Ryan’s been warned to get extra bandwidth in, and here we go with the must-see session of conference: Federal Executive (FE) report, amendments to the party’s constitution and a special bonus of election regulation amendments too.
(Most recent additions added to bottom of this post.)
It’s 5:30pm, and Lib Dem Voice’s reporting team is ready to go. But inexplicably, Conference is still spending time discussing the economy. Don’t they know we’ve got constitutional amendments to discuss?
Economy done with, the crowds flood out, the constitutional pedants roll up their sleeves.
Ros Scott (Party President) moves the FE (Federal Executive) report. She explains the FE’s work, including updates from the party leader and on general election preparations at each meeting. Woo! Woo! Lib Dem Voice gets a mention too – as she explains her use of the site to regularly communicate with the party’s membership about the FE’s work.
Question 1 on progress in implementing the Bones report: Ros Scott gives details, including the creation of the Chief Officers’ Group. The Bones recommendations were split into two parts – those to address before the general election and those after. Hence only some of them have been implemented so far.
Follow up question from Gareth Epps: asks who is in charge of the manifesto given the creation of the Chief Officers’ Group. Ross Scott replies saying the party’s structure is very complicated and the FE has enough on its plate with duplicating the work of other bodies. The manifesto is looked after by the manifesto group chaired by Danny Alexander.
Question 2 on the Chief Officers’ Group: Ros Scott says the omission of details from the FE report to conference was an oversight, and there will be future consideration of how the group should best report to conference.
Question 3 on the number of bodies with responsibility for election campaigns and strategy: Ros Scott agrees there are many. There is a pattern here of her suggesting the party’s structures are too complicated.
Full answers to all questions will be printed in Conference Daily.
Conference votes to accept the FE report.
James Gurling moves amendment to the party constitution to raise the nomination requirements for Presidential elections in order to require candidates to have a show of support from people from different local parties. Andrew Hudson opposes – arguing there is no reason to change – and then David Williams supports – arguing that given the seriousness of the post, there should be a reasonable minimum. The amendment requires a two-thirds majority and (drama!) just gets it after a second show of hands.
David Williams moves a trio of election regulation changes for federal committees, the party leader and the party president – over arrangements for hustings, electronic availability of manifestos and permitting electronic voting. Says many members have requested electronic voting and it is greener and cheaper. He emphasises the word “may” – i.e. the change would allow electronic voting to happen rather than requiring it to.
Ian Eiloart opposes electronic voting. He doesn’t believe online voting can be sufficiently secure for such high-profile elections as for party leader. Experience of Twitter, Estonia and others shows you can’t rely on systems not being hacked.
James Gurling summates on the regulations. Says the FE has discussed the pros and cons of online voting and isn’t intending to rush in to any new system. Points out that Labour already uses electronic voting and would be a higher profile target. Says regulations would not make electronic voting compulsory.
All three election regulations are carried.