Labor needs to broaden base

Labor needs to broaden base by Martin Foley and Andrew Giles

Published in The Australian Financial Review on 4 February 2014. Available online.

Labor needs to transform into a 21st - century party to be best placed to secure the confidence of the Australian people.

Last year we successfully moved resolutions at Victorian Labor's conference designed to work towards a 21st- century party. This year's conference must complete that process and acknowledge the extraordinary impact of last year's leadership election.

At a time when populist politics is emerging across the world and challenging the base of social democratic parties, Labor must continue to be representative as well as responsible. We must ensure that we give political space to all those whom we seek to represent. Too many parts of Labor's electoral coalition feel alienated from formal politics.

When campaigning for the Labor leadership, Bill Shorten said "Labor members should be more involved and be more empowered." It's time for the organisational wing of Labor to catch up.

We must work through what a 21st -century party looks like, and how it must work This is a big conversation - and one that should involve the thousands of Labor members and supporters. People are looking for not just an alternative government, but for a bigger say in developing this alternative. Our challenge is: how do we give more people more of a say in our movement for change? Let's, as British Labour leader Ed Miliband has said, "let people back into our politics ".

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