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Local politics: Here’s what you missed this fortnight

By Richard Fox - 27 August 2015 11

legislative assembly

ACT Labor membership continues to grow

It might be due to Tony Abbott, it might be due to Andrew Barr or it even might be due to Jeremy Hanson but membership of the ACT Labor Party has reached new heights.

There are now more members of the ACT Labor Party than members of the Canberra Liberals and ACT Greens combined. That’s right, there are more than 1700 Labor members in our Territory.

And that figure looks set to grow some more after a range of new membership rules were introduced at the Labor Party’s annual conference in Woden on Saturday. The main change is that you now don’t need to be a member of a union to join the Labor Party. This could seriously open the floodgates.

While the reduction of eligibility requirements for pre-selection secured most of the mainstream press, removing the union requirement could take engagement in politics in the ACT to another dimension.

Frustrations boil at Westside

The troubled-yet-surprisingly good shipping containers at Westside Acton Park have continued to cause major headaches for the ACT Government.

After being hit by construction delays, poor visitor numbers and politicians calling it “the beginnings of a detention centre,” the government has taken over the running of the site from developers Stromlo Stomping Grounds.

Land Development Agency chief executive David Dawes told The Canberra Times, “a blind man on a galloping horse” could see things had not gone well at the site and the plan is now to “activate” the site.

Good luck. If done well, this could be a fantastic site. I’m not sure if Dawes will ever win over the naysayers though.

A sleepy month for the Opposition

It’s the tail end of winter but the Canberra Liberals don’t seem to have a spring in their step just yet. Since my last piece, the party has been very quiet. A few words muttered on the ACT Government’s renewable energy targets (“power bills going up through the roof across Canberra”), a few on Simon Corbell’s retirement and a few interviews with local radio.

No media releases, no Facebook updates, no announceables of any sort.

In early September 2011, then Opposition leader Zed Seselja announced one of the party’s major 2012 election policies – support for the University of Canberra Public Hospital. That was about 13 months before the election.

We’re almost at that stage of the election game again but there’s no inkling yet of any such big policy move under Hanson’s reign.

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
Local politics: Here’s what you missed this fortnight
Madam Cholet 12:43 pm 31 Aug 15

If you happen to catch any of Chief Minister talkback ever these days, I think it could be fair to say that Andrew Barr is not as well liked as Katy Gallagher. I don’t believe he would be a reason for increasing memberships. He comes across as rude and arrogant and seems to treat this town as if it’s his to do with what he wants. A number of recent back downs – not documented in this post – show that. But he’s never implicated.

As one caller a few weeks ago asked (when calling about the MOCCA/Telopea school disaster “Do you think you are worth your $2xx,000 salary when you treat people so poorly?” He’s only been in for a short period as Chief Minister and he’s already being asked those types of questions.

Last week I saw a photo of Mayor Rattenbury posing out at MOCCA – clearly out to rub salt in the wound after the back down and distance himself from bad decisions and the Governments poor treatment of Canberra residents.

I think the thing that’s attractive about Labor is Shane Rattenbury. Whatever you think of his ideas, he’s a hard worker, easy to contact and get responses from, open to suggestions and his progressive and mindful at the same time.

I wouldn’t vote for Labor or Liberal in a pink fit right now, but it’s worth mentioning those who do work hard. My vote looks likely to go no where at the next election – as per the last.

Evilomlap 1:53 pm 28 Aug 15

watto23 said :

gazket said :

1700 hundred people lining up to spend your money.

Exactly, 1700 people looking to get their snouts into the troughs. Until politicians actually start invoking policies for the good of society and not their donors, i’m going to not view this as a good thing. Let not be naive about these things. People look after their friends and aquaintances. I’ve worked for 6 companies in my life and 5 of those I knew someone in the company. Same thing happens at political level. Make a policy to help out a business or company. Get a plum job with them in retirement. Or as seen at federal level, only touch taxes that affect the poor the most, never touch the taxes that the wealthy have their snouts in the trough milking their tax deductions from.

Um…you can be a member of a political party without actually ever actually running for a seat. Or even wanting to.

dungfungus 1:33 pm 28 Aug 15

Matt Watts said :

The stack for preselection results is on! 🙂

That’s what it’s all about.

Matt Watts 12:19 pm 28 Aug 15

The stack for preselection results is on! 🙂

watto23 12:13 pm 28 Aug 15

gazket said :

1700 hundred people lining up to spend your money.

Exactly, 1700 people looking to get their snouts into the troughs. Until politicians actually start invoking policies for the good of society and not their donors, i’m going to not view this as a good thing. Let not be naive about these things. People look after their friends and aquaintances. I’ve worked for 6 companies in my life and 5 of those I knew someone in the company. Same thing happens at political level. Make a policy to help out a business or company. Get a plum job with them in retirement. Or as seen at federal level, only touch taxes that affect the poor the most, never touch the taxes that the wealthy have their snouts in the trough milking their tax deductions from.

dungfungus 9:02 am 28 Aug 15

“The main change is that you now don’t need to be a member of a union to join the Labor Party…..”
Amazing.
Only 12 months ago I was attacked relentlessly on this blog for claiming this was the main reason that Canberra would always be a Labor town.
Several people said I was wrong and the Union/Labor rule didn’t exist.

gazket 11:46 pm 27 Aug 15

1700 hundred people lining up to spend your money.

John Hargreaves 6:07 pm 27 Aug 15

Garfield said :

So how many Liberal and Green members are there in the ACT?

Dunno the answer to that but can tell you that when I was secretary of an ALP sub-branch in Tuggeranong at one time, I had 155 members and that was more than all the card carrying Libs south of LGB. in the mid 1990s.

rubaiyat 5:17 pm 27 Aug 15

“…the government has taken over the running of the site from developers Stromlo Stomping Grounds.”

…Groan (head in hands}.

Garfield 4:45 pm 27 Aug 15

So how many Liberal and Green members are there in the ACT?

MERC600 2:33 pm 27 Aug 15

Well that’s scary. 1700 labour members in this joint. I mean I mean gulp, they could be in my street !

I did wander out to Googong for a look at their housing the other day, the day it snowed a bit here. Well out there it was snowing quite well, the joint was quite white. I guess Googong being at 800 metres makes the difference. Using my friends gps thing, I’m 604 metres in my driveway, and didna get a flurry that day.

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