I’m very slowly recuperating from active service in the QLD A.L.P branch (including Secretary). Like the tributaries of a river it should never get clogged up so it can keep moving and evolving. The movement from Wivenoe to the Somerset branch at Esk ends my personal labours, and a creeping resurgence of mental illness.
I sensed growing resistance about my ideas from branch members; I didn’t understand why a branch face book page was being criticised apart only I was being censored. The dynamics within the branch were changing. It happens. I’m just too out there for some.
I reared up and hissed like a snake in Spring. Frayed nerves, and the Big Canberra Picture of ongoing partisanship in offshore indefinite detendtion for refugees from my own Party reached it’s intolerable zenith.
I knew the black dogs of despair and the rabid distress of losing one’s sanity so I certainly don’t believe the persecuted have to be persecuted again and again. I voted for Bill Shorten in the Labor leadership. I was under an illusion he could be the next Ben Chifley type, but Machievelli rules career politicians – Cruel means to a cruel end.
For my own sake I retreat or like Voltaire said in Candide – in the end we must cultivate the garden.
The main purpose of any local branch is to support an endorsed candidate for your electorate and naturally the wider Labor cause, but most of our meetings were spent in lively discussion of policies and passing motions to contribute to the processes within the Party.
It was very satisfying to have regular attendance and get to know your Members of Parliament at monthly meetings, community stalls and campaigning.
I had tried a couple of Ipswich branches to start with, as there was nothing closer to home – 20-30mins drive away.
Trying to present a civil, rational debate on decriminilising abortion caused a stir apparently. It was a no go area!
It was then I learned the majority of members were not only from our senior citizenry but also Roman Catholics, and working class, country town folk. The Secretary and I stood in the doorway and directed my gaze to the membership, ‘look at them’…
The DLP/ALP split legacy from the 1950’s still resonates.
The ghost of B.A. Santamaria permeates the present corridors of Power in Australia. Old world religion, misogyny, exclusion, anti-science, is the order and control of the day.
My idea to set up a Brisbane Valley branch as a place to wake any hibernating Labor voters along the Brisbane Valley Highway to Esk was met by pessimism and derision; Don’t get involved with them, they’re all mad!
This was just the incentive I needed…
I was naieve then to political factions and historical histrionics.
I grew up in a consciousness raising feminist era of the big smoke in the UK and Melbourne, so I went along to the Labor Women’s Conference in Brisbane and enjoyed my sister comrades zeal in reinforcing social justice issues.
I shared my dissatisfaction with an organiser and it occurred to her the Wivenhoe branch had been formed in
the wake of the Pauline Hanson assault on our senses by Virginia Clarke who was endorsed to run against her.
Wivenhoe members were passionate about the same issues so it suited us for me to take on the role of Secretary and hold meetings at my home and along the Highway.A regular pitch at the popular Fernvale Markets increased our profile and helped us to hear what locals were thinking, and gently persuade people of our values and policies!
Former Labor leader and Governor General Bill Hayden and his wife Dallas lived locally so I invited him(even though he’d changed his mind about an Australian Republic!). He gave it some thought, he said, but he had long and loyal ties to his Ipswich branch and remarked he had been interested to hear how I had managed to activate a branch which wasn’t supposed to exist.
For the present I continue with my research and writing of a historical fiction set in 17th century London – there are many parallels to today, though I feel safe being an omnipresent narrator! I’ll be archiving my political labor blog soon, until then,
“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”
― George Orwell, 1984
MY political blogging is at
Labor governments and oppositions often squander 2/3 of their time, by misunderstanding the role of marginal seat campaigning.
Instead of spending the years immediately post-election persuading the community Labor’s values and vision reflect community interests, and Labor’s policies reflect the best of Australia, too many in the ALP machines and parliamentary leadership say their focus must be to mirror the views of persuadable voters in marginal seats.
They fail the leadership test: like Jim Hacker, they seem to think “I am their leader – I must follow them”.
They fail to understand the key job of a leader, the thing that makes them a leader – or not – is identifying what needs to be done that isn’t, and generating support.
Where Labor spends a whole term focused on marginal seat perspectives, they’re not articulating a vision to the community, not…
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