NSW Labor MP attacks party’s right wing
A NSW Labor MP has launched an extraordinary attack against the party’s right-wing faction, accusing its nomination processes of being “corrupt and undemocratic”.
Upper house MP Amanda Fazio made the comments to parliament after it was revealed she had been dumped from the ALP’s ticket for the 2015 state election.
The former Legislative Council president said Labor’s general secretary Jamie Clements told her there was “no place” for her on the ticket.
“(Mr Clements) had not broached the issue with me at any of our frequent meetings earlier in the year and had given no indication that I was going to be dumped,” she said on Wednesday.
“This is appalling behaviour on his part.”
Ms Fazio also confirmed that, before she found she had been dumped, she tried to “amend” the party’s right-wing ticket to remove senior Labor MP Adam Searle and replace him.
She decided to challenge Mr Searle because she was “disturbed” by his decision to continue working as a barrister from the time he was elected until Opposition Leader John Robertson implemented new rules banning Labor MPs from having second jobs.
Ms Fazio was also concerned that Mr Searle had done legal work for the Crown Solicitor’s Office – which could constitute a breach of laws banning MPs from earning an income from government agencies.
“If this was the case, it would be a serious embarrassment for NSW Labor,” she said.
In preparation for her challenge to the ticket, Ms Fazio emailed Mr Clements, asking him 13 questions, to which she received only three answers.
“In the face of the refusal of the general secretary to provide me with this information and with the knowledge that voters were being rung and implored to support the general secretary’s ticket, I withdrew my challenge,” she said.
“I would not legitimise such a corrupted and undemocratic process by participating in it any further.”
She stressed that her disagreement was with the operation of the Centre Unity – which is the right-wing faction of the ALP – and not with the Australian Labor Party.
While it was a disappointing way to end her career with the Labor Party, it did have some “pluses”.
“In terms of friends, it sorts out the wheat from the chaff and I will have time to follow other interests without the constraints of the Labor Party’s system of caucusing,” Ms Fazio said.