Woy Woy Bay resident, Ms Belinda Neal, continues to fight her expulsion from the NSW Labor Party and has called for the preselection ballot held on Sunday, July 23, to be counted.
The former Gosford councillor, NSW Legislative Council member, Federal Member for Robertson and Senator was expelled by party offi ials on the advice of the Internal Appeals Tribunal the day after she participated in the ballot at the Woy Woy CWA Hall.
NSW Labor general secretary Ms Kaila Murnain made the announcement via Twitter shortly after 9am on Monday, July 24. “The IAT received a number of challenges to the eligibility of voters for the pre-selection,” she said. “The Internal Appeals Tribunal found that Ms Neal engaged in unworthy conduct and failed to support the Rules of the Labor party to the best of her ability,” NSW Labor said in a written statement.
“The NSW Labor Internal Appeals Tribunal instructed the Party Offi ce to delay announcing the result of the public selection ballot for Central Coast Council. “The result of the ballot will be provided to party members as soon as the Review Tribunal has met to consider the challenges. “NSW Labor is dedicated to ensuring that Labor candidates for Central Coast Council are out campaigning as soon as possible,” the statement said. Ms Neal made a statement via text message at 11.45am on July 24. “I have been in hospital since 6am,” she said. “I have not seen anything but the media has rung. “The ALP Tribunal proceeded with a hearing in my absence when I had a medical certificate.
“So with only one side of the story being told, what would you expect? “The decision is subject to appeal to the review tribunal and I hope that they will deal with the claims fairly,” she said. Ms Neal has since appealed the expulsion but no outcome has been announced. She has called on the party to count the votes from the preselection. Labor Party pre-selection for the Gosford West and Gosford East Wards took place at Woy Woy but officials told candidates the ballot box would be sealed and taken back to Labor Head Offi ce where it would remain until the resolution of Ms Neal’s appeal and other internal disputes about the eligibility of some members to vote.
On Friday, August 4, Ms Neal said: “The rules of the party require the ballot to be counted and it hasn’t been. “The ballot should have been counted on the day,” she said. “I have written to the ALP to call for it to count the vote it has already conducted,” she said Ms Neal said her main concern was for Labor to have a strong and electable team of candidates in the fi eld campaiging. She had told Peninsula News on Thursday, July 22, that she was standing for pre-selection in West Gosford Ward. She was in hospital on Saturday with an illness, attended the preselection ballot at Woy Woy on Sunday, and then returned to hospital on the Monday morning.
Her husband, former NSW parliamentarian Mr John Della Bosca, attended the pre-selection ballot using a walking frame, as it is understood he had a hip surgery in the days prior to the vote. On Friday, August 4, Ms Neal repeated her statement that she remained keen to represent the Gosford West Ward on the new Central Coast Council Senator Deborah O’Neill, who is junior vice president of NSW Labor, would not comment on internal party matters.
SOURCES: Media statement, 24 Jul 2017 David Dobson, NSW Labor Media statement, 24 Jul 2017 Interview, 4 Aug 2017 Belinda Neal, Woy Woy Bay Reporter: Jackie Pearson