Power to the people

Premier Morris Iemma today fled from the state Labor conference, just hours before a plan to privatise the state’s power industry was overwhelmingly rejected by party delegates.

By a vote of 702 to 107, party delegates, including CEPU delegates, voted overwhelmingly to oppose the sell-off, pushing the Iemma Government into an ongoing conflict with ALP affiliated trade Unions and ALP rank and file members.

Earlier in the day, almost 1000 delegates to the conference heckled and sometimes laughed at Mr Iemma as he delivered his leader’s speech in which he made his pitch for the privatisation.

By the time the debate began shortly after 4pm, the premier had left the Sydney Convention Centre at Darling Habour leading deputy premier John Watkins, Treasurer Michael Costa, the architect of the sell-off plan, and several other junior ministers to argue his case with party delegates.

The delegates opposed to the power sell off, led by Unions NSW Secretary John Robertson who earlier in the day led a protest rally of hundreds at the front of the Convention Centre, are set to deliver a crushing blow to the Government with the resolution demanding they abandon their privatisation plans and adhere to party policy

In the wake of news from sources close to Mr Iemma claiming the Government would move to ignore any conference verdict and proceed with the sale, saw clear threats of party disciplinary action made against key Government decision makers by delegates.

The Alexandria branch of the ALP has already charged Mr Iemma with disloyalty.

Learn more about the campaign to keep NSW’s electricity in public hands by logging on to: www.stoptheselloff.org.au

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