Is Shearer going to call for a full membership vote?

January 19th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Eddie at The Standard blogs:

Word around the traps is that David Shearer is going to use his state of the nation speech next weekend to announce that he will put his leadership to full membership vote in February. If it’s true, and it’s a big if, it’s a ballsy but smart move politically and a welcome sign that Labour’s leadership is embracing democracy.

It’s no secret that Labour’s membership is pretty pissed off with the way that the old guard launched a decapitation strike on Cunliffe the moment that the membership decided on a democratic leadership election process.

Honouring the membership’s desire to have a genuine say will go a long way to bringing Labour and its base back together. Refusing to have a vote could only be taken as a tacit acknowledgement that the old guard thinks Shearer would lose a race, and the legitimacy question of a leader who appears afraid of his own members would remain. Taking the initiative would put that to rest and earn praise from even his staunchest critics.

In fact, by taking the front foot, Shearer will probably ensure that he wins the race, possibly even without serious opposition. Winning that vote would put to rest the murmurings that would otherwise follow him indefinitely.

It will be very interesting to see if this speculation is correct.

While it is a risk for Shearer, it would dampen down the unhappy activists, and unite most of the party behind him. But what would Cunliffe do? If Shearer calls a party wide vote and wins, then Cunliffe has little hope of redemption.

So what would Cunlife have to lose by standing? The activists I think would back Cunliffe overall, but the caucus Shearer. That would leave it to the unions to decide. They’ll go with which candidate offers them the best policies to boost their finances and power.

No tag for this post.

36 Responses to “Is Shearer going to call for a full membership vote?”

  1. Pete George (23,357 comments) says:

    This post be ‘Eddie’ should be viewed with a lot of skepticism. It was ‘Eddie’ who kicked of the anti-Shearer furore on The Standard in the week leading up to the conference. Of course he/she said they was simply innocently expressing their opinion about Sheare’s leadership and it had no connection with Cunliffe, who got dumped not long after.

    Someone or some faction within Labour is obviously trying to play power games using the ‘Eddie’ pseudonym. Is it pro-Cunliffe? Pro-Shearer? Roberston manouvering? Mallard fumbling?

    It doesn’t really matter, whoever/whatever is behind ‘Eddie’ it is some sort of attempt to use The Standard to warngle some sort of support and momentum, be it positive or negative in relation to Shearer’s leadership.

    It would be surprising if ‘Eddie’ is am official Labour leadership tool, it’s a bizarre and very risky way to try and jack up a political outcome.

    This makes a mockery of the legitimate use of pseudonyms online. Because the identity and connections within Labour of ‘Eddie’ are unknown by most people it is effectively an anonymous attempt to manipulate opinion and support.

    Use of ‘Eddie’ is as dishonest as, for example, the Exclusive Bretheren attempt to influence an election.

    Openness and honesty are essentials in good politics. Labour membership voted for greater openness and better democratic processes at their conference.

    ‘Eddie’ could be a front the Exclusive Comrades for all most people know – and speculation will be rife and fully justified on the identities and motives that ‘Eddie’ are trying to mask.

    Those who are still allowed to participate at The Standard should be raising their eyebrows at how they are being used, but they will probably lower their eyes and get sucked into the playground.

    Everyone should be very skeptical of a brazen move by an anonymous blogger.

    And Labour Party members should be considering if this is how they want the power plays to be done in their party.

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  2. Reid (16,111 comments) says:

    They’ll go with which candidate offers them the best policies to boost their finances and power.

    Yes they will. Isn’t it interesting that while the unions sell themselves as being all valiant and righteous in their courageous defence of the innocent and the down-trodden, when it comes down to actions they’re one of the most venal, self-serving institutions in our society, if not the most, on a consistent year by year decade by decade basis.

    Which demonstrates to those with eyes, that they have no principles at all.

    What do we expect from a bunch of commies, after all?

    But you’d think since it’s always happened all the time I’ve been alive, that at least some of their members might have got a clue at least some of the time in past, wouldn’t you. But no

    And for Liarbore party members to have tolerated nay encouraged this cancerous and corrosive influence in their midst over the years, shows either that they’re completely stupid or that they lack principles, as well.

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  3. Paulus (2,568 comments) says:

    They will go with who they think can win them the next election irrespective of any great ideals.

    Robertson will not mind which way it goes as he will wait to pounce one day and he will await his timing. But he will not back Cunliffe – way too powerful for him – he remains a creep.
    He will wait for Shearer to fall (and will silently and quietly assist in this – who me ?)

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  4. Pete George (23,357 comments) says:

    David Shearer has his leadership in the bag and will be uncontested in February according to Te Reo Putake at The Standard (he seems to be in a different faction to ‘Eddie’).

    You have never seen much cheerleading for Shearer from me, though his speech at conference was the best speech I’ve seen for a decade, so fair do’s to the man. I don’t think he is the best person to lead Labour (barely in my top 5) but the fact is he is the leader and will be PM in a couple of years. I really don’t much care at all which MP leads Labour (or the Greens), I’m actually concerned about policy, not personality.

    But the continued fixation with Shearer at TS is getting boring. The real story in this post is the blue line, which keeps falling. Labour and the Greens are doing fine. They are in the box seat already and that is before either of them go into campaign mode.

    Shearer’s conference speech was ok, relative to his previous efforts, but it was hardly the best speech in a decade, good grief.

    The faux optimism continues:

    In the politics of this century, the consistant decline shown by National is a clear pointer to the outcome of the next election, which will be won by the opposition.

    TRP has been making similar claims of certain victory in other threads (albeit notably always Labour+Greens, never Labour recovering to levels of support they had in the Clark years).

    But TRP is not so much the Voice of Reason he makes himself out to be, he’s a Voice In Isolation. He is facing growing opposition to his fairy tale views at The Standard.

    Most commenters are frustrated at the lack of traction under Shearer’s Labour leadership – and they dread Shearer matching up against Key in the next election campaign. At least Goff went into the last campaign with extensive experience. Shearer still struggles with any communication that isn’t carefully scripted and rehearsed.

    Apart from a couple of unconvincing cheerleaders (TRP being one) Labour and Shearer continue to be heavily criticised by their own activists at The Standard.

    The “Eddie’ post may stir tyhe activists up into the leadup to the caucus vote but it’s not looking likley the infighting will abate any time soon.

    And without a significant change to strong leadership it’s difficult to see much improvement in the medium term either. Despite TRP trying to talk up a win the 2014 election is impossible to call at this stage, there is too much yet to happen – and in the case of Shearer, possibly too much that won’t happen.

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  5. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    “David Shearer has his leadership in the bag and will be uncontested in February according to Te Reo Putake at The Standard (he seems to be in a different faction to ‘Eddie’).”

    The real news is that none of us actually give a fuck! :)

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  6. Nostalgia-NZ (5,045 comments) says:

    Despite whoever ‘Eddie’ is the point he makes is correct, even if it is some kind of entrapment as Pete George suggests. Shearer should put in on the line February – only one way to ‘own’ them and show who is boss, a necessary ‘risk’ which if he doesn’t take he’ll be criticised for and his leadership damaged. It may also construct a mindset of constructive support rather than destructive.

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  7. calendar girl (1,203 comments) says:

    It seems to me that what happens within the Labour Party or on The Standard is for the members / promoters of those institutions to worry about. Unless I fall into one of those two categories, it’s not for me to concern myself with how they choose to operate or how they choose to regulate themselves. (That includes use or non-use of pseudonyms.)

    It’s a quite different matter when it comes to Party policy. All of us have a legitimate interest in that.

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  8. Reid (16,111 comments) says:

    The real news is that none of us actually give a fuck!

    Yes isn’t it a desperate shame for the pinkos that they remain struggling in the water like mortally wounded fish while the Gweens serenely eat away at their life-blood as it ebbs slowly away.

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

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  9. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    So once again, for the umpthteen time, David Farrar says union decide votes in the Labour party and they only vote in their own interest. Is there evidence for this conspiracy theory? What if different unions vote differently? Or are they of one group mind under the control of some mysterious power …

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  10. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    No, they are just ‘the unions’, a monolithic bogeyman talked about to scare ordinary honest Kiwi voters.

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  11. Pete George (23,357 comments) says:

    It’s quite likely ‘the unions’ might prefer one candidate over another – the unions fairly clearly preferred Cunliffe over Shearer. Therefore there’s no reason why with 20% of the vote ‘the unions’ could be a decisive bloc in a leadership vote.

    It’s worth noting the unusual democratic balance in Labour’s party vote for leadership.
    40% – 34 MPs
    40% – a few thousand party members
    20% – a few affiliate delegates representing many thosands of union members.

    Of course it only comes to that vote if over 40% of the 34 MPs vote to send the leadership to the party vote.

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  12. Reid (16,111 comments) says:

    So once again, for the umpthteen time, David Farrar says union decide votes in the Labour party and they only vote in their own interest. Is there evidence for this conspiracy theory?

    It’s called history.

    What if different unions vote differently?

    But they never fucking do, do they. Sure maybe on minor points of order but on issues like Liarbore’s leader, they vote en mass and they always have. Just like the Commies used to do when they “elected” a new Politburo.

    No, they are just ‘the unions’, a monolithic bogeyman talked about to scare ordinary honest Kiwi voters.

    mm perhaps if the unions didn’t act like a monolithic bogeyman quite so often, the ordinary honest Kiwi voter wouldn’t be quite so scared of them. The poor things, they’re victims as well. Awwwwww. The poor widdle ordinary honest Kiwi voter. Taken advantage of by big bad meanies like some of us above, who talk about the unions in a dispawaging and discouwaging manner.

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  13. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    If Shearer puts his leadership to a full membership vote that over-rides the requirement of a 40% call in the caucus.

    How do you know the “unions” (plural) fairly clearly preferred Cunliife? Was there a straw poll including each union leader?

    Is there a plan to block vote a union majority preference that you know of?

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  14. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    Reid, if it is history, care to post any evidence of past union votes for leadership where they block voted and this was based on union self interest.

    Or is the only history, the conspiracy theory about the unions and there has never been any evidence.

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  15. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    SPC
    Reid has already told us what ‘the unions’ will do, because he just knows it is so.

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  16. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    PS Is the lisping affectation, when referring to the left, designed to show you in the pose of a right wing strongman. Does this enhance the credibility of each and every conspiracy theory that is presented to (or by) fellow right wingers?

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  17. Reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Is the lisping affectation, when referring to the left, designed to show you in the pose of a right wing strongman.

    Yes.

    Does this enhance the credibility of each and every conspiracy theory that is presented to (or by) fellow right wingers?

    I don’t know. Does it?

    I see.

    Reid has already told us what ‘the unions’ will do, because he just knows it is so.

    Well it’s what history has told me mm so I don’t know why you object to me basing my judgement on things that really have happened in history, I thought that was what I was supposed to do. Silly me. I do apologise.

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  18. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Yes Reid, but ‘history’ has also told you many strange things about space aliens, Masons, templars, 9/11 etc. So you should understand that when you make sweeping claims to know about the specific actions of trade unions in New Zealand that some might want you to provide evidence for your bland assertions. Not that I expect you wil provide such evidence.

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  19. Pete George (23,357 comments) says:

    “How do you know the “unions” (plural) fairly clearly preferred Cunliife?”

    It’s just my reading of support as expressed at TS. The activists there include union interests, and there was a lot of talk of union support for Cunliffe and unions not liking Shearer, who is seen as weak and right wing/neo-liberal. And no one disputed those views.

    Obviously if it doesn’t go to a party vote in February we won’t know for sure.

    How much union support do you think Shearer has?

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  20. Bill (94 comments) says:

    Te Rea Putake on The Standard is also The Voce of Pagani. He cannot engineer any argument as to why Shearer should be supported, given, he readily admits, that Shearer has failed to make any improvement in Labours support.

    One imagines him heading down the line to Wellington on a regular basis to get his instructions. Unfortunately his masters do not have a rationale other than holding on to their jobs. Hence his inability to put forward an argument other than don’t rock the boat.

    Poor fella. His work colleagues voted for the 60/40 split at Confence to he amazement of the Caucus and TRP. TRP had said the affiliates would be staunch for Shearer. Duh! He is now scraping hard to recover favour with Josie and Trev. Twit. The blind following the blind.

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  21. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    Pete, I do not think the views of the occasional union activist on a blog indicates the way that even the union they are a member of will vote, let alone other unions.

    As to what I think – the person favoured to win will get more union support than they would otherwise. And Shearer will do better in a vote that he allows to occur than in one he seeks to prevent.

    As to why take the risk, uniting the party increases the chances of winning in 2014. Unions appreciate the importance of winning as much as anyone. So taking this move would increase their respect for him.

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  22. Reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Yes Reid, but ‘history’ has also told you many strange things about space aliens, Masons, templars, 9/11 etc. So you should understand that when you make sweeping claims to know about the specific actions of trade unions in New Zealand that some might want you to provide evidence for your bland assertions. Not that I expect you wil provide such evidence.

    mm we’re not talking about those things are we. We’re talking about Liarbore’s cancerous and corrosive beating heart of festering poisonous fetid resident and feted very own in-house evil called ‘the Unions.” You know all about those, apparently. So why the heck don’t you just look up the Liarbore party’s own records and find out who the cancerous and corrosive filth voted for in past leadership elections and how they behave on all the big important strategic issues. Do they do it, according to the records as a bloc, or are they all over the place, like a gaggle of spastic geese who’ve forgotten how to fly at all, let alone in formation?

    I admit that’s not evidence mm but if you wish to continue this line then you’ll have to disprove me by showing me history that disproves my contention. I just don’t want to delve into the history of the Liarbore party you see. I just don’t care enough. But if you wish to allege I’m wrong, then show me leadership elections and strategic matters where they didn’t. And BTW, one or two examples ten years apart, doesn’t break the trend, and I’ve been talking trend, as you know.

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  23. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    Reid, but to quote Henry (there is a hole in my bucket dear Liza a hole), there is no past leadership vote that includes anyone but members of caucus.

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  24. Pete George (23,357 comments) says:

    “uniting the party increases the chances of winning in 2014.”

    Obviously, but there has been scant sign of any serious attempt at uniting, in fact the divisions have been more apparent as the factional fighting continues.

    Also, attracting support from outside the party increases the chances of winning in 2014.

    There is a sickness in Labour from the top down where anyone deemed to be an opponent is attack and excluded. That happens within the party, and it is rife on blogs and other social media forums where I’ve seen potential Labour supporters rejected because they are deemed for some reason an enemy. And Labour members have expressed frustration and despair at the negative way the party operates.

    So Te Reo etc are left thinking that all they have to do is attract the support of the 800,000 who choose not to vote, because anyone who might be a swing voter and could vote for someone else is an enemy, and they wouldn’t lower themselves to appealing to dirt like that.

    I’ve often seen people who say they have voted Labour and would consider it again if there are signs of decent reform and rebuilding, but they are abused and told to piss off, and if they don’t they are harrassed off – Te Reo heads that welcoming committee (at least he does most of the dirty work for it at The Standard).

    Te Reo talks as if all Labour have to do is turn up at the election and they are in Government. Others have suggested that caucus thinks this way too. They do openly concede Greens are a necessary component but they show no sign of treating the Greens with any respect, they are simply numbers needed to get power.

    Suggesting that maybe there are better ways of promoting Labour interests is a cardinal sin.

    And that isn’t confined to blogs. I’ve experienced similar attitudes elsewhere in the party, including with MPs. They only want loyal subjects and servants who will never criticise.

    Shearer has no sign of addressing this cancer – he’s been more of a stimulant to it spreading. I don’t see Cunliffe being able to do anything about it either, he’s seen as a tumour by many within the party hierarchy.

    Which is all a huge shame, because our democracy and our parliament badly needs a strong and credible opposition, or National are left with a free ride, stumbling to mediocrity as they did last year.

    The outlook for the quality of our politics is grim.

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  25. Reid (16,111 comments) says:

    there is no past leadership vote that includes anyone but members of caucus.

    How did the ex-unionists in caucus vote in those elections as a trend, SPC?

    The outlook for the quality of our politics is grim.

    Yes Pete but you get the democracy you deserve and unfortunately while we have the society we have it will keep getting worse and worse.

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  26. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Reid made an assertion about union bloc voting. Having made (up) that assertion, it’s now up to others to disprove it. As he said on another thread when justifying his bat-shit crazy conspiracy notions: ‘one day long ago I turned that question round in my mind and started asking myself when reading this stuff, why couldn’t it be true?’ That sets a new standard of truth = imagination for Reid.

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  27. Pete George (23,357 comments) says:

    you get the democracy you deserve and unfortunately while we have the society we have it will keep getting worse and worse.

    Yes, probably. Unless enough of society demands things are done different, better. Politicians have become our masters operating too much in their own bubbles, and they should be our servants. It’s hard to know if this can be changed, because it will take real determination and non-political leadership.

    The power of the people has worked before and could lead the way again. The problem currently is the clear leader is apathy. Life is too easy (relatively) for most people for them to be bothered striving for better with anything apart from consumption driven selfishness.

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  28. Pete George (23,357 comments) says:

    mm – I’ve heard from a number of sources that the affiliates in general prefer Cunliffe to Shearer. It seems to be accepted as a given. And I haven’t seen anyone challenge that. Do you know any different?

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  29. SPC (5,473 comments) says:

    Affiliates simply favoured being included in the selection of leader and the lower 40% threshold in caucus for a leadership contest. The latter was taken as a signn of preference for Cunliffe, it is no such thing – only if one is paranoid in caucus.

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  30. Kimble (4,417 comments) says:

    Is this where we discuss DPFs weight loss?

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  31. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    DPF – your weight loss programme has impacted on you ability to think clearly……….

    “While it is a risk for Shearer, it would dampen down the unhappy activists, and unite most of the party behind him”

    Now that calls for a total change in the way Labour operate – it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to unite – unless the alternate is something like physical torture.

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  32. Pete George (23,357 comments) says:

    barry: “Now that calls for a total change in the way Labour operate – it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to unite”

    The way they operate, in caucus and in social media, suggests no change, just more of the same secrecy and subterfuge using dishonest anonymity.

    The post at The Standard is just Another Eddie in murky Labour waters.

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  33. tvb (4,263 comments) says:

    While the Labour Party indulges itself with this leadership farce over many weeks it would be very tempting for John key to call a snap election. Get a popular issue dare the Labour Party and others to vote it down and seek a mandate. Impossible I know but surely there must be something around.

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  34. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    tvb
    Asset sales? More seriously, the conventional wisdom is that voters would punish a government that called a snap election without sufficient cause. Labour got lucky in 2002 after the Alliance collapsed, but most New Zealand governments cling to every bit of time they are allowed.

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  35. Bill (94 comments) says:

    Over on The Standard they are saying that Shearer is trying to avoid a leadership challenge by promising to have a one-leader endorsement tour to win the members support. That is a desperate plan.

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  36. kiwi in america (2,486 comments) says:

    mikenmild
    I’ll give you some evidence of union block voting – in the selection for Mike Moore’s replacement for Waimakariri in 1999. I was a witness to all of these procedings at the tail end of my days with Labour.

    Clayton Cosgrove was favoured to win the selection as Mike’s chosen and long time protege. The Labour head office and the sisterhood wanted to purge the party of any vestiges of Rogernomics and Mike Moore who refused to recant and do their bidding. Having deposed him as leader in 1994 they set about trying to systematically drive out of the caucus (and any offices of influence in the party) any of his key supporters. Clark and Dyson were so succesful that they managed to also drive away various once core Labour constituencies hence the crap the party is now in but I digress.

    Head Office decided to back a local union hack of limited ability and even more limited electoral appeal. On the day of the selection meeting, various union delegates showed up carrying the block votes of the various unions affiliated to the Canterbury LRC (Labour Regional Council) – people who never showed up at any meetings, made no contribution to the local running of the electorate, were always vocal in saying they’d support Mike at election time and then never lifted a finger to help. These goons tried to use the union block vote to ensure one of their own was elected as the floor delegate to the selection panel to thus side with the 3 automatic head office votes in an attempt to overwhelm the 3 local LEC delegates known to be loyal to Mike and Clayton.

    Fortunately Mike and his team were prepared and knew that the unions would try this tactic. First Mike and Clayton ensured that the Waimakariri electorate had the requisite higher level of paid up party members to ensure 3 LEC delegates on the selection panel (as opposed to the usual 2 that almost all Labour electorates qualified for due to smaller numbers of financial members). To ensure we won the floor vote, we essentially packed the meeting by undertaking a considerable effort to personally contact every financial member of the party (and thus entitled to vote) to advise them of the unions’ (and thus Head Office’s) tactics. Good hard working salt of the earth Labour grass roots supporters were annoyed at this attempted rort and came out in droves to not only thwart the attempt at union block voting but to shout down the union goon who they put up to be their preferred candidate. In almost any other electorate in the country, the union block vote would’ve suceeded and indeed the preponderance of former unionists in Labour’s truncated post 2011 caucus is testament to the power of the union block vote in making sure their preferred candidates (usually from the own ranks or someone at least sympathetic to union tactics and methods) were selected for safe electorate seats of high enough on the list rankings.

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