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No. 4 Rise of machine politics. A recurring theme in my diaries is the corrosive impact of machine politics on the ALP. This is a key point for young people to understand. As Labor's real membership declined, it was relatively easy for a handful of factional power-brokers to grab hold of the party in the 1980s. A few dozen party officials and faction bosses now effectively control the organisation.You need to be brave and carefree to stand up to them, breaking the code of silence by which machine politics operates. Many senior Labor people privately agree with my analysis of the party, but are too scared to speak openly for fear of retribution.