Mark Butler Labor President Candidate Statement


I believe Labor faces two great challenges: maintaining a unity of purpose in defeating the Abbott government; and building a stronger movement for change in this country.

I am seeking your support to become Labor's next President because I am deeply committed to achieving both these objectives – and because I have the experience, responsibilities and capacity to make a difference by working with caucus colleagues, members and affiliates.

I joined the Party more than 25 years ago and have been Labor’s Member for Port Adelaide since 2007. In the Gillard and Rudd Governments, I held various Ministerial portfolios, and now serve as Labor’s spokesperson for the Environment, Climate Change and Water.

Before entering Parliament, I worked for 15 years with United Voice, including 11 years as South Australian State Secretary. During that time, I was involved in campaigns in industries as diverse as child care, aged care, automotive components and wine. I was an active supporter of the Unions@Work reforms led by Greg Combet and led a successful campaign to allow workplace agreements to include provisions requiring non-union members to pay a “bargaining fee.”

I have been a consistent supporter of reform in our Party that delivers more influence to Party members. At the 2002 Special Labor Conference, I moved a motion that members have a direct say in electing delegates to National Conference.

Despite the recent - incredibly important - change to electing our leader, Labor provides members with less direct input to important decisions than pretty much any other labour or social-democratic party in the world. Members should have more of a say – over delegates to the National Conference and candidates for the Senate, Legislative Councils and more. These issues have been talked about for too long – it’s time National Conference finally made a decision about reforms that have been recommended by Bob Hawke, Neville Wran, John Faulkner, Bob Carr and Steve Bracks.

These reforms needn't and shouldn't diminish our Party’s links to trade unions. Those links are a mighty strength. Unions give the Party a deep connection to working families and their priorities. I worked in unions as they refined their campaigning skills under Greg Combet’s leadership and John Howard’s attacks. Five state elections in the past 15 months have reminded us how effective that campaigning can be.

I cherish the union link. The challenge is to ensure it is fit for purpose: to look at ways of broadening participation in our Party.

Let me be clear in saying that reforming our Party is not a distraction from our task of electing a Shorten Labor Government. Far from it.

I want to be Labor's President to champion our greatest strength - our membership, as together we campaign to change our country for the better.

Mark Butler MP - ALP National President Candidate

Showing 4 reactions

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  • commented 2015-04-28 13:23:39 +1000
    Certainly a clear statement supporting the reforms in the 2010 Faulkner/Carr/Bracks recommendations and efforts made to implement them.
  • commented 2015-04-27 11:08:20 +1000
    What’s important is the support for direct democracy over candidate selection and support for the political/industrial connection between Labor and the unions. That’s where our power to set the agenda comes from. I think Comrade Butler’s statement is weak in these areas.
  • commented 2015-04-24 19:58:46 +1000
    As long as you have a leader who is so far right he should be in the Liberal party, Labor will not get my vote,,, and no nor will Liberal… The party has lost its way and badly needs reform.
  • commented 2015-04-24 19:50:17 +1000
    You certainly have the support of this Lefty R&F member
    I like many of my peers would like to see John Faulkners vision enacted
    Party reform is long overdue and please new R&F waiting 12 months before they can vote is archaic
    Good luck mark