Sydney, 30th Aug, 2015
Senator Lisa Singh from ALP is a popular and hard working politician. She is high profile too. She is particularly popular in, and liked by, Indian Australian community because of her Indian heritage, beside her abilities and leadership.
She received one of the prominent awards from Government of India “Pravasi Bhartiya Samman” for her exceptional service and contribution as a person of Indian heritage not long ago. This award is only for people of Indian heritage living outside India. Her father is a Fiji-Indian and mother is from English Australian background. She has been covered by almost all Indian ethnic media in Australia. She did reach out to various groups in Indian Australian community. She is an endearing, not polarising, person. She is an asset to ALP.
She is a member of Emily’s List and had co-founded Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation.
She is a very productive member of the Senate and is a great orator. She is currently a shadow Parliamentary Secretary.
I have listened and interacted with her in various events and gatherings.
She has had extensive political and governmental responsibilities in Tasmania, and this included a position as a Minister, before being elected as a Senator in 2010. She was the first person with Indian heritage who was elected to the Senate then.
People including I expected her to be re-elected for the second term in The Senate, but, with recent developments, this seems unlikely.
Due to very peculiar voting for preselection, little-known John Short, secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union will replace Lisa Singh and occupy the winnable 3rd spot in the list. Lisa Singh will be at the 4th place which is an unwinnable place.
SMH article explains it nicely. (http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bill-shortens-hopes-of-more-female-mps-ignored-as-union-numbers-used-to-dump-sitting-senator-20150828-gja0ay.html) I quote the relevant SMH article paragraphs.
“Of the 542 votes cast by members, senators Urquhart and Polley received 221 and 123 respectively, with the unaligned Senator Singh close behind on 110. Mr Short was some way back with 74 votes, with the remaining 14 going to others.
However, that tally made up only half of the final result because under state ALP rules the 100 union votes are then combined with another 100 conference delegates – both of which are factionally organised – and their combined total of 200 is weighted to make them equivalent to the 542 rank-and-file votes.
Based on a loading formula in which each union-conference vote is worth 2.72 rank-and-file votes, the two halves resulted in Mr Short jumping ahead by a wafer-thin four votes, on 158 to Senator Singh on 154.
That meant he won the third and final winnable position, relegating her to the unelectable fourth spot.”
I and many others are disappointed and unhappy with this result because;
- it is not right for ALP to continue and allow excessive and disproportionate influence of Unions when Unions have only about 18% of Australian workforce as their members
- it is not right for ALP to relegate the views and choices of rank and file this blatantly in preference to Unions’ interests
- ALP should promote and support a performing and sitting Senator in preference to an untested Union member
- ALP should execute its professed policy of promoting women in its leadership, and Lisa Singh matter is a perfect example where this policy should be demonstrated and executed
- Federal Labor and leader Bill Shorten should intervene and endorse Senator Singh at the 3rd place in its Senators’ list.
- Bill Shorten and Federal Labor should do the right thing and demonstrate their commitments to encourage participation of women in its leadership and Parliaments.
- ALP should dismantle the entrenched stranglehold of Unions in its processes and pre-selections. Unions are known to do a lot of good jobs, and I know it first hand, but there is no justification for their excessive and disproportionate influence and powers in ALP or any political party. ALP will do a lot of favours to itself if it acted in this direction and gave much more importance to the voices of its rank and file.