ALP councillor Hicham Zraika suspended for six months after preselection stoush
|01/07/2018||Posted by admin under 南京夜网||
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Auburn councillor Hicham Zraika has been suspended from the Labor party for six months after a tribunal found he engaged in “unworthy conduct” including falsifying the meeting minutes of his own branch.
The decision kills the plan by ALP head office to parachute Cr Zraika into the upper house at the March 28 state election after he withdrew from preselection in the seat of Auburn to make way for Opposition Leader Luke Foley.
Fairfax Media last year revealed membership irregularities in the Regents Park branch – of which Cr Zraika has been secretary since 2012 – amid a fierce preselection battle between Cr Zraika and Auburn MP Barbara Perry.
They included that Labor records showed eight members of Regents Park branch listed Cr Zraika’s home as their residence and 21 members listed a post office box as their residence for close to a year.
Ms Perry charged Cr Zraika with branch stacking offences under party rules, seeking his suspension or expulsion. In December the Labor Internal Appeals Tribunal dismissed the charges, saying there was insufficient evidence.
But Ms Perry appealed to the more powerful Review Tribunal, which has decided Cr Zraika’s performance as branch secretary “fell well short of acceptable standards”.
In its judgment, sections of which have been obtained by Fairfax Media, the tribunal found that Cr Zraika had deliberately falsified meeting minutes in the Regents Park branch books.
In particular, minutes recording details of meetings during July and September 2010 record that “the secretary read the minutes of the Newington branch meeting”.
However, the Newington branch was not formed until two years later, in October 2012.
The tribunal also found Cr Zraika had left an unacceptable number of blank pages in the branch attendance books.
“Blank pages in an attendance book not only contravene the party rules but it creates conditions that allow for the convenient insertion of extra signatures for members outside of meetings,” the decision said.
The tribunal also said Cr Zraika: Was aware that “significant numbers” of branch members had their addresses wrongly recorded in the ALP records but did nothing to rectify it “Took control” of envelopes containing ballot papers for the 2013 federal leadership Labor contest between Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese and “distributed them to branch members”.
It also found the Regents Park minutes indicated there was “rarely ever any general business” undertaken by the branch.
Cr Zraika’s handling of other members’ federal leadership ballot papers and failure to notify the ALP of incorrect branch member address details was a “serious dereliction of his duties as branch secretary” the tribunal concluded.
It ordered Cr Zraika’s suspension from the party for six months but stopped short of expelling him as he has been “an energetic and effective member of of the ALP and Mayor and councillor”.
On Monday, Cr Zraika slammed the ruling as “a purely a factional political decision” without legal grounds.
“This was designed to deny me entry to parliament but that’s politics and I’ve got to get on with life,” he said.
NSW Labor general secretary Jamie Clements declined to comment.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.