Struggle to make ALP books stack up
A SECOND complaint about Labor's Granville branch's membership records was sent to ALP head office in 2017, complete with a statutory declaration and photos which claimed to be of powerbroker Laurie Ferguson presenting books which featured irregularities.
News of the complaint comes as state Labor Leader Jodi McKay faced pressure yesterday to stand aside shadow ministers Julia Finn and Lynda Voltz after a whistleblower accused them of being aware of and participating in branch stacking tactics in ways that could influence preselection votes.
An investigation was sparked on Wednesday, when The Daily Telegraph asked Ms McKay and federal leader Anthony Albanese about a 33-page dossier sent to them on November 5 on the Granville branch.
It is understood several Labor Party members are now preparing to put their signatures to a party charge letter demanding Ms Finn and federal MP Julie Owens, who is also accused of taking part in branch stacking tactics, be stood aside and disendorsed.
Labor headquarters, when it confirmed the investigation, noted that the dossier was from an anonymous whistleblower. Ms Finn and Ms Voltz denied the allegations on Wednesday and urged the whistleblower to put their name to the complaint.
However, the separate written complaint in 2017, revealed today, was signed by Granville Ward candidate Ejaz Khan, and included a signed statutory declaration from scrutineer Amarinder Bajwa. It was a different allegation, but still related to the keeping of branch books in a way that could undermine the veracity of attendance lists.
Mr Khan's 2017 letter, dated March 20 was lodged as a challenge to official credentialing for the Cumberland council election. It included a statutory declaration from Mr Bajwa, claiming he had witnessed Mr Ferguson present the Park Hill Granville branch books for scrutiny.
"I saw pages were not ruled off at the end of meetings … I brought this issue to scrutiny officer," the statutory declaration stated.
The practice of ruling off branch books under a list of names is an official Labor rule, designed to stop people falsely adding other names later.
Asked about this yesterday, Mr Ferguson said: "The books were at the credentialing and I was at it. Nobody is ever counted who signs after the president.
"The branch president had signed off every meeting but he had not fulfilled the technical need to put a line across the page above or below his signature. The branch has henceforth done that."
Mr Ferguson denied the alleged failure to rule off the books had impacted preselections.
"No extra people received or would have received a vote by this process," he said.