Bill Shorten's party reform plan would see union power shift

CRACKING the grip of union influence on the Australian Labor Party and attracting a broader membership base is integral to Bill Shorten's plans for party reforms, he revealed on Tuesday.

Mr Shorten outlined a raft of his proposed reforms during a speech on Tuesday, including changes to local pre-selection processes and a drive to reach 100,000 members.

The Opposition Leader, renown for his role as a factional power player, said he wanted to make sure "Labor is not the political arm of anything but the Australian people".

Key will be breaking the link between unions and upper house nominations, and putting more power in the hands of local branches.

Mr Shorten said he had already told national secretary George Wright to remove the requirements for new members to join a union.

"I would encourage state and territory parties to follow the lead of Federal Labor and elect their leaders using a 50:50 (50% vote for members, 50% for caucus) system," he said.

"From now on, intervention by the national executive should be the exception, not the rule," he said.

Mr Shorten also outlined plans to give party members voting in preselections extra weight in those ballots, to the tune of 20% for House of Representative seats with 300 or more local members.

The reforms will be led by a major review of the Labor Party's national platform in time for the next national conference in 2015.


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