2 Feb 2013

''Lack of moral purpose'' seen within ALP

11:04 am on 2 February 2013

A Labor party offical in Australia says the ALP is facing a "potentially catastrophic situation" because of the corrupt behaviour of "B-grade" politicians.

In a speech delivered to the Young Labor movement on Friday night, the ABC reports ALP national vice-president Tony Sheldon pointed the finger at his own faction, the New South Wales Right, and declared a need for change.

"There must be no understating of the gravity of the crisis in my home state, no blame shifting and no dodging of the responsibility to set things right," he said.

"Headlines about corruption emanating from ICAC (the Independent Commission Against Corruption) and the HSU (Health Services Union) scandal must shame us all into action.

"Our crisis is more than just a crisis of trust brought on by the corrupt behaviour of property scammers and lobbyists.

"It's a crisis of belief brought on by a lack of moral and political purpose."

The ABC reports he declared the party needed to expunge itself of that culture.

"Like cockroaches, B-grade politicians are able to thrive on the corruption and detritus that lies under the dishwasher,'' he said.

Mr Sheldon, who is also the head of the Transport Workers Union, said that cannot be done solely through changing party rules, but by putting forward ideas and policies that reflect the party's purpose.

"I believe that over a long period of time, the philosophy of economic liberalism has taken too firm a psychological hold on our policy elite.

"The memory of what we once stood for has started to fade.

"Some of our MPs and ministers - including some members of this faction - have even called for Labor to become a true liberal or even a libertarian party.

"I struggle to see what else but fading Labor values can account for the inexplicable decisions that sometimes come from Canberra.''