There are some in the NSW Labor Party celebrating an incoming Party leader from the Left in Luke Foley. However the rank and file members with their ear to the ground are dismayed that we may only see a puppet of the Right due to the deals Foley is alleged to have made to become leader.
Foley has managed to gain the support of Labor’s Right, and with Michael Daley admitting defeat already and saying he will no longer contest the leadership position, Foley is the last man standing.
However there a growing number of rank and file members who are not happy with the way Foley has ended up in this position.
I have no doubt that Foley will make an excellent leader, however there are questions surrounding his apparent ascent to the Leadership due to be confirmed by caucus 5th January.
Senior Party sources have claimed that a deal has been done between Foley, NSW General Secretary Jamie Clements, and Wollongong MP Noreen Hay.
This deal could see members resigning from the Centre Unity Faction in droves, as what is the point of being in a faction whose leaders support a rival faction? If I were Michael Daley I would be seriously considering deserting the faction that betrayed me and would be looking to take my supporters along with me.
Sources claim that Noreen Hay who is the convener of the Centre Unity Faction, of which Clements is also a leading member, has used her position to secure the votes for Foley from members of her faction.
So why would Hay being a convener of the Right faction betray Daley, a member of her own faction, to rally numbers for a Left candidate?
Sources have claimed that the deal is being done with Foley so that Noreen Hay can secure the position of Party Whip. The vast majority of those in the Left could probably think of nobody worse to put in the position of Whip than Noreen Hay as Noreen comes with a lot of baggage, so if this claim is true it will do Foley’s leadership no end of harm should Noreen Hay end up in the whips position.
So what is in this deal for Jamie Clements?
If Luke Foley is elected leader there will be a need to find him a lower house seat, which is something that strikes me as odd.
It strikes me as odd for two reasons. One is that I didn’t think it was absolutely necessary to be a Member of the Lower House to be Opposition Leader, to be Premier yes, but not Opposition Leader, although I could be wrong. The other is that given there was going to be a vote for the Labor Leader shortly after the March election, if Foley had ambitions for leader surely he would have put himself in the running for a lower house seat in the last rounds of pre-selections.
However Foley’s bid for a Lower House seat gives Clements what may be a convenient way of saving some face.
The Auburn pre-selection is an ongoing saga which has already seen the Party suffer as a result of what has been alleged as branch-stacking on a grand scale by Hicham Zraika, the candidate who has the support of Jamie Clements and Laurie Ferguson, who would appear to have worked together to secure one of Ferguson’s allies in other seats such as Seven Hills.
With the incumbent Barbara Perry going through the democratic Independent Appeals process regarding the as yet undecided pre-selection, the result of that process could make Clements position as Secretary untenable given he oversaw the pre-selection.
The Auburn pre-selection itself had some irregularities.
There was a last-minute change of venue which led to some confusion. I have also been made aware of claims of scores of Hicham supporters who seemed to have suddenly forgotten what branch they attended when asked by those giving out how to vote forms.
Also extremely irregular was the fact that after the election the uncounted votes were stored at the house of an employee of Sussex St for the weekend. This alone would throw the integrity of the entire process into doubt given it was not overseen by the AEC. How on earth can these be considered due diligence by Sussex St?
Early indications appear to show that this Independent report, due after the final hearing on 21st January will be absolutely damning, and members of the rank and file as well as some prominent insiders are assuming that Clements is hoping that parachuting Foley into the seat will mean the Independent Review is cancelled and its findings not made public.
Barbara Perry despite the pressure seems determined to ensure that the process continues.
Whether or not she knows it, Barbara may just be making the stand against the so-called faceless men and factional power-brokers that rank and file members have been screaming for year after year. One would certainly have to question the motives and vested interests of those who do not welcome the continuation of this democratically approved and vital Party process given it only promotes transparency and only enforces the Party rules.
Who would have thought that a woman, a mother of five, long-standing and loyal member, Shadow Minister and Former Minister could bring the power-brokers who are destroying the NSW Labor Party to their knees?
Foley has indicated that he wants to be pre-selected and does not wish to be “parachuted” into a seat.
However any move to pre-select Foley in the Auburn seat can only be seen as a “parachute” given that the voters who would elect him are currently the subject of an Independent Review. These being to votes of the members that are the alleged branch stacks of Hicham Zraika who is alleged to have been offered a safe upper-house seat in exchange.
There are other seats Foley could run for, Seven Hills would be good given it is set to be lost after the area has been held by Labor for over half a century. Lost due another poor candidate with alleged branch stacks and more than questionable views on domestic violence. Once again a candidate promoted by Laurie Ferguson who appears to have anything but the Party’s best interests at heart.
Also on the possibilities list was Blacktown, given the unfortunate position former leader John Robertson finds himself in.
However I have heard rumours that Foley, who wishes to lead both the Party and the State may be inconvenienced by the extra travel to such faraway places as the Western Suburbs, Labor heartland.
I have contacted Jamie Clements with some queries including the two important questions below;
Can you tell me where in the Party rules that it says that a democratic pre-selection process can be interrupted in the middle of an independent appeal?
Can members rely on you as their State Secretary to ensure that absolutely no deals are done until the democratic process as stated in our party rules regarding the Auburn pre-selection process is finalised?
As of publication I have yet to receive a response from Jamie Clements.
No matter what happens it would appear Jamie Clements is not one to rely on for support. The last time Clements used his Twitter account to promote or retweet Former Leader John Robertson was all the way back on the 6/6/2014. I find it astounding that the General Secretary of the Party would not do all he could to promote the Party Leader. In fact to look at Jamie’s Twitter feed you would think he was running for Arch-Bishop not running a political party as the Pope gets plenty of support and retweets.
Luke Foley has been in the press talking about the Party becoming more democratic under his leadership.
Given the allegations of a deal with Noreen Hay and given his apparent plans to make the Party more democratic, I also sent some questions to Luke Foley for a response, including these;
It has been alleged that a deal has been done to secure support for you involving Noreen Hay with her seeking the Party Whip position, can you confirm or deny this ?
With the talk from Sussex St being that you are going to bring more democracy to the Party, can you explain why on of your first actions will be to seek the denial of democratic process to Barbara Perry?
Fairfax recently reported on the quest for the Auburn seat for Luke Foley and had this to say regarding Foley’s comments.
“Mr Foley said he was “relaxed” about Ms Perry retaining her candidacy at this stage, but said the pair would speak if he is elected leader and “we’ll see what eventuates”.”
In the article Foley also talks of the Party and State becoming a “social conscience” for the nation.
I’m sorry Mr Foley but the vast majority of members do not agree with your prehistoric, judgmental, and discriminatory views on marriage equality. Given you are there to represent those members perhaps an attitude adjustment may be in order, after all, this is not a Party of one.
I certainly don’t agree with the way you implicate that you will put pressure on Barbara Perry to sacrifice herself because you failed to make a legitimate run for the Lower House through the pre-selection process everybody else is deemed worthy of.
As a member I also question the ethics of the way it would appear you are gaining the support of the Right. A method some may describe as dealing with the devil.
Social conscience indeed…