Yang leaks xeno­pho­bia, says La­bor pres­i­dent

The West Australian - - NEWS - Nick But­terly and Gary Ad­shead

A fac­tional war has erupted in­side the La­bor Party af­ter a dam­ag­ing week of rev­e­la­tions about MP Pierre Yang, which party pres­i­dent Carolyn Smith be­lieves was partly driven from within and smacked of “xeno­pho­bia”.

Ac­cus­ing “se­nior mem­bers” of her party of leak­ing in­for­ma­tion to un­der­mine Mr Yang, the pres­i­dent blasted the in­sid­ers for fu­elling a me­dia storm over the Chi­nese-born back­bencher, in­clud­ing de­tails of his re­cruit­ment of new La­bor mem­bers.

“It is dis­ap­point­ing that se­nior mem­bers in the party are leak­ing con­fi­den­tial mem­ber­ship in­for­ma­tion,” Ms Smith said. “It seems that this is in­ter­nally driven with a tinge of xeno­pho­bia.”

It is un­der­stood WA La­bor’s pow­er­ful ad­min­is­tra­tive com­mit­tee held a heated meet­ing yesterday in which mem­bers dis­cussed moves by Mr Yang — who comes from La­bor’s Left — to cre­ate a new branch in­side the party’s Curtin elec­toral coun­cil.

“I am proud of our ef­forts to in­crease diver­sity in our party,” said Ms Smith, who is a Left fac­tion power­bro­ker. “We are an in­clu­sive or­gan­i­sa­tion which aims to rep­re­sent the whole com­mu­nity.”

Mr Yang, 35, found him­self in the head­lines this week af­ter he was forced to cut ties to Perth­based pro-Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party groups, which he had failed to de­clare to Par­lia­ment.

It has since emerged that mem­bers of La­bor’s Right com­plained Mr Yang was al­legedly us­ing large num­bers of Chi­ne­se­born mem­bers to branch stack and win in­flu­ence on the party’s State ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, which rules on State and Fed­eral pre­s­e­lec­tions.

WA La­bor State sec­re­tary Matt Dixon said the ad­min­is­tra­tion com­mit­tee held its reg­u­lar monthly meet­ing and ap­proved Mr Yang’s “Church­lands” branch, but it is un­der­stood a num­ber of his nom­i­nated mem­bers were ruled in­el­i­gi­ble.

Premier Mark McGowan nor­mally sits on the ad­min­is­tra­tive com­mit­tee, but was not there yesterday due to other com­mit­ments.

Tra­di­tion­ally the Left and the pow­er­ful United Voice union have held sway in­side WA La­bor, but last year unions from the Right and some from the Left formed a new fac­tion called Pro­gres­sive La­bor in an at­tempt to as­sert control.

Pic­ture: Sharon Smith

Pierre Yang, flanked by Paul Pa­palia, is ques­tioned by the me­dia at Par­lia­ment House.

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