ON Friday the national executive of the Labor Party looks like choosing Daniel Repacholi as the candidate to replace Joel Fitzgibbon in the seat of Hunter, despite calls by Labor branches for a rank and file vote for the best local candidate ('Dan locked and loaded, Newcastle Herald, 18/9).
At a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, many members expressed their outrage about Mr Repacholi (pictured) being "given" this honour without a local vote. As shown in news outlets, Mr Repacholi has had to delete questionable and salacious social media posts from the past.
Consequently, Labor branch members on Tuesday absolutely supported the right of at least two excellent local candidates who will nominate to the Labor national executive to be a more fitting candidate for the seat of Hunter.
In 50 years as a member of the Labor Party, I have not seen such outrage! Sanity has to prevail!
Stephen Dewar, Toronto
CFMEU backs Repacholi
I HAVE known Daniel Repacholi for 10 years and in that time, he has impressed me with his values, character and hard work.
Daniel is a proud Hunter Valley local, who is currently raising his young family in Cessnock.
Daniel is an elite sportsman and has competed in multiple Olympic and Commonwealth Games as a sports shooter. Daniel's achievements in his sport, which include gold and bronze Commonwealth medals, speak to his commitment and determination to work hard and achieve his very best.
Like many in the Hunter Region, an area which has the highest proportion of coal jobs in NSW, Daniel is closely associated with the coal mining industry. Daniel is a fitter by trade and a former coal miner at the Mt Thorley Warkworth mine. Whilst working at the Mt Thorley Warkworth mine, Daniel was an active and committed union member.
During his employment at the mine, Daniel won the trust and friendship of his workmates. Those workmates, along with the union Lodge and District, were delighted to support him at the London Olympics and Glasgow Commonwealth Games. We all took pride in his achievements, as a local coal miner, on the world stage.
Daniel continues to work in the coal industry in mining services. Daniel continues to perform at the highest level in his sport, and he is also motivated to support his local community.
I believe Daniel is of excellent character and a great asset to our region, and the union is proud to support him as Labor's candidate for the seat of Hunter.
Peter Jordan, District President CFMEU, Aberdare
Labor for workers and others
UNSURPRISINGLY, I take exception to Kurt Wallace's statement that "a Labor party without the likes of Fitzgibbon will be a party that is labour in name only" ('Navigating the great dividing voter range', Opinion, 21/9).
It is true that my colleague, Labor veteran Joel Fitzgibbon, has been a real voice for blue-collar workers, but he is not Robinson Crusoe in that regard. While I don't take for granted any single vote from any voter, I doubt there are many people in my electorate, or in other Hunter Valley electorates, who think that a vote for Scott Morrison's lot is a vote for the "workers". And, as we have come to see by their performance in the Senate, a vote for minor parties who profess to represent "real Australians" is essentially a vote for the Coalition.
We are living in difficult and divisive times, made all the worse by Scott Morrison's vaccine "strollout" that is leaving our communities stuck in lockdown and vulnerable to COVID-19. I sincerely hope that Labor voters will not be sucked in by the divisive language of Kurt Wallace. I trust the many people that I and my colleagues are helping every day to navigate this COVID crisis will continue to feel that we are here for them, and advocating for them, whether they are workers or not. Contrast that to a bloke who takes a million-dollar mystery donation to fund his legal bills, and a stand-in Prime Minister who thinks there's nothing wrong with that.
Meryl Swanson, Member for Paterson
Democracy not democratic
THE attempt to impose Daniel Repacholi on the Hunter electorate should be vigorously resisted by local branch members. He has no relevant political experience. Other potential candidates have demonstrated a commitment to improving economic and social conditions in their community.
Mr Repacholi only "joined" the ALP in August. My guess is that he was tapped on the shoulder after some shady discussions at Sussex Street and that the state executive never had any intention of allowing a grassroots preselection.
Instead, it was looking for a candidate to attract a swathe of votes from those seduced by simplistic thought-bubbles of One Nation in 2019. What better choice than a shooter? This is democracy as we know it, but it's far from democratic.
Phil Reynolds, Cooranbong
Thoughts of ALP life member
AS a 92-year-old life member of the ALP, I have had more than 75 years of activism during which I have had the pleasure of supporting many great candidates and members, including Gough Whitlam as my local member. I have held every position in the party except federal candidate and shared the joys of victory and sorrows of defeats, but I was always proud that I was working to elect someone I was proud to support.
However all these years would mean nothing if I remained silent about what Fitzgibbon has foisted on the great body of Labor members in the Hunter. In this selection, Joel has certainly shot himself and decent supporters in the proverbial foot as his candidate is well qualified to do, if nothing else. While not upset by Joel's foot, I feel distressed for the hundreds of solid true believers who will feel their wishes are trashed but are expected to man the booths and do the work the campaign requires.
If the ALP proceeds with this candidate I will have to seriously consider tearing up my life membership of the party of Ben Chifley after his birthday, on Wednesday. Unfortunately I think others will be facing the same decision.
Frank Ward OAM, Shoal Bay
Kick in guts for other hopefuls
AS a local branch member, I feel that preselection for the federal seat of Hunter without a rank and file vote is so wrong.
I don't think that someone who has been in the party for such a short time should be preselected.
This is not a shot at Dan Repacholi, I hear that he is a nice bloke. But I believe in the Cessnock ALP Branch, as in other branches, there are longtime members who have been waiting in the wings for a shot at preselection for a long time, so this is a real kick in the guts for their chance to represent the Hunter electorate.
Peter Lomas, Cessnock
THE recent violent demonstration outside CFMEU offices in Melbourne was a shocking example of men behaving badly. Windows were broken, abuse shouted and punches thrown. It could have been described as union thugs attacking the headquarters of a thug union. Now that's what I would call irony.
Peter Devey, Merewether
I RECKON the Australian Labor Party's unshakeable links to the trade union movement might be put to the test as a result of the deplorable behaviour of some of their members in Victoria over the past few days.
David Stuart, New Lambton
COULD Colin Fordham (Short Takes, 22/9) tell us how many Labor candidates and politicians were never union officials against those who were?
Ian King, Warners Bay
I REALLY thought that I had woken up on the 1st of April and it was a big joke ('Dan locked and loaded, Newcastle Herald, 18/9)! Simply not good enough, Labor!
Tony Bennett, Broke
LOCK down COVID, let us get on with our lives.
Ken Fraser, Jewells
Will NSW open up only when every LGA has made 80% after being stifled for vaccines? Will the NSW government recognise that other people live in NSW as well as Sydney citizens even though it spends its money as if they don't exist?
Vic Davies, Tighes Hill
REGARDING the diplomatic disaster with France (''A forever partnership': nuclear subs', Herald, 17/9), would it have been possible to have overlapping contractual arrangements instead of abruptly cancelling the conventional submarines in favour of the nuclear option? It's going to take even longer to achieve the latter, with nothing to fill the gap which was already inordinately lengthy.
Margaret Farrell, Adamstown Heights
HAVE our ports been checked for French frogmen?
Bob Martin, Mayfield
I'M not religious, but lockdown has me praying to the Roman god of amber fluid, pourius aschooneris, for my local place of worship to open so my soul can be cleansed with the nectar of the god. Oh mighty pouris aschooneris, hear my prayers, amen.
Steve sillyasodis Barnett, Fingal Bay
I'D truly like to hear about Declan Clausen and how he was affected by his interactions with Allan Robinson ('Robbo's gay friends: 'He's no homophobe'', Opinion, 18/9).
David Alexander, Mayfield East
AT least Scott Morrison won't be able to be held responsible for Melbourne's earthquake.
Peter Noakes, Fern Bay
VERY funny, John Arnold from Anna Bay (Short Takes, 22/9). You must buy your meat from the local butcher at Fingal Bay