Monday 14 March 2011

Outspoken Cairns Labor unionist removed from meeting ahead of expulsion today

One of Labor's most outspoken and charismatic members in Queensland, local Electrical Trades Union organiser, Stuey Traill, is expected to be removed from the Labor Party at tonight's meeting of the administration community.

Traill, who has been a member of the Australian Labor Party since 2005, was removed from a party meeting yesterday, ahead of tonight's vote that will consider his expulsion, along with fellow unionist, Peter Simpson.

Stuey Traill, who has been publicly critical of his party since Labor was re-elected in Queensland two years ago, when they reneged on their Party's Platform, to not privatise State assets. Traill has repeatedly spoken out about what he sees as hypocritical.

Stuey Traill and Peter Simpson have been found guilty of conspiring to form another political party, following reports that the Electrical Trades Union will consider if they will remain a member of the Labor Party.

Traill has said that the story around forming a new party is ''bullshit,'' ''..and the ALP knows it.''

Yesterday's branch meeting at Brother's League Club in Cairns, took a vote if Traill should remain, whilst his membership was still being considered. Mike Bailey of the Australian Workers Union was the proponent to remove the outspoken Stuey Traill. Bailey is commonly known as Bill Ludwick's stooge in Cairns. Ludwig is head of the AWU faction in the party and also a member of the ALP National Executive. Mike Bailey, as acting chair of the meeting, had previously stepped aside as branch president, so Tim Grau could take on the role to give profile before being selected as the Cairns candidate and Boyle's replacement.

Traill's party membership is still current, yet there is heightened tension around today's administration committee meeting that will consider the memberships of Trail and Simpson.

There is likely to be some discussion around this membership issue, however Traill is still a fully paid-up member of the ALP.

''I thought it would be important that I attended the branch meeting,'' Traill told CairnsBlog. ''Then Mike Bailey rules [to remove me]."

Sitting Cairns MP Desley Boyle arrived just as Stuey Traill was asked to leave the meeting.

"I asked Boyle to speak in favour of a motion that if I am expelled, that my [membership] money to be donated to the Cyclone Yasi appeal." Traill said yesterday. ''I don't want the stinking ALP, if they expel me, to have one cent of my money.''

Traill told the meeting as he was leaving that the ALP was established as a political voice of the trade unions movement, not the other way around.

"This is a disgraceful day in ALP history,'' Stuey Traill said as he left the meeting. ''You continue to tell us how to do our job. It will always be the other way around. Have a look whats going on in Japan right now. Once you get rid of us out of the ALP and the AWU gets control of the conference floor, we'll end up with uranium mining and power stations in our back yards. ''

Mike Bailey was challenged why Stuey Trail couldn't remain in yesterday's meeting. However there is significant support for the popular and vocal Traill, who attracts a strong following from the core of the party.

"There is a last ditch attempt to save Stuey," a party member of 15 years told CairnsBlog in confidence, amid a vow of secrecy in speaking publicly whilst the expulsion is being considered. "They are that sensitive about anyone speaking about this, but he has a huge amount of support in local Labor. There's absolutely no doubt about that. They don't want to see him go. Some may think he's outspoken or controversial, but a lot of them are saying is does not warrant kicking him out."

Similar membership terminations have also been underway in the local LNP with various expulsions, including Vic Black, who was a candidate for pre-selection as a candidate for the seat of Cairns.

"People are really rallying for Stuey, and they are saying these are the causes we need to stick to and people like Stuey speak up," the party member said.

It is understood that the party's ruling disputes committee has already made a decision to terminate Stuey Traill's membership, and today's administration committee will just rubber stamp it. However in the last week there has been some fierce lobbying to the party hierarchy to not go ahead with the membership terminations, with many believing it is destruction to the party.

"Brisbane is saying 'let's get rid of him, he's a trouble-maker' but that's not what the majority in Cairns want or are saying," the local member said late yesterday. "Stuey has a lot of support in the local media up here, and he has something worthwhile to say."


Leigh Dall'Osto said...

I read somewhere recently a comment regarding a separate issue that stated 'I might not agree with everything that you say but I will fight for your right to say it.'

You will find that the core membership of the Labor Party holds that same view, including myself.

Debate is important to any party as without it we would not be open to change where it's needed or alternative views, which should always be given a voice.

Removing those within any party (same applies to Vic Black) who speak out about real problems they see within a party they have a passion for, will leave us with myopic policy and disenfranchise those who agree with the sentiment expressed.

Surely any party should be listening to it's members, rather than expelling them to keep them silent. If they truly believe that the treatment of these members is likely to keep them quiet, they have not met the members in question.

It's my understanding that these members have all approached the party with their concerns first, received less than satisfactory responses, THEN gone public.

Whatever the thoughts and opinions of Stuart and his outspoken views, party members from all factions need to support his right to express them and those in the far south could do themselves a favour and acknowledge the fact that these views are not held by these two members alone.

Bryan Law said...

Just when you think the ALP can't get any more stupid than it already is. Who are these people who believe the Labor movement is their own personal plaything? Let's face it, Mike Bailey, Desley Boyle, and Tim Grau would be slave-owners if they thought they could get away with it. Scabs.

Alison Alloway said...

I think when political parties start doing this, they open up a Pandora's box of conflict and bitterness and set precedents for more expulsions. We have seen dissent with Queensland Government policy on other occasions in the past couple of years, by Labor Party members. Take the contentious issue of fluoride and the age old issue of decriminalising abortion for examples. Many Labor people have actively demonstrated their opposition to Government policy on these.

Paul Johnson said...

Good on you Stuey for sticking up for what you believe is right.

D.J.HUNT said...

Says a lot about the people involved not prepared to say things to his face.

Matt CYP said...

Disagreeing publicly about policy is one thing, actively campaigning against your party's candidates is quite another.

And no, Mr Traill does not have significant support amongst party members.

If he has been expelled, it is only at the end of a long and well understood process that provided ample opportunity for a defence.

Unlike the LNP, who banked Mr Black's preselection nomination fee just before the local heirarchy abruptly expelled him.

Neisha Keys said...

I find it extremely frustrating when people like Matt CYP refer to comments allegedly made by Stuart, trusting without question that the media accurately reported word for word his comments.
I would have thought that people were smart enough not to believe everything they read in the commercial media.
If you actually take the time to talk to Stuart, you would know that at no point has he said that he or the ETU intended on forming a separate party to run against the Labor party, no has their intention ever been to campaign against the Labor party, but rather campaign FOR Labor party platform and the core principles of the Labor party that it's candidates and MP's are supposed to represent. If party office, candidates and MP's actually reaffirmed and complied with their Labor Party pledge which involves a commitment to uphold the ALP constitution and Platforms, the ETU and it's supporters would not have had to engage in any such campaign, it never should have been an issue.
Furthermore, references made about alternative candidates, were in relation to requests from ETU members that a number of options be investigated into how best the Union could participate in the political arena that would be in the best interests of ETU members and the community at large.
This information is then to be presented to rank and file ETU members at their biennial branch conference, which is the peak decision making body of the ETU and where the initiatives, including political affiliation are determined by the membership to be applicable to the next two years.
It is worth noting that Stuart doesn't have a vote at the biennial conference because as a democratic Union the ETU does not stack the conference with officers of the Union, preferring instead to listen to their members and offer all options to them so that they can make an informed decision.
I would like to congratulate Stuart Traill, Peter Simpson and the ETU for standing up for their members, the community and the principles of the Labor Party.

Vaughn said...

Matt CYP, you might want to get your facts straight in regards to Stuey Traill before making further comment.

Stuey has widespread support in the community because he speaks up for what he and many others believe in, and that includes local Labor Party membership.

What state Labor has done in regard to the asset sales is totally against their own party platform. Anna Bligh is leading our state under false pretences, being elected on a totally dishonest campaign. What she has done during the flood and cyclone disasters in no way excuses her and her government, for their disgraceful dishonesty and arrogance.

All Stuey is doing is attempting to reclaim the Labor Party for the working class it is supposed to represent.

Members of the ETU and other unions have a right to representation within the Labor Party. What use is a political party if its members all toe the party line and cannot cop criticism when they deserve it.

Do your research into the state asset sales process and you will find that it was well and truly underway before the last election.