JOHN ROBERTSON BETRAYS LABOR RANK AND FILE
Morris Iemma blasts state Labor leader over Lakemba intervention
Preferred candidate: Principal of Punchbowl Boys High School, Jihad Dib. Photo: Sahlan Hayes
Former NSW premier Morris Iemma has blasted state Opposition
Leader John Robertson and Labor head office over "hypocritical" plans to
sideline branch members and install their preferred candidate Jihad Dib
to contest the seat of Lakemba at next year's election.
Mr Iemma, who held the seat for Labor for a decade, said the
likelihood that branch members would be denied a rank-and-file
preselection "flies in the face of everything that's being said
nationally and at the state level about making the party more
He noted Mr Robertson had recently used his support for
giving members a say in the election of the state parliamentary Labor
leader - mirroring the change at the federal level - to tout his reform
Labor decision "hypocritical": Former premier Morris Iemma. Photo: Nick Moir
"John Robertson stands up at the ALP state conference saying 'I'm for reform'," Mr Iemma said.
"Two weeks later he says 'let's [intervene in Lakemba]'. It's
inconsistent, to say the least. There's no justification for not
letting the 150 to 200 members of Lakemba have a say in who will
represent them in Parliament."
On Friday, sitting MP Robert Furolo announced he would not
recontest Lakemba next March, saying that after 20 years in politics
"the time is right to pursue other ways to achieve the social outcomes I
believe are important".
Bankstown mayor Khal Asfour controls the numbers in Lakemba,
but Opposition Leader John Robertson wants Mr Dib to be selected as
Labor's candidate and is believed to be pushing general secretary Jamie
Clements to make it happen.
Mr Dib is principal of Punchbowl Boys High School and has been celebrated for the good results he has achieved.
On Friday, Cr Asfour, who is being backed by Mr Iemma, confirmed his interest in contesting a preselection.
"Denying rank and file members a vote at a time when the
party is heading towards openness and transparency is not the right
option to take," he said.
Mr Robertson and Mr Clements declined to comment.
However, a Labor source claimed that Mr Iemma had also sought to intervene in preselections while premier.
In his resignation statement, Mr Furolo made a veiled reference to his resignation from shadow cabinet in 2012 after allegedly being white-anted by colleagues.
"I don’t believe I am suited to the environment within which politics and public affairs are now conducted," he said.
"While our parliaments are largely populated by people of
good will and decency, it is my view that the manner in which politics
is undertaken is less noble than it should be".