You will probably see a bit of media coverage about the Labor Party National Conference.

Conferences have two roles – one is the discuss updates to our Platform (the things Labor stands for) and its Rules (the way the Party is governed). The conferences are not a place where people just get up and talk. They are the end of the very long process of policy deliberation involving people across the country and state. Labor’s platforms (state and federal) provide members and supporters in the community with a clear statement of Labor’s beliefs, values and program for government. The documents outline the key priorities for Labor over the coming years.

For example, my branch in Bellingen might discuss a particular issue and if we feel strongly enough, we will ask the Party to consider it. If it is a State matter, a motion then goes to what we call a “State Electorate Council” which may endorse it for State Conference and if it is Federal matter, it will go to the “Federal Electorate Council” for consideration to send to National Conference.

A case study: On the latter, I have had some involvement with the push by LEAN, the Labor Environment Action Network, which is pushing the party to adopt a position of implementing tougher environmental laws when in government. The idea started at a LEAN conference nearly two years ago. It was then refined, and then LEAN people, like me, have taken it to Branches all around the country for consideration. As at 15 May 2018, over 350 branches have supported the LEAN motion. That’s the sort of thing that makes the party stand up and listen! And we will be pushing for National Conference to adopt what LEAN has been pushing for in its platform. You can read about LEAN’s campaign here (LINK)

LEAN’s first major campaign was to get the party to adopt a position of 50 per cent renewable energy and emissions reductions of 50 per cent by 2030. This was adopted at the 2015 National Conference where emissions reductions of the forty-five per cent by 2030 was the number ultimately agreed to (in addition to a 50 per cent renewable energy target). (LINK)

Back to conferences. So there are three conferences coming up within three months. The State Conference is held every year; the National Conference every three years and, NSW Country Conference every two years. The NSW State Conference was held in Sydney – Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July 2018. The NSW Country Conference was held – 14, 15 and 16 September 2018 in Forster-Tuncurry.

The National Conference will be held in Adelaide in December:

    • Website: LINK 
    • Draft of 2018 Platform: LINK
    • Anyone is welcome to register as an observer for the conference. LINK

Updated: 20 November 2018