principles of political correctness. In this context, good community representation and a healthy dialog with the Socialist Left wing of the party is an essential component of continual party debate and policy formulation.
Roman Catholics have been prominent and influential in the Labor Party, both inside and outside the auspices of the Labor Right faction. Labor socialists and Protestant conservatives alike have historically criticized the faction as beholden to papal authority. However, this has decreased since the 1970s with the gradual erosion of sectarianism in Australian politics.
The Right views itself as the more mainstream and fiscally responsible faction within the ALP. Some right members derive power and policy from the community they serve while others take a more
Machiavellian real politicapproach. In an address to the Australian Fabian Society, Right faction luminary Robert Ray warned that not "every candidate needs an Honours Degree in Apparatchikism". In the same speech he described factionalism gone wrong, criticising "the suffocating collaboration of factional Daleks– such as Conroy and Carr. [cite news
title = ARE FACTIONS KILLING THE LABOR PARTY?
publisher = Address to The Fabian Society Sydney
url = http://www.fabian.org.au/1077.asp
accessdate = 2008-05-24 ]
The Right is most famous for its support of Third Way policies over Labor's traditional social democratic/democratic socialist policies, such as the economic rationalist policies of the Hawke and Keating governments, such as floating the
Australian Dollarin 1983, reductions in trade tariffs, taxation reforms, changing from centralised wage-fixing to enterprise bargaining, the privatisation of Qantasand Commonwealth Bank, and deregulating the banking system. These reforms foreshadowed the high growth economy of the 80's, 90's and into the new millennium.
While the Right has dominated the Federal level of the Party for over 50 years, the general trend of economic policy within the Labor party towards the right has led to the situation where past leaders of the Right, such as
Ben Chifley, would now be considered radical socialists in comparison to more recent Right leaders such as Paul Keatingand Kim Beazley.
A criticism of the dominance of the Right in the ALP is that it has led to a situation where the Labor party has moved to the political centre on some serious issues of policy, in particular economics and national security. In response, members of the Right emphasise the need of the Party to support economic practices that allow Australia to remain internationally competitive, and allay the fears of many voters that Labor is not a fiscally responsible party. In addition, they stress the need to maintain a broad constituent base that includes the "aspirational voters" of
The Right's chief objective is to maximise its own influence at the expense of the Left - an aim which it accomplishes through various means. Internal ballots are often viciously contested between Right and Left candidates, and in the past, allegations of unscrupulous conduct in regard to balloting processes (eg.
branch stacking) have been a feature of such contests for both sides.
While the senior faction is broken into various state and union based groupings the Young Labor Right is organized around the various parliamentarian factional leaders and power brokers. The major Victorian Right Faction Youth Wing is Young Labor Unity.
Current members of the Labor Right
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Chris Bowen, Sharon Bird, Tony Burke, Justine Elliot, Joel Fitzgibbon, Michael Forshaw, Chris Hayes, Michael Hatton, Steve Hutchins, Julia Irwin, Belinda Neal, Rob McClelland, John Murphy, Roger Price, Ursula Stephens.
NSW Parliament include:
Reba Meagher, Kristina Keneally, Michael Costa, Joe Tripodi, Frank Sartor, Eddie Obeid, Steve Whan, Eric Roozendaaland John Della Bosca.
Former Members Include:
Bob Carr, Morris Iemma, Laurie Brereton, Graham Richardson, Kerry Sibraa, Gabrielle Harrison
Arch Bevis, Craig Emerson, John Hogg, Joe Ludwig, Bernie Ripoll, Kevin Rudd, Wayne Swan.
Queensland Parliament include: Paul Lucas,
Rob Schwarten, Judy Spence, Kate Jones, Deane Wells.
Former Members Include:
Peter Beattie, Mike Kaiser
Annette Hurley, Kate Ellis, Dana Wortley, Nick Champion, Amanda Rishworth, Don Farrell,
Lindsay Simmons, Jack Snelling, Michael O'Brien, Tom Koutsantonis, Tom Kenyon, Chloe Fox, Michael Wright, Carmel Zollo, Michael Atkinson, Robyn Geraghty, Lyn Breuer, Lea Stevens, John Rau, Kevin Foley, Trish White
Steve Kons, David Llewellyn.
Federal Parliament: Senate:
Jacinta Collins, Stephen Conroy, David Feeney
Anna Burke, Anthony Byrne, Simon Crean, Michael Danby, Mark Dreyfus, Richard Marles, Nicola Roxon, Bill Shorten, Kelvin Thomson.
John Brumby, John Lenders, Joe Helper, Tim Holding, Rob Hulls, Tammy Lobato, Hong Lim, Theo Theophanous, Martin Pakula, Fiona Richardson, Marsha Thomson, Christine Campbell, Tony Robinson, James Merlino, Tim Pallas.
Former Members Include:
Kim Beazley, Graham Edwards
* Cumming, Fia (1991) "Mates : five champions of the Labor right". Sydney: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1863730214. Library catalogue summary: Paul Keating, Graham Richardson, Laurie Brereton, Bob Carr and Leo McLeay recount events which shaped the Australian labour movement from the 1960’s to the 1980’s.
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