By Xiaoran Shi
In the lead-up to the Labor pre-selection for Balmain, Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne is pledging to take a series of major reforms concerning the structure of the ALP to the next state conference in July.
The proposal would see all upper house and senate candidates decided by a vote that includes all rank-and-file members. The NSW parliamentary leader and other senior party positions including general secretary would also face direct election by party members.
“The problem now is that not enough parliamentarians are willing to speak out against Obeid cronyism and advocate for change,” Cr Byrne told City News.
“That’s why I’m determined to march on Macquarie Street with the mandate of the Balmain community and of party members to push for a more democratic and transparent Labor.”
Cr Byrne went on to express a commitment to reform, saying that he would “absolutely” bring the proposed changes to the NSW party conference in July regardless of the pre-selection outcome.
But the reforms require majority support at state conference, which at this stage appears unlikely. That leads some to suspect the mayor of political grandstanding, but Cr Byrne is adamant that even though some party members would “rather have a dying party than a different party”, his reforms are the first step to gathering momentum for taking a “real stand against factional powerbrokers”.
The Balmain pre-selection is also being contested by former member for Balmain Verity Firth, who could not be reached for comment. The election is a community pre-selection, meaning that enrolled voters in the Balmain electorate will have 50 per cent say through online and postal voting, while local ALP members, comprising the other 50 per cent, can vote at a poll booth on May 3.