Belinda Neal expelled from NSW Labor
Woy Woy Bay resident Ms Belinda Neal has been expelled from the NSW Labor Party the day after she participated in a pre-selection ballot at the Woy Woy CWA Hall on Sunday, July 23.
The former Gosford councillor, NSW Legislative Council member, Federal Member for Robertson and Senator was expelled by "party officers".
They adopted the decision of the Party's Internal Appeals Tribunal, which had resolved that Belinda Neal be expelled from NSW Labor,
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 Office 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.
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 Office where it would remain until the resolution of Ms Neal's appeal and other internal disputes about the eligibility of some members to vote in the pre-selection.
One former senior Labor official who took part in the ballot said he believed the sealing and removal of ballot boxes was unprecedented in the party's history.
He said he believed the treatment of party members in the two wards had been "disgusting" and that he believed there was no legitimate reason votes could not have been counted at Woy Woy as "all disputes had been settled the night before".
The former party official said he believed the expulsion of Belinda Neal and delay of vote counting was the continuation of an ongoing power struggle between the "Deborah O'Neill camp and the Belinda Neal and John Della Bosca camp that has been going on for years".
Ms Neal 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 pre-selection 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.
Peninsula News has requested interviews with Ms Murnain but she has been "unavailable".
Senator Deborah O'Neill, who is junior vice president of NSW Labor, would not comment on internal party matters.
Media statement, 24 Jul 2017
David Dobson, NSW Labor
Media statement, 24 Jul 2017
Belinda Neal, Woy Woy Bay
Reporter: Jackie Pearson