ALP National Conference
More than 2,000 delegates, members and supporters attended the Australian Labor Party’s 47th National Conference in Melbourne last weekend.
National Conference is the Labor Party’s highest decision-making forum and plays an important role in defining the future direction of the Party.
The Conference voted on the consolidation of the existing ALP National Constitution, including the creation of a new section of the Platform titled Organisational Policies, as well as changes that give effect to a number of proposals for Party rules reform.
National Conference also presented an opportunity for Labor to solidify the leadership, mobilise its base and encourage a new generation of leaders to emerge.
Moreover, it provides insight to some of the key policies that Labor will develop and carry into next year’s election, and will be of interest to organisations potentially affected by policy change.
Key issues debated on the floor of the National Conference included:
- Industrial relations – In particular a commitment to enshrining domestic violence leave as a universal workplace right. This motion was pushed strongly by the ACTU.
- Climate change – The Conference supported a target of 50% renewable energy by 2030. A future Labor government would establish a low-cost Emissions Trading Scheme, strengthen the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Climate Change Authority.
- Health – Delegates agreed that dental care represents a significant gap in the provision of universal health care and supported a dental care package that aims to improve access for children and older Australians. Addressing indigenous disadvantage in healthcare was also debated.
- Gender Equality – Delegates committed to the goal of 50% female representation for Labor in parliament by 2025.
- Marriage Equality – The Conference affirmed that in the first 100 days of a Labor government, legislation to effect marriage equality would be introduced. Labor MPs and senators will not be bound to vote for same-sex marriage until 2019.
- Immigration – Delegates committed to doubling Australia’s humanitarian refugee intake and contributing $450 million to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, abolishing temporary protection visas; and appointing an independent children’s advocate
- University deregulation – The Conference affirmed its opposition to the current Government’s policy, with a focus on accountability of Universities as to where they spend taxpayer’s money.
- Consensus for recognition of Palestine as a State
- Party Reform – The Conference signalled a review of the longstanding socialist objective written into the party’s constitution.