(2) Advocating Limited Tenure but still in politics for 2 decades!!!
As Lee had clear vision that she cannot totally control the party until she gets rid of her main rival and historical champion of environmental movement Ian Cohen, she invented another campaign in the lead up to pre-selection campaign to select the lead candidate for 2003 NSW Election. She was desperate to get rid of Ian Cohen to have absolute monopoly on the party. This is why between 2001-2003 Lee campaigned very hard to convince the party to introduce another amendment to the party constitution to enforce “limited tenure” for its politicians.
If amendment adopted, Ian Cohen will be barred automatically from running for re-election.
The campaign was very vicious. It risked dividing the party. She wrote countless articles, organised forums and toured the state to convince party members to accept the amendments.
What she suggested was that politicians became corrupt with power. To solve the issue, the party should limit the time politicians can serve in parliament to one term in the senate (or LC) and two terms in the parliament (or LA). By limiting the time in office, politicians will not gain much influence and could not build empire using their title. They will also know that whatever they do, they cannot serve more than one time (maximum 8 years).
The campaign built momentum, but most of the party members were not ready to enforce historical figures (Bob Brown, Ian Cohen....) into early retirement. Few inside the party knew the real agenda behind the suggested amendment.
For me, it was fair. I supported it in principle. But actually later on I opposed the agenda behind it. Lee was using argument of the need to stop building empire to build her own empire. That was not right.
Despite her high profile campaign, many time with leaks to media and other parties’ rivals, she failed to introduce the amendments before the pre-selection process started. Ian Cohen, and despite the bruises of the campaign, was determined to run in the election. He and his faction realised Lee’s real agenda of empire building. And they were determined to abort it. They were besieged, as Lee started to use abusive and humiliating phrases by accusing Ian and his faction of being not ready to share power. At some stage she accused them of standing against progressive changes.
Despite all these attempts, Lee and her faction failed to introduce these constitutional changes before the due date for pre-selection process. Another round of failed attempts to sideline Ian Cohen and his environmental faction.
All party members were waiting to see how Lee will react after her failed attempt. They were waiting to see if she will pursue the campaign to introduce Limited Tenure principle after Ian’s survival.
To the surprise of all, Lee totally abandoned the idea after her failure to introduce amendments to bar Ian’s re-election. Many thoughts that she will honour her principle of limited tenure and will self-impose the idea on her career. Many thought that she will retire after the end of her term in parliament on 2007.
Lee, who fought very hard to arguing that long-time in politics corrupts politicians and so there is desperate need to impose limited tenure, she refused to honour this commitment. Instead of retiring after serving 8 years in politics, she still serves in the parliament for two decades. And still seeking re-election for another 6 years.
How can Australians trust such politician that lied about almost everything, including stabbing her own party’s politicians in the back?!!!
Will you support such politician?