Letter written by Neville Wran, Barrie Unsworth, Bob Carr, John MacBean and myself, dated 5 May 2008, and circulated to NSW members of the parliamentary Labor Party and more widely.
The Premier of New South Wales, Morris Iemma, has stated that he is determined to secure the State’s future energy supply.
The government proposes to
1. Lease the state owned electricity generation plant; and,
2. Transfer trading licenses to the private sector.
This is sensible.
The government proposal protects consumers, the environment and electricity supply employees.
An expenditure by the government of 15 billion dollars on baseload generating capacity is just not appropriate when the need to invest in infrastructure and core services of government is so pressing.
As former leaders of the New South Wales government and trade union movement we indicate our support for the Premier in his determination to govern in the best interest of the State and all its citizens.
(1) we urge all members of the Parliamentary Labor Party to support the Premier; and
(2) we urge the relevant parties to engage in consultation with a view to resolving differences, as proposed by last weekend’s State Conference.
Neville Wran Bob Carr
Barrie Unsworth John MacBean
Wran took the original of this letter and completely redrafted it. Somewhere I read that he was manipulated in signing something he did not believe in or fully understand. I know that was completely false. He trimmed down the wordier version. All you needed to do was to stick to the core points, he thought.
Mike Carlton wrote in his column in the Sydney Morning Herald on 19 July 2008 that “Barrie Unsworth is rounding up such giants of the past as John McBean and Michael Easson to support the Premier. This is not politics. It’s Jurassic Park.”
Conservatives remained silent, barely able to restrain their mirth during this winter of Labor punching itself repeatedly in the face until it passed out.
At first the NSW ALP parliamentary caucus supported Iemma, effectively in defiance of the ALP conference. But gradually his leadership support eroded. In desperation the ALP right wing officers created a unity ticket with the Left that enabled a first term MP, an inexperienced and lacklustre former leftwing policy adviser (who, with more experience, might have developed into a first class minister) as premier (Nathan Rees). The consequences we now know.