Crowded house: the post office box shared by 21 ALP members

Almost two dozen Labor members listed the same post office box in Auburn as their residential address for close to a year, in the latest evidence fanning allegations of branch stacking in the western Sydney seat.
Nanjing Night Net

ALP records obtained by Fairfax Media reveal that between December 2013 and September this year, up to 21 branch members listed PO Box 1158, Auburn, as their place of residence.

Eighteen of the members were in the controversial Regents Park branch, where numbers have blown out to more than 300 before the forthcoming preselection to represent Labor in the safe seat of Auburn at next year’s state election.

Between 2009 and 2012, the records show, the post office box was listed as a mailing address by former Auburn mayor Hicham Zraika.

Councillor Zraika is secretary of the Regents Park branch and expected to challenge incumbent Auburn MP Barbara Perry in the preselection contest, which opened last Friday.

The revelations follow those on Saturday, when it emerged that the same records implausibly suggested Cr Zraika, his wife Dania and their three daughters share their Berala home with eight other Regents Park branch members.

Supporters of Ms Perry – a former minister on the opposition front bench who is set to lose preselection – have now raised concerns that the same branch members could be eligible to vote in the parliamentary leadership ballot to be conducted after next year’s state election.

Numerous ALP sources allege the party has ignored the irregularities because opposition leader John Robertson needs to rely on Cr Zraika’s block of votes in the ballot, due to take place after the state election.

They say this is in part because the party is worried about Mr Robertson not securing blocks of votes from local powerbrokers whose ambitions he has thwarted.

They include Burwood mayor John Faker, against whose preselection Mr Robertson intervened in support of former Newcastle MP Jodi McKay.

Mr Robertson has also intervened in Lakemba to secure the preselection of Punchbowl Boys High School principal Jihad Dib over Bankstown mayor Khal Asfour – a move criticised by former NSW Premier Morris Iemma.

On Tuesday Cr Zraika, who noted there hadn’t been a rank and file preselection in Auburn since 1988, denied there were anomalies with the branches.

“The Rules of the ALP have always, and will always, be adhered to,” he said.

“If there are suggestions that this is not the case, then the ALP has robust and comprehensive internal processes to deal with precisely such matters.”

NSW ALP general secretary Jamie Clements said allegations aired in the media had yet to come before the ALP’s independent tribunal process.

“I can assure you that these matters will be dealt with through those processes and the only people who will get a vote will be members entitled under our rules,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.