A Defence of the Socialist Objective

Our Opposition Leader in NSW has encouraged a debate within the Party of what is an appropriate “Objective” for the 21st Century (http://www.lukefoley.com.au/wran_lecture). I listened to Luke’s address and whilst I recognise the thrust and the genuineness of the sentiments of much of his argument, I (and am sure others who read or listened to it) would feel if not offended, certainly disappointed, in his analysis and commentary specifically on the socialist objective. 

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Labor’s Values and Objective

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At the 2014 NSW Conference, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen moved an urgency motion that called for Labor to write a new objective for the party. The Conference, shamefully, was first informed of the motion through the pages of The Australian on the Saturday morning of Conference.

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Debating Our Socialist Objective

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In 1921, the ALP adopted its socialist objective. The objective was amended a number of times since 1921 with its current form adopted in 1981.

The current objective outlines Labor's commitment to the  “democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields.”

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Our Socialist Objective Is What Makes Us Labor

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On the same day the NSW Labor Conference voted to do away with our party’s socialist objective, the Tasmanian Labor Conference unanimously supported this motion:

Conference recognises the Australian Labor Party’s socialist objective as the great ideal from which our movement draws its common purpose.

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Labor's Enduring Purpose

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On Saturday, the NSW ALP Conference debated a proposal to replace Labor's socialist objective. I made a short speech, defending the core principles of social democracy, and the enduring importance of our history.

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