Labor’s community preselection trial
There are people with faces we cannot put names to in ALP Head Office at Sussex Street who have much invested in the Community Preselection process trialed recently in the City of Sydney Mayoral ballot.
The expense of the experiment – which included sending letters to most of you detailing stuff about the Australian Labor Party that left you cold – has been guesstimated somewhere above $500,000 with plausible arguments of a million dollar spend.
Public meetings were held where candidates spoke their corners of debates on childcare, bike paths, small bars, social equity, alternative energy blue sky dreaming et al. The Public attended these rare opportunities in handfuls, never outnumbering the tens of Party diehards supporting their favourites.
City of Sydney’s sole Labor Councillor, Meredith Burgmann, trilled delight at the turnout: “We had almost 5,000 voters which is a huge success and we will certainly be doing it again … We would have been happy with 2,000 voters. I think this type of preselection will be repeated around the country.”
General public votes for Mayoral Candidates were: Cameron Murphy 902, Linda Scott 867, Jonathan Yee 839, Cassandra Wilkinson 579 and Damian Spruce 425. Preferences pushed Scott past Murphy to a majority that saved scrutineers adding the 20 per cent weighting for female candidates. Less than 5 per cent of eligible voters took the opportunity.
ALP members’ votes were: Scott 148, Murphy 103, Yee 54, Wilkinson 21, Spruce 12 and informal 3. After preferences Scott was ten clear 174 v 164 and with her due weighting she scored 209 to win by 55. More than 50 per cent of ALP members voted.
Some long-term members expressed disappointment at the lack of booths in populous precincts North or East of Sussex Street. There were cyber-difficulties for online voters due to identity verification technical bugs.
A fortnight later ballot order of Council candidates was determined by the tried and untrue method of rank and file voting at Sussex Street, Saturday, 10 til 2 at short notice after procedural objections were rejected and deals honoured so Damian Spruce takes the theoretically electable second position behind pre-selectorial ally, Scott, ahead of high-profile community firebrand, the factionally unalignable Jo Holder, in the improbable third spot. Yee and Wilkinson are slotted 4 and 5 on a ticket to be filled by anyone caring to ask a Head Office face they can put a name to for the honour of being on the ballot paper.