Life member complains

by Chris Griffith
Written 7 February 1996


my face


A Labor Party life member yesterday said he would write to state secretary Mike Kaiser over what he called the party's "appalling treatment" of volunteer workers during last week's Mundingburra by-election.

Sam Morris, currently a member of the ALP's Park Avenue branch in Rockhampton and a party member since 1956, said the Labor hierarchy had treated its volunteers shabbily after polling booths closed in Mundingburra last Saturday night.

Mr Morris will clock up 40 years of continuous membership with Labor on March 2nd, the day of the federal election.

His complaint yesterday was rejected by party assistant secretary Peter Shooter.

Mr Morris said ALP branch members from Mt Isa, Tully, Charters Towers, Bowen, and Rockhampton had converged on Townsville to assist local branches.

The 64-year-old veteran member said he had caught the train from Rockhampton to Townsville, worked on polling booths from 9 am to 6 pm "with hardly a break", cut tomatoes and onions, and then had "prepared the beer" for the party's election night bash.

Despite all his work, Mr Morris said he and other campaign workers had been treated shabbily by the party's hierarchy which , among other things, had not allowed them to witness the count from candidate Tony Mooney's office.

"I wanted to go and see the count in Mooney's campaign office, but we were all locked out. They simply didn't want to know us."

But Labor assistant secretary Peter Shooter said Mr Morris had not been discriminated against. He said party volunteers and the media had been prevented from entering the campaign office because workers inside had been concentrating on collating results.

"You don't need 30 people running around distracting attention from six people trying to collate the information as rapidly and as accurately as possible.

"The inference that people were being treated poorly against or discriminated against is unfair. All the information was made available to the party function."

Mr Morris said the Labor party had not provided its workers with a progressive tally of votes during the count.