The National Secretary, George Wright, and Victorian State Secretary, Noah Carroll, have released the following joint statement on the royal commission's notice to produce documents.
The Australian Labor Party is appalled by the royal commission’s attempts today to obtain the personal and private records of approximately 9,000 Victorians who are members of the ALP.
This constitutes an unprecedented attempted invasion of privacy and has forced the royal commission into a humiliating back down today.
The Notice to Produce (attached) was personally signed off by Dyson Heydon. It was delivered at 4pm yesterday, with a demand for these extensive personal records to be provided by 12pm today.
It sought new membership and membership renewal forms of ALP members which included information such as names, addresses, occupations, phone numbers and credit card details of party members.
This is an attack on freedom of association – a fundamental part of Australia’s democratic system.
The attempt of Counsel Assisting Mr Jeremy Stoljar to describe this as a small matter again demonstrates what a shocking abuse of power and waste of taxpayer’s money the royal commission is.
Worse, Counsel Assisting today indicated that despite today’s withdrawal, the royal commission will still be coming after party membership details.
What started as a clear political exercise under Tony Abbott now continues under Malcolm Turnbull. When will the Prime Minster cease spending taxpayer funds on this McCarthy style inquiry?
The ALP will fight tooth and nail to protect the privacy of its members.