Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Those of you who know me

in real life - fortunately for you that number is few and far between - will know that I have no time for political parties. They are, in my not so humble opinion, a waste of space. They do more harm than good.
I also accept that they are a necessary evil if there is to be any sort of order in society.
But the Australian Labor Party is now trying to convince me - and everyone else - that it is going to "change". What is more they are making claims that these changes will allow anyone to join the party.
What, you ask, the ALP is a closed shop? Yep. At present you have to be a union member to join the ALP. Of course if you are a union member you have been paying your dues to the ALP from the beginning of your membership. Your union has seen to that with its compulsory donation to the party coffers. It doesn't matter whether you approve of the donation or not. It happens. Someone from your union, more than one if you are big enough, will attend the state and federal ALP conferences. It is assumed that, as a union member, your loyalties lie with the ALP. The ALP is the union movement. The union movement is the ALP. Simple.
Mr Shorten, currently leader of the Federal Opposition, says he wants to change that. He wants anyone to be able to join the ALP. That sounds very reasonable. It may even happen - sort of.
Perhaps I am just too cynical but I have a feeling that even if the "anyone can join the ALP" move actually gets up then nothing much else will change. There won't be enough non-union members to make a difference to the voting patterns. It will still be union members who become party delegates - indeed that may well be preserved in the rules. It will still be union members who vote at state and federal conferences. Union members will still run the party and the politics. People who are not union members who want to join the ALP will find themselves under pressure to join a union. It is, in effect, a backdoor way of trying to revive the union movement.
It's a smart move by Bill Shorten. He can tell the world he has reformed the ALP. He can say this without having done anything of the sort. He is shouting "change or die" but it means nothing.
Nothing much is going to change.

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