It was with sadness that I heard Chris Carter’s valedictory speech last night. As he said he was a Labour man through and through. Carter spent decades working hard as an electorate MP, a Minister, and most of all a hardworking member of the Labour Party.
Why the sadness? Because of the way Carter was treated after those long years of loyal hard work. No one ever gets it right 100% of the time, and it wasn’t exactly the smartest thing to do to try and publicly undermine the leader with a handwritten anonymous note. And it wasn’t the smartest thing to do a lot of travelling when those perks were increasingly in the spotlight. But none of that excuses the way Carter was treated.
Phil Goff’s handling of Chris Carter was a fiasco. Goff may have thought he was acting big by expelling Carter from caucus… actually the opposite would’ve been true. After Carter’s many loyal years to Labour, true leadership would’ve been to suspend and eventually forgive. Maybe if Goff had been given that advice things would’ve turned out for the better.
But an even greater travesty was expelling Carter not just from caucus, but from the Labour Party itself. He was deemed by the National Council no longer fit to be a member. The council’s ruling is an indictment on the institutionalised careerists that now dominate many parts of the Labour Party (though praise to those in the council that went against the tide on this). The council should’ve done more than just tow the Parliamentary leader’s line and do his bidding. After all his hard work Carter was due more than that.
Hopefully at some point with a new leader and a more independent and assertive council, Chris Carter will be welcomed back and thanked for all his hard work.