.

  • Written by Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

The ALP has announced an inquiry into the head office of the NSW ALP, after weeks of shocking revelations at the Independent Commission against Corruption about scandals in the handling of donations.

The review, announced by NSW opposition leader Jodi McKay and federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese will be led by Michael Lavarch - who was attorney-general in the Keating government - and will be in two stages.

The first stage will examine the roles, responsibilities and oversight of the NSW branch’s general secretary, with a report next month.

Evidence to ICAC has discredited the last two secretaries – Kaila Murnain, who was suspended during the ICAC hearings, and her predecessor Jamie Clements.

The ICAC inquiry has centred on a $100,000 cash donation before the 2015 state election. Allegedly it was delivered to the ALP headquarters in an Aldi shopping bag by Chinese property developer Huang Xiangmo, and its origin disguised by the use of false names. Donations from property developers are banned by NSW electoral law.

McKay said there had been “some shocking and appalling evidence” from the ICAC hearings. “Out of the ICAC inquiry it’s become obvious that there is far too much power vested in the general secretary,” she said, as well as there being a cultural problem in the head office.

The second part of the review will look at the head office’s mechanisms, processes and governance which, McKay said, “just seem to be lax and deficit right now”.

The broad-ranging review will examine the role and structure of the state administrative committee, fund raising activities and the reporting of donations.

“It is clear that we need to let the sun shine in to our head office”, McKay said, adding that she had been “distressed by the evidence that has emerged.

"It is no longer ‘whatever it takes’ [the title of the book by Graham Richardson, a one time NSW general secretary]. That ended a long time ago, but our head office has to reflect that. This is about accountability, transparency and honesty.

"It’s also about living up to the expectations of our thousands of decent party members and it’s about ensuring that people can have confidence in who we are as a party as we seek to rebuild trust in New South Wales Labor.”

Albanese told their joint news conference that “clearly party officers have let the party membership down”.

Lavarch’s recommendations would go to both the NSW administrative committee and to the ALP’s national executive. That would mean changes could be implemented immediately, rather than having to wait for a state conference.

Albanese stressed the need for cultural change in the party, while saying the ICAC proceedings reinforced the need for a national integrity commission.

The opposition leader also recalled that many years ago at a NSW Labor conference he had said part of the cultural problem was that the NSW secretary was seen to possess “a Papal infallibility” and “that it was time the white smoke was raised for the last time”.

What had now occurred was “a recognition across the party from senior levels down to rank-and-file members, that that culture needs to change. That the culture whereby the general secretary makes a directive and people fall into line needs to change”. This was something being looked at very explicitly by Lavarch.

McKay said a new secretary would not be appointed until after the Lavarch report. “There will be no appointment of a general secretary until we have a firm definition around the roles and responsibilities, and indeed how this position works within the broader party structure,” she said. There might be some additional roles created as well.

The party is currently recruiting for an assistant general secretary following the resignation of Pat Garcia to head up Catholic Health Australia. He has been acting general secretary since the suspension of Murnain.

McKay said it would be preferable not to have to recruit now “but we have to have someone leading our administrative part of our party”.

She was scathing about both Murnain and Clements.

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Read more http://theconversation.com/labor-announces-inquiry-by-former-attorney-general-lavarch-into-scandal-ridden-nsw-head-office-125209

Golf Polo Shirts - Dressing Etiquette While Playing Golf

Have you ever pondered as to why the game of Golf has a more formal look and feel than most other sports? The origin of the sport has a lot to do with the dress code. Yes, you may be already guessin...

News Company - avatar News Company

Albanese promises a 'productivity project' in an economic vision statement harking back to Hawke and Keating

Anthony Albanese puts a “productivity project” at the centre of his economic agenda in the second of his “vision statements”, which seeks to further distance him from the Short...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Friday essay: George Eliot 200 years on - a scandalous life, a brilliant mind and a huge literary legacy

A portrait of George Eliot at 30 by Alexandre-Louis-François d'Albert-Durade. Her masterpiece Middlemarch is often claimed to be the greatest novel in the English language. Wikimedia CommonsMa...

Camilla Nelson, Associate Professor in Media, University of Notre Dame Australia - avatar Camilla Nelson, Associate Professor in Media, University of Notre Dame Australia

These young Muslim Australians want to meet Islamophobes and change their minds. And it's working

While most research participants believe in the power of contact, dialogue and exchange to transform negative attitudes. ShutterstockThe political influence of the far-right, along with a more salien...

Ihsan Yilmaz, Research Professor and Chair in Islamic Studies and Intercultural Dialogue, Deakin University - avatar Ihsan Yilmaz, Research Professor and Chair in Islamic Studies and Intercultural Dialogue, Deakin University

From Marie Kondo's tuning fork to vibrators for 'hysteria': a short, shaky history of curing with vibrations

Vibration devices have been used to treat everything from 'hysteria' to hair loss. So Marie Kondo's tuning forks and crystals are nothing new. from www.shutterstock.comYou might remember how Gwyneth P...

Philippa Martyr, Lecturer, Pharmacology, Women's Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Western Australia - avatar Philippa Martyr, Lecturer, Pharmacology, Women's Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Western Australia

Five ways parents can help their kids take risks – and why it’s good for them

Have real conversations with your kids about what they're doing, and the potential consequences of their actions. from shutterstock.comMany parents and educators agree children need to take risks. In ...

Linda Newman, Associate Professor, University of Newcastle - avatar Linda Newman, Associate Professor, University of Newcastle

Smoke haze hurts financial markets as well as the environment

Sydney is currently blanketed by smoke haze from severe bushfires that have burned through New South Wales. Air pollution levels on Thursday reached hazardous levels for the second time in a week. T...

Naomi Soderstrom, Professor of Accounting and Deputy Head of Department, University of Melbourne - avatar Naomi Soderstrom, Professor of Accounting and Deputy Head of Department, University of Melbourne

Vital Signs. Untaxing childcare is a bold idea that seems unfair, but might benefit us all

Win-win? No-one would be worse off under the UNSW proposal. Over time it should pay for itself ShutterstockAustralia’s system of childcare support is pretty good. It ensures high-quality care ...

Richard Holden, Professor of Economics, UNSW - avatar Richard Holden, Professor of Economics, UNSW

Curious Kids: why does wood crackle in a fire?

If you've ever put wet wood on to a fire, you may have noticed it makes a lot more noise than dry wood. Shutterstock Why does wood crackle in a fire? – Rocco, age 6 (nearly 7!) Hi Rocco, th...

Rachael Helene Nolan, Postdoctoral research fellow, Western Sydney University - avatar Rachael Helene Nolan, Postdoctoral research fellow, Western Sydney University

How 1 bright light in a bleak social housing policy landscape could shine more brightly

In the year since the Australian government created the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC), its bond aggregator, AHBA, has raised funds for affordable housing providers, allo...

Julie Lawson, Honorary Associate Professor, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University - avatar Julie Lawson, Honorary Associate Professor, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University

Grattan on Friday: Scott Morrison will go into 2020 with a challenging cluster of policy loose ends

Scott Morrison’s government is heading to the end of 2019 amid a debate about its economic judgement and with a number of substantial policy moves started but not completed. Morrison this week ...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Office Interior Design Trends for 2020

We are approaching the end of yet another year filled with a combination of pleasant memories and those less memorable. It is usually at this moment that we start reflecting on what we’ve done a...

Diana Smith - avatar Diana Smith

New report shows the world is awash with fossil fuels. It's time to cut off supply

Australia's coal production is expected to jump by 34% to 2030, undercutting our climate efforts. Nikki Short/AAPA new United Nations report shows the world’s major fossil fuel producing countri...

Peter Christoff, Associate Professor, School of Geography, University of Melbourne - avatar Peter Christoff, Associate Professor, School of Geography, University of Melbourne

Enough ambition (and hydrogen) could get Australia to 200% renewable energy

Hydrogen infrastructure in the right places is key to a cleaner, cheaper energy future. ARENAThe possibilities presented by hydrogen are the subject of excited discussion across the world – and ...

Scott Hamilton, Strategic Advisory Panel Member, Australian-German Energy Transition Hub, University of Melbourne - avatar Scott Hamilton, Strategic Advisory Panel Member, Australian-German Energy Transition Hub, University of Melbourne

Dramatic and engaging, new exhibition Linear celebrates the art in Indigenous science

Maree Clarke's Men in Mourning (2011). Vivien Anderson GalleryAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this article contains images and names of deceased people. Review: Linear, Powe...

Heidi Norman, Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Heidi Norman, Professor, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney

NZ remains unscathed by US-China trade war, but that's no reason for complacency

While tariffs have a direct impact on exporters in the US and China, third-party countries like New Zealand are more affected by non-tariff barriers. EPA/Aleksandar Plavevski, CC BY-NDDespite disrupti...

Hongzhi Gao, Associate professor, Victoria University of Wellington - avatar Hongzhi Gao, Associate professor, Victoria University of Wellington

The NDIS is changing. Here's what you need to know – and what problems remain

Improving the provision of NDIS plans is a good thing. But in some parts of Australia, having a plan doesn't always mean being able to access services. From shutterstock.comNational Disability Insuran...

Helen Dickinson, Professor, Public Service Research, UNSW - avatar Helen Dickinson, Professor, Public Service Research, UNSW

Why Australia can no longer avoid responsibility for its citizens held in Syria

Detention camps in Syria hold about 100,000 Syrian and foreign family members of IS suspects. Murtaja Lateef/EPAThe small number of Australians being held in prison camps in northern Syria has been...

Anthony Billingsley, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, UNSW - avatar Anthony Billingsley, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, UNSW

An American company will test your embryos for genetic defects. But designer babies aren't here just yet

No gene for cuteness has yet been identified -- but give it time. ShutterstockDesigner baby, anyone? A New Jersey startup company, Genomic Prediction, might be able to help you. Genomic Prediction cl...

Dennis McNevin, Professor of Forensic Genetics, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Dennis McNevin, Professor of Forensic Genetics, University of Technology Sydney

Sick and Tired of Your Dead End Job? Try Teaching!

Tired of the same old grind at the office? Want an opportunity to impact lives both in your community and around the world? Do you love to travel and have new experiences? Teaching English is the perfect job for you! All you need is a willingness to ...

News Company - avatar News Company

The Impact of an Aging Population in Australia

There’s an issue on the horizon that Australia needs to prepare for. The portion of elderly citizens that make up the country’s overall population is increasing, and we might not have the infrastructure in place to support this. Australians h...

News Company - avatar News Company

LifeStyle

5 Things to Do On Your Wedding Morning

After months of meticulous planning, wedding mornings usually find the bride excited but stressed ...

How to Make Your Girlfriend’s Birthday Extra Special

Your girlfriend’s birthday is your opportunity to show her how much you care. But how exactly do...

A Guide to Building Your Kid’s Confidence

As your child grows, confidence is key. Having low self-esteem as a child can have a detrimental e...

3 Hacks that Will Extend the Life of Your Hair Extensions

Everybody has the right to enjoy beautiful, long hair, including you! If you’ve always heard a...