Friday, 31 July 2015

THE OZ JULY 26 ALP conference 2015: Live updates


ALP conference 2015: Live updates


Paul Kelly's View

ALP conference votes for turnback policy
Bill Shorten speaks in the boat turn back debate on Saturday.
Bill Shorten speaks in the boat turn back debate on Saturday. Source: AAP
7.30pm: The party has voted to close the meeting, with Bill Shorten speaking to the motion and finishing with a three word slogan of his own: “Advance Australia Fair”
“The hour is late, and the challenges ahead of us are great,” he told delegates.
“We understand though in the last three days that the eyes of Australia were in no small part upon us.
“When this conference opened, the nation paid attention.
“We have established in the last three days, I submit, that the Labor Party is most serious about offering a social and economic program for the future of this country.
“We have engaged in debates about reforms. But what we have done most of all, is we have offered a picture of Australia writ large.
“We understand in this room, that for all the mining booms that come and go, the greatest potential of this nation is that of its people, and in every chapter of our platform we have offered views and propositions for change for a brighter future.
“We will leave here with the fundamental challenge of the next election established.
“We will believe that hope can triumph over fear, that optimism defeats pessimism, and most importantly at this conference, we have established that when people ask you what our party and movement stands for, you can tell them that we stand for jobs, quality healthcare, education for all regardless of background or circumstance, and that we stand for fairness.
“On this platform of jobs, education, healthcare, we have offered specific propositions, from the future of renewable energy to the importance of science and innovation, to investment in TAFE and our universities, to a Medicare system defined by your Medicare card not your credit card, but above all else as we approach the next election, we are united by our vision for a better Australia, by our desire to offer a future as opposed to Mr Abbott’s very, very poor propositions, but most of all friends it is the words in front of me which I believe define our vision: Advance Australia Fair!”
7.00pm: Here are five key issues voted on at Labor’s national conference today.
PALESTINE, KIND OF RECOGNISED The Left and Right managed to reach a deal, after intense negotiations on the conference floor, to work towards recognising a Palestinian state if peace talks with Israel stall again. Labor will also call for Israel to stop expanding settlements in occupied territories and reject the boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against the country. Israeli ambassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel watched on and senior Labor figures including Anthony Albanese and Jenny McAllister filibustered for more than an hour while the deal was nutted out.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE Labor’s added domestic violence leave to its list of workplace rights it believes all Australians should get. But CFMEU official Joe McDonald stole the show during debate with a passionate plea for everyone to do more to address the “war in the kitchen”. “F***ing stop it, f***ing fix it, do something about it,” he urged.
GAY MARRIAGE After three days of talks and rumours, the party agreed to bind its federal MPs to vote in favour of legalising same-sex marriage — in the parliament after next. But Bill Shorten promised he’d introduce marriage equality legislation within 100 days of being elected prime minister. Penny Wong, who received two massive standing ovations from the conference, said she would have wanted the party to dump the conscience vote now but at least it was on the way out.
EQUAL REPRESENTATION FOR WOMEN Labor made an historic agreement to ensure women hold 50 per cent of positions at all levels of the party organisation and get a greater shot at running for parliament by 2025. Union representative Linda White got a standing ovation for her speech introducing the move, which she said achieved the nearly impossible task of uniting the NSW Right and Victorian Left.
* MARTIN ON THE OUTER Labor formally condemned former federal minister Martin Ferguson for his “self-serving commentary” over the past year or so that’s been damaging the party and unions. This was reference to his disparaging comments on general opposition to electricity privatisation. A trio of hardcore union bosses led the move against Ferguson, saying he didn’t deserve “to be considered a Labor elder and must be condemned as a disgraced former Labor politician”. The motion passed with resounding “ayes”. Ouch.
6.53pm: Bill Shorten has promised to legalise gay marriage in the first 100 days of an ALP government, and to put as much pressure as possible on the Abbott government on the issue in the meantime.
At ALP national conference late today, Mr Shorten moved a motion, seconded by deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, resolving that “the matter of same sex marriage can be freely debated at any state or federal forum of the Australian Labor Party, but any decision reached is not binding on any member of the party.”
Under pressure from the Left faction to immediately drop an existing conscience vote for federal MPs in favour of a binding vote on the issue, Mr Shorten announced a compromise to deliver laws in the next parliamentary term under a Labor government, or see Labor MPs bound to vote in favour in the parliament after that.Read Rachel Baxendale’s full report on same-sex marriage here.
6.15pm: Bill Shorten says “marriage equality is a simple overdue change that sends a powerful message,”
He called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow Liberal MPs a free vote on same-sex marriage. “What the Labor party does with this resolution is we lay down the challenge to Mr Abbott and his Liberals: please give your members of parliament a free vote so we can make marriage equality a reality now.”
Tanya Plibersek said the current parliament had the numbers to pass same-sex marriage and it should be allowed to.
“I still hope we can have marriage equality by Christmas but if this parliament doesn’t pass marriage equality a Shorten Labor government will in its first 100 days,” she told the conference. Mr Shorten said same sex couples had waited too long.
“Australia is trailing the world. The debate about marriage equality has simply gone on too long.”
5.30pm: Now a feel-good moment for the party with a motion on affirmative action.
Victorian Linda White got a standing ovation when she moved it. It’s now being seconded by Victorian state MP Natalie Hutchins. It sets a minimum percentage of 40 per cent of women in all party positions, moving to 45 per cent from 2022, and 50 per cent by 2025.
5.10pm: There’s been fierce debate over a motion moved by Queensland’s Anthony Chisholm and Victoria’s Eric Dearricott giving grass roots party members in electorates with more than 150 members in the party’s state branch 70 per cent of the vote when preselecting House of Reps candidates.
Union leaders were unimpressed with the motion, which would weaken their power.
CFMEU national secretary Brendan O’Connor hit out and members of Mr Dearricott’s branch for what he portrayed as their hostility towards workers.
“People who turn up to party meetings in Bacchus Marsh in their overalls aren’t welcome,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Some of these people talking about democracy in the Labor Party are full of shit.”
A vote on the matter has been postponed.
4.55pm: A compromise deal on same sex marriage will see Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek agree on an amendment to party policy that ensures a free vote on the matter for at least two terms of parliament, reports David Crowe.
This is a blow to Plibersek’s idea of a binding vote for all Labor MPs in order to maximise the numbers in favour of change in federal parliament. It seems that Plibersek has retreated on her original idea and backed the more moderate approach.
Shorten worked on the proposal with Plibersek and another senior Left leader, Penny Wong. The result means that the idea of a binding vote becomes academic. For the next two terms, Labor’s policy will be a conscience vote for all MPs. Most expect that federal parliament will approve gay marriage by the time the Labor amendment expires.
Tanya Plibersek and Bill Shorten have agreed on an amendment to party policy that ensures
Tanya Plibersek and Bill Shorten have agreed on an amendment to party policy that ensures a free vote on gay marriage for at least two terms of parliament. Picture: Hamish Blair
4.53pm: The gay marriage amendment on which party members will shortly vote has gone up on the ALP website. The amendment, which will be rescinded the day writs are issued for the next federal election, moves that:
“Conference resolves that the matter of same sex marriage can be freely debated at any state or federal forum of the Australian Labor Party, but any decision reached is not binding on any member of the Party.”
4.49pm: It’s taken until late on Sunday afternoon for us to reach our first count of the conference.
The issue at stake was the election of delegates to National Conference.
The motion, moved by NSW member Prue Car and seconded by Kaila Murnain, stipulates that:
The delegates from each state must include:
(i) a number of delegates directly elected by the financial members of the state branch that is at least equal to the number of House of Representative electorates in that state as at the previous 31 December; and
(ii) delegates from outside metropolitan areas.
It passed with a statutory majority of 199.
4.38pm: ALP conference has carried a motion committing to a review of the party’s Socialist Objective. The move stops short of immediately scrapping the Socialist Objective in the party’s constitution, but appears to sound its death knell with a timeline for the review to be established at the next national executive meeting.
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley proposed the motion, while frontbencher Kim Carr spoke up for the retention of the objective.
Foley’s speech was accompanied by some booing and some delegates turning their backs.
3.56pm: NSW ALP secretary Jamie Clements kicks off rules debate pushing for party to adopt NSW model of having every seat elect a rank and file delegate to ALP conference, Rick Wallace reports.
Says Victorian ALP doesn’t support this and wants a “carve out” from this. Clements says he also supports the 70/30 reforms being pushed by Bill Shorten to deepen rank-and-file power over decision making.
2.55pm: Labor’s national Left faction has unanimously agreed to support making same-sex marriage binding on MPs after the next election, Troy Bramston writes.
This new proposal, which rules out compelling MPs to support a same-sex marriage resolution in the current parliament, was proposed by the Rainbow Labor group.
This was reported in The Australian last week.
Labor’s national conference will debate on whether or not same-sex marriage should be binding on MPs later this afternoon. The party’s platform states that it supports same-sex marriage but MPs are not bound to vote for it in parliament.
2.45pm: We’re back after lunch. Shayne Neumann and Andrew Leigh are speaking to open a chapter on “new opportunities for an ageing Australia”.
1.55pm: Labor’s Left and Right factions have reached an agreement to formally review the party’s 1921 socialist objective with a view to modernising it with new language to reflect to the party’s core mission in the 21st century, Troy Bramstonwrites.
This is a significant step for the party to take, even though the objective is redundant, given the emotional attachment many in the party have to the wording. It describes Labor as a “democratic socialist” political party.
This is a big victory for NSW Labor leader Luke Foley, who led the charge on replacing the objective ahead the conference. A new objective has other supporters too, including Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen, national president Mark Butler and a host of former leaders such as Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Gough Whitlam.
In recent weeks, others have added their support for rewriting the objective, including former premiers Bob Carr, Steve Bracks and Peter Beattie.
It was untenable for the party to recommit to socialism, so they’ve agreed to review it with a view to replacing it.
ACTU senior vice-president Joe de Bruyn.
ACTU senior vice-president Joe de Bruyn.
1.29pm: Labor frontbenchers are at odds over whether an emissions trading scheme can be called a tax - a fundamental question that caused enormous grief for Julia Gillard only three years ago, writes David Crowe. The party’s agriculture spokesman, Joel Fitzgibbon, seemed to concede on the Ten Network this morning that people could call an ETS a tax. Industry spokesman Kim Carr has rejected that view when asked by reporters on the sidelines of the national conference. “That’s just wrong,” Senator Carr said. “It’s not a tax. An emissions trading scheme is a way of ensuring we do something about controlling dangerous pollution.” The word-play is no small matter. Bill Shorten is adamant an ETS is not a tax and this will be crucial to Labor’s defence against a scare campaign over its climate change policy pushing up consumer prices.
1.26pm: The conference has carried a resolution condemning former ACTU boss and former federal frontbencher Martin Ferguson, writes Rick Wallace.
The MUA sponsored resolution “condemns Martin Ferguson whose self-serving public commentary is not in the interest of the party, party members or the Labour movement”.
The move follows the failure of the MUA and its allies to have Mr Ferguson expelled from the party for his comments criticising NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley for his campaign against foreign investment in power assets and privatisation.
Maritime Union of Australia boss Paddy Crumlin told the conference Mr Ferguson’s comments on the ALP and unions were “littered with vitriol” and the former resources minister and advisory board chairman of oil and gas lobby group APPEA had a “massive conflict of interest” and was looking after “his mates in big oil”.
“Martin said he was ashamed of the party, well Martin, I am ashamed of you,” Mr Crumlin said in a provocative speech that invoked Socrates and John-Paul Satre.
The rest of the motion text said: “Martin Ferguson has repeatedly spoken publicly against ALP policy and in the case of the NSW election, his actions damaged the party’s chances of success.
“Martin Ferguson does not deserve to be considered a Labor elder and must be condemned as a disgraced former Labor politician,” it read.
The motion was carried on voices.
1.13pm: There have been a lot of references to domestic violence and associated leave entitlements during this afternoon’s jobs discussion.
The CFMEU’s Joe McDonald, dressed in a black union hoodie, with yellow, tape-measure themed braces and trademark cap has offered the most colourful view on the issue so far, receiving a standing ovation when he urged male perpetrators of family violence to “just f***ing stop it.”
McDonald is not known for mincing words. In 2007 then-PM Kevin Rudd was obliged to expel him from the party after the WA Supreme Court release footage showing up abusing a company representatives, and earlier this year he and the union were fined a combined sum of $173,500 after he threatened to have a group of workers thrown off “every construction site you’re on in Perth” if they didn’t participate in a strike.
12.46pm Labor has largely lived up to its promise of a “warts and all” open conference where a significant proportion of its internal processes are carried in plain sight on the conference floor - with one notable exception, writes Rick Wallace.
Journalists are free to wander through the cavernous halls of the Melbourne Convention Centre rubbing shoulders with the factional warlords, frontbenchers and rank-andfile ALP members.
But on level one of the centre it’s a different story - security were quick to shepherdThe Australian away from the cordoned off room set aside for heavy-duty fundraising activity under the banner of the Business Observer’s Program.
As revealed in The Australian, the program has roped in 100 corporate leaders paying between $7500 and $10,000 a head to hob knob with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and his shadows.
Thanks to the diligence of security operatives, we were pushed back just far enough so the entrance to the room was obscured leaving captains of industry and frontbenchers free to converse away from the press’ prying eyes.
12.35pm: Delegates are in a series of meetings on proposed rule changes to preselections expected to be debate this afternoon, Rick Wallace writes.
Right-faction delegates are discussing the possible changes in a meeting that began just before midday.
It’s not clear at this stage the exact form the proposals will take, although sources say there will be a Right-backed motion on the 70/30 changes backed by Bill Shorten. The motion would dilute union influence on preselections and the increase the power of rank and file delegates.
The ALP is also expected to debate changes to Senate preselections with Left sources saying there would be Left motion pushing for a system of 50 per cent rank and file and 50 per cent union leaders to decide the make up of the party’s upper house ticket. Currently the ticket is decided by delegations to state party conference.
The Right is expected to oppose this motion.
12.26pm: One of Labor’s senior figures, Martin Ferguson, continues to divide the party by expressing his personal opinion on everything from the resources industry to the royal commission into union corruption, David Crowe writes.
An amendment to the party platform is being put to attack Ferguson, a former ACTU leader and longstanding resources minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments. Those on the Left do not take kindly to Ferguson expressing his views so freely, but they failed in an attempt to drum him out of the party last month. The amendment states: “This conference condemns Martin Ferguson whose self-serving public commentary is not in the interest of the party, party members or the Labour movement. Debate and disagreement is critical in any political party, but that debate must occur at the appropriate Labor forums not in the public domain.”
That is a warning to all Labor ministers, past and present, to watch their mouths.
Martin Ferguson continues to divide the party. Picture: Andrew Taylor.
Martin Ferguson continues to divide the party. Picture: Andrew Taylor.
12.02am: Standing orders have been suspended to allow ACTU secretary Dave Oliver to speak in favour of the jobs chapter and of the importance of the relationship between Labor and the unions.
Richard Marles at the conference today.
Richard Marles at the conference today.
11.54am: The chapter on foreign policy concluded.
We’re now going straight into one on “Decent jobs with Fair Pay and Conditions”.
Brendan O’Connor is opening, seconded by Julie Collins.
Expect lots of references to “Tony Abbott’s war on workers”.
Convenor Mark Butler has warned that lunch may be cut short. Lots of debates to get through today, with gay marriage set for the afternoon.
11.45am: It seems a swift deal was done on the Israel Palestine debate, with a proposed platform amendment on the issue dropped in favour of a resolution.
Debate on the matter was delayed with a lame filibuster involving a report on the National Policy Forum while last-minute negotiations were made.
Tony Burke then proposed a resolution, seconded by Queenslander Wendy Turner.
“This party believes that Israel has a right to exist and exist safely,” Mr Burke said.
“This party also believes that Palestine has a right to a state where they can exist safely too.”
Here’s the resolution in full:
The Australian Labor Party Conference:
Affirms Labor’s support for an enduring and just two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the right of Israel to live in peace within secure borders internationally recognised and agreed by the parties, and reflecting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to also live in peace and security within their own state.
Deplores the tragic conflict in Gaza and supports an end to rocket attacks by Hamas and the exercise of the maximum possible restraint by Israel in response to these attacks.
Supports a negotiated settlement between the parties to the conflict, based on international frameworks, laws and norms
Recognises in government Labor retained its commitment to two states for two peoples in the Middle East and specifically
Did not block enhanced Palestinian status in the General Assembly;
Restated the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is occupied territory;
Opposed Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, recognising that a just, peaceful and enduring resolution will involve a territorial settlement based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps;
Held that the settlements are illegal under international law.
Recognises that any resolution will be based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, a timeframe to end Israeli occupation, demilitarization of Palestinian territory, agreement on a solution to Palestinian refugee issues, and resolution of the issue of Jerusalem’s final status.
Recognises that settlement building by Israel in the Occupied Territories that may undermine a two-state solution is a roadblock to peace. Labor calls on Israel to cease all such settlement expansion to support renewed negotiations toward peace.
Rejects the boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Condemns the comments of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during the recent elections where he ruled out a Palestinian state and further condemns his appeals to race during the campaign.
Recognises a lasting peace will require a future State of Palestine to recognise the right of Israel to exist and the State of Israel to recognise the right of Palestine to exist.
Recognises the special circumstances of the Palestinian people, their desire for respect, and the achievement of their legitimate aspiration to live in independence in a state of their own. This is a cause Labor is committed to.
If however there is no progress in the next round of the peace process a future Labor government will discuss joining like minded nations who have already recognised Palestine and announcing the conditions and timelines for the Australian recognition of a Palestinian state, with the objective of contributing to peace and security in the Middle East.
11.23am: We had a bit of amusing banter between Anthony Albanese and Mark Butler MP, when the latter asked crowd favourite Albo to wind up his speech on Cyprus.
“I voted for you. So be nice,” he told the SA MP and party president.
Imminent debate on Israel and Palestine has been delayed slightly while we hear a report on the party’s National Policy Forum.
11.13am: Bll Shorten is tweeting ahead of the marriage equality debate this afternoon.
11.10am: Now we’ve got one on Cyprus:
“Labor will work to facilitate a just settlement of the Cyprus problem, based on UN resolutions respecting sovereignty, independence and the territorial integrity of Cyprus, and resulting in the demilitarisation and reunification of the island for the benefit of its entire people.”
This is being moved by former NSW senator Michael Forshaw, and seconded by Anthony Albanese.
10.57am: We’re getting close to what are likely to be hotly debated motions on Israel and Palestine, but before we get there, we’ve got a couple of uncontroversial motions on the right to independence of the Saharawi people of the Western Sahara, and on maintaining a close and positive relationship with Timor-Leste. The Timor one has been moved by former Queensland MP Janelle Saffin, with the support of Victorian senator Mark Dreyfus.
10.48am: Unsurprisingly, the capital punishment motion passed.
Now Chris Bowen has moved a motion in support of the Assyrian, Chaldean, Mandaean and Yezidi people, who are suffering treatment amounting to attempted genocide at the hands of Islamic State in Iraq.
Christian Iraqi Lenda Oshalem from Western Australia has seconded the motion.
10.43am: Now we’ve got a motion on capital punishment in the wake of the deaths by firing squad of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia earlier this year. Don’t think there’ll be much dissent on this one. It calls upon future Labor governments to:
- Strongly and clearly state our opposition to the death penalty, whenever and wherever it arises;
- Join forces with other nations to push for universal adoption of a global moratorium on the death penalty;
- Develop Australian government policy aimed at assisting all nations end the death penalty; and
Use Australia’s aid programs to support civil society organisations campaigning for abolition in countries which retain the death penalty.
10.27am: They’ve passed another motion on making sure local governments, as first responders to natural disasters, are properly funded and equipped for the task.
10.26am: Labor senator Kim Carr claims Tanya Plibersek supported the party’s new position on boat turn-backs in shadow cabinet.
Ms Plibersek avoided personally voting on the proposal to allow a future Labor government to adopt a policy of turning back asylum seeker boats at the ALP national conference on Saturday, by instead handing her vote to a proxy. But Mr Carr said Ms Plibersek had strongly supported the position “articulated on behalf of the whole shadow cabinet” Labor Leader Bill Shorten.
“Tanya spoke very strongly in support of the shadow cabinet’s position at the various meetings I attended,” Senator Carr told Sky News on Sunday.
Bill Shorten with Tanya Plibersek at the opening session today.
Bill Shorten with Tanya Plibersek at the opening session today.
10.24am: Former WA Senator Louise Pratt has spoken on a raft of motions in support of the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people internationally, which also passed.
10.22am: Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek has opened a chapter on “Australia’s place in a changing world”.
They’ve just carried a motion supporting Australia’s active participation in the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, and a rather uncontroversial one recognising that torture “fundamentally undermines human dignity and erodes the moral foundation of any institution which engages in it,” and supporting efforts to end all forms of torture.
10.04am: Bill Shorten has opened the final day of the conference by attempting to paint yesterday’s debate over boat turnbacks and offshore detention as an illustration of Labor at its best - hammering out the issues in the open.
“We’re brought up on the stories of the great national conferences, the fierce fights,” Mr Shorten said.
“I say to the delegates of this 47th conference that I couldn’t have been any prouder of the party not 30 years ago, but yesterday.”
He singled out Andrew Giles, for holding his cool yesterday when protesters took to the stage, ironically interrupting Giles’ speech against turnbacks.
Shorten also congratulated party president Mark Butler for respectful moderation of the debate.
“We don’t mind disagreeing with each other, but we won’t let other people tell us how to disagree. We’ll do that our selves,” Shorten said.
He then set the scene for some of today’s key debates, in particular gay marriage and party rules, calling on Tony Abbott to allow the Liberals a conscience vote on marriage equality to which Labor would respond in kind, and saying the ALP should be aiming to become a party of more than 100,000 members.
9.55am: Now he’s speaking on same sex marriage, saying if we expect Tony Abbott to give the Liberals a free vote, we must pursue the same ourselves.
9.52am: Shorten has singled out Andrew Giles and Mark Butler for praise for their role in yesterday’s asylum seeker debate.
9.50am: Bill Shorten is speaking to the audience now, winning them by having a go at yesterday’s turn-back protesters. We’ll bring you the full report on his speech soon.
9.28am: Albanese rejects the proposition that there would be long-term resentments as a result of the asylum seeker debate, writes David Crowe. And he seems to acknowledge that the new party position on border protection will improve Labor’s standing at the next election.
While Albanese raised his hand to vote against turn-backs himself, fellow Left members Tanya Plibersek and Penny Wong gave their votes to proxies who then voted against turn-backs. Albanese makes no criticism of his colleagues and disputes a newspaper story that says he took a shot at Left faction members who “sit on their hands” on big questions.
9.19am: Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has defended his decision to vote at odds with Bill Shorten on asylum seeker boat tu. rn-backs, saying other measures like offshore detention would stop the boats and there would be no need for turning back boats, David Crowe writes.
“I couldn’t ask people to do something that I would not be willing to do myself,” he tells ABC’s Insiders program.
Tanya Plibersek arrives at the conference today.
Tanya Plibersek arrives at the conference today.
9.03am: Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says Labor’s new policy on asylum-seeker boat turn-backs is a dodgy, watered-down deal.
“People who characterise this as somehow the Labor party agreeing to a carbon copy of the government’s successful policy ... completely misreads the situation. It’s not about the stern approach taken by the government,” Mr Dutton told Sky News this morning.
8.51am: Labor’s Left faction could win its argument that MPs be bound to vote for same-sex marriage.
It’s understood Left faction members have decided to vote as a bloc to enshrine in the party rules that MPs won’t have a conscience vote on the matter, but rather must support it as a matter of social equity and justice.
The issue will be voted on at the ALP’s national conference in Melbourne this afternoon.
8.45am: Just to remind you what happened yesterday at the ALP conference: Bill Shorten gained a vital victory in support of his decision to use boat turnbacks to discourage asylum seekers, amid heated protests against him. You can read the news story, Dennis Shanahan’s analysis and Stefanie Balogh’s sketch here:
The conference also backed Bill Shorten’s ambitious new target of 50 per cent for renewable energy, and cheered the prospect of an election fought on climate change.
You can read the news story and Graham Lloyd’s article on how Europe is now beating a retreat on emissions:
Labor under Bill Shorten seeks to win the next election by re-fighting the climate change issue with a renewable energy spearhead, pledging a fairer nation and using progressive identity politics — yet its fatal flaw is economic policy, writes Paul Kelly.
You can read his article here: Big on promises, short on reality
8.30am: Good morning and welcome to the last day of the ALP conference.
Today the conference will consider whether to force its members to vote for same sex marriage, although the party is expected to retain the conscience vote.
Labor leader Bill Shorten will tell the 397 delegates to the Melbourne conference today that any move for a binding vote on MPs could backfire.
Labor deputy Tanya Plibersek speaks at a function at the Cargo Hall after not being prese
Labor deputy Tanya Plibersek speaks at a function at the Cargo Hall after not being present at the vote on immigration.
He will say it would undermine a bid to convince Tony Abbott to allow his frontbenchers a free vote on the issue when a cross-party bill is brought to parliament.
“I know we can achieve marriage equality by the power of our arguments,” he will say.
Mr Shorten said in his opening speech to the conference on Friday that same-sex marriage would make Australia a more inclusive nation.
Deputy leader and Left faction member Tanya Plibersek has argued in favour of a binding vote.
But Left colleague Anthony Albanese, who supports gay marriage, says the party should respect those who oppose it on religious grounds.
The conference on Saturday voted in favour of gay, lesbian, transgender and intersex couples having the same access to IVF, adoption and domestic surrogacy arrangements as heterosexual couples.
Labor MP Terri Butler plans to co-sponsor a private member’s bill with Liberal MP Warren Entsch to change the Marriage Act. But its success will depend on coalition MPs having a free vote.
With AAP
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One thing I did pick up on at the Labor conference was that it seems like they are slowly returning to the old White Australia Policy of the '50's & '60's.
Here's a surprise: Labor wants more government inside our lives, and it wants working Australians to pick up the bill. You could have knocked me down with a feather...,
Unfortunately like we saw in Victoria voters fall hook line and sinker for the motherhood statements and hate the detail. Their will be plenty of voters that see this as a triumph of democracy rather than a staged event for all to be fooled. 
An impressive conference, with contribution of members and MPs . Democracy in action for all to see and judge, rather than LNP's secret deals with Abbott's three lines slogans or Hockey's derogative comments. This conference debate and resolutions has in my opinion given Labor a new lease of life.
But why is it about Abbott, again? Can't you see what Labor is falling for, again?
@Karin  Except nothing on the Economy and how Labor is going to manage it
Tax the wealthy was the only thing I heard...........real smart....the wealthy are the only taxpayers left standing

As to the deficit .........what's the plan there?
What a lot of emotional drivel. imagine the damage they would inflict on us if they were elected based on the nonsense they have generated. Is there anything remotely pragmatic or realistic?
@Brenda  I'd go further than that Brenda.  They are a major security risk in every regard and every area!
Well it must have been a huge success. On Friday the bookies had Abbott at $1.65, Labor $2.50 For a win next election.Tonight? Abbott at $1.50 Labor $2.75. Looks like the punters didn't buy it.
@arlys  Thank you for that bit of news Arlys.  Says it all really and cuts through all the Labor  and mainstream media and so called polling B/S!
holy quail
holy quail
This just in from Federal Liberal Director Brian Loughnane. Let me know if you agree as I do ....  The Conference:
  • Made no mention of economic management and had nothing to say about how Labor would deal with the debt and deficit left by the last Labor Government;
  • Adopted a series of additional unfunded spending measures, bringing Labor’s unfunded commitments to over $57 Billion;
  • Endorsed a new tax on electricity which would ramp up electricity costs for families, adding to cost-of-living pressures and threatening jobs and small business;
  • Remains deeply divided on border security, with senior front-benchers voting against Bill Shorten;
  • Endorsed further powers for trade unions, including in relation to independent contractors and small business; and
  • Confirmed a future Labor Government would increase taxes on superannuation. 
  • Labor has no leadership, is divided on key policy, a threat to the living standards of families and small businesses.
  • Under Bill Shorten, Labor has wasted its first two years in Opposition.
holy quail
holy quail
Troy Bramston thinks Shorten comes out of this enhanced in the eyes of voters. What delusion ALP people have. Just because Bill goes all progressive and wins the factional fights within his own conference, that doesn't mean Joe Public automatically gives Shorten a big tick. The wholes shebang was nothing but window dressing and papering over old festering sores, or indeed sending the share price of Band Aids skyrocketing.
I offer my view of the ALP love-in....
- no mention of how to fix the fiscal mess and deficit that RGR and the majority of the ALp Front bench bestowed on Australia. What.....$600billion and annual deficits for the next how many years?
- the Federal Bureacracy loaded with ALp sycophants eg. Refugee Tribunal, AHCR, Federal Courts
- how to pay for their sponsorship of the illegals that they don't turn back
- how to deal with the50,000 odd illegals that they left to the Abbottgovernment to deal with
- on top of that, how to pay for the doubling of the Humanitarian intake when it will force the Federal Government to borrow more money to pay for welfare of people who have no intention to do anything but remain on welfare
- gay marriage? I would suggest that this is a smokescreen. I'm not gay and I don't give a curse...
bring on Tania Plibersek and her better half and ask for the Australian electorate to legitimise him as a representative of the Government of Australia.
Labor Rules? I don't think so.....
National Security - the ALP has no idea
Boat people - ALP are cowards
Fiscal Responsibility - the ALP does not have any idea. Spend, spend, spen. Oh, and Wayne Swan is cited as an economic genius.Credibility = zero, zilch, nuthin........fools, liars and charlatans.
Big John
Big John
The same-sex marriage debate entered a new phase of intolerance with Labor voting to expel parliamentarians who advocate man-woman only marriage. In two Parliaments time , Labor MPs and Senators who vote against redefining marriage will be expelled from the party

That's the ALP for you  
Loaded Dog
Loaded Dog
In time they will vote that the next Labor PM apologize to the Ottoman Turks for the invasion of Gallipoli and beg that they accept compensation.
I also vehemently object to the all day live coverage of this back-slapping bile-fest by ABC 24. My taxes should not be used to promote this leftist propaganda. Time to privatise this drivel; let those who want to watch it, pay for it.
@Steve Agree entirely and I cant believe the government of the day can't do a thing about it. Time Tunbull and Hockey got serious about the lefties ABC funding.  
Oh well there it is another wind bag feast is over and surprise, surprise Bill is still the chosen one. And Labor apparently now have a boat turn back policy of sorts. Not surprisingly they then wasted the rest of their time on issues that don't effect a great number of Australians. And they still lead in the last opinion polls. Sigh !!
After all the histrionics  by this paper and those with a partisan axe to grind,  after all the talk of division that was supposedly going to tear the party apart at this conference, to all intents and purposes things seems to have gone remarkably smoothly.  Labor was holding such conferences long before the Tory times came into existence and will be doing so long after it has ceased to be, if only the liberal party was even a fraction as open. 
@Jon Good heavens, how on earth did you reach that bewildering conclusion? Plibersek, Wong, and Albo refuse to back their leader! If that's going 'smoothly', I'd hate to see division!

Steve in Port Macquarie
Mike R.
Mike R.
@Jon I don't call refusing a conscience vote on gay marriage 'open' at all.

More open than refusing to have a vote at all, which is where TA  and the LNP is at. No discussion just no vote.   Which is fine,  it will ultimately fester in the LNP and cause damage as it does so.     Steve says "refuse to back their leader"  sounds like a demand for subservience, since when was begin a broad church an anathema to liberalism?   Since they were hijacked by the churchy far right.  So much for being libertarian, menzies would be turning in his grave. 
@Jon @Mike R. Oh Jon, that's a load of old mullarkey. Albo said he'd been 'hijacked'; Plibersek and Wong refused to back Shorten on boat turn-backs and arranged proxy votes, and then this dynamic duo insist on a binding vote for homosexual marriage! The hypocrisy of this mob is mind-boggling.

Steve from Port Macquarie
It was a great success Jon. The bookies have blown Labor out to $2.75. Abbott firming to $ $1 50. Looks like the punters didn't buy it.
A simple rundown on the ALP Conference
#Same sex marriage, seems there's not such a rush anymore as they have put off a decision until after they expect it to happen, without their help.
#Turnback the boats, been done, there is none to turn back, (in almost a year!)
# Renewables up to 50%,....Europe is winding it back as the crunch hits, as it is too expensive for Countries.
Labor wants to ramp it up to 50%.
Tell me please, anyone, what was the point of this “Greatest Show on Earth “ that the Labor party just wasted three day's on?
Where there any real policy's
Was there any suggestion of help to get the senate blockade dismantled to help get the country back on it's feet?
Apart from self aggrandizement, was anything achieved at this event?
So we get Gay Marriage, whether we want it or not, Bill? No plebiscite, no consultation, just what Labor thinks we should have to satisfy a minority, and the basketweavers? Is that is what you are saying? Well I am glad you have made it clear so far out from the next election. It gives the people time to realise, once Labor gets in, we have no say in our future, only the basketweavers do. Thanks Bill, it really gives us something to think about.

Yep, it's a party platform,  don't like it, don't voter for them, but then that is hardly likely anyway right?
@Jon @arlys  Hi Jon.  In my opinion, anyone who votes for them is so deluded they should seek professional help!

Well that would  be why they say opinions are like the proverbial.  Still the  majority of the electorate do not share your view and have not  for how many successive polls is it now?
@Jon @arlys Neither are a lot of other people going to vote for them either Jon according to the bookies. I can feel another Labor thumping coming on.
Mike R.
Mike R.
@arlys Right on.  The ALP is a train-wreck of a party, not at all interested in democracy or representing what Australians want.  Arrogant to the core.
Big John
Big John
That was a wasted of time A phone hook would have been cheaper and had the same results 
As for SSM Shorten says vote us in first ....You know take me on trust is Bill's new catch cry ..Well Gillard trusted you and was told not to trust you ...Only A Mug would take you on your word Bill Shorten  

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