The reason you can have three days of talk at a Labor Party conference with virtually no public disagreement is that all the delegates are either career politicians or wannabe career politicians. Sitting members of Parliament are the biggest group and the easiest for the leadership to control. Under the new self-imposed Kevin Rudd rules if Kevin doesn’t like you you don’t get a promotion.
Discipline over State politicians is almost as great. Follow the bosses instructions or put your pre-selection at risk. Then come the staffers, dutifully serving their apprenticeship while waiting for a seat of their own. That great mass of trade union delegates know whose grace and favour they are present by. Loyalty is their key requisite for moving up the ranks. I doubt that there was an ordinary rank-and-file party member delegate at the Sydney conference — not one person with the ability to actually speak their mind.