Â In Crikey today, Andrew Giles, the Socialist Left faction secretary had a crack at his old foe ALP secretary Steve Newnham. Giles wanted to vote to neck ALP secretary patriot Steve Newnham but appears to have been countermanded by his own Left caucus and sufficiently brown-underpanted into backing off by communications with the Premier’s crew. Some interpret the rant is him venting his frustration about being tantalised by the sultry figures of NUW boss Charlie Donnelly and occasional thought-partner Robin Scott regarding the planned execution and then having his hopes cruelly dashed when Charlie adopted the withdrawal method.
Just like the old days, when the NUW/Left used to brief the bankrupt email newsletter, they’re hoping to use that avenue to smear and spread their venom. This represents an annoying challenge to our attempt at venom monopoly. Shame that so few people are reading it that it is rarely the subject of much discussion in Party circles these days. As a community service in the interests of promoting competition in the marketplace, we’re serving it up with our own unique insights sourced from many patriots.
Andrew Crook writes:
(VEXNEWS: Who the f-word is Andrew Crook I hear you ask, no idea but he’s apparently a late night dirty phone call companion with Andrew Giles, the Socialist Left ministerial adviser and faction secretary)
What is going on inside the Victorian ALP? Monday’s Administrative Committee meeting called to oust State Secretary Stephen Newnman (sic) has been cancelled but the crack-up still threatens to cast a pall over John Brumby’s Christmas.
(VEXNEWS: Hardly. Brumby has just proven what happens when you defy his will. You get reamed.)
It’s now almost certain Newnham will be boned by other means and replaced with Rob Hulls’ chief of staff Mark Madden.
(VEXNEWS: “By other means”? Andrew Giles has hired a sniper? We think not. The SL’s faction secretary is a former Holding Redlich solicitor, once gamely working on Michael Danby MP’s brilliantly successful legal team who cost the Seven Network a fortune in defo action. He believes in the rule of law from an inner urban lefty perspective and believes standing on a spider is “bad karma” so violence is apparently out of the question. And as for a replacement if an assassin was hypothetically hired, does anyone really think that the next campaign director and state secretary of the Victorian ALP will be a refugee rights activist with close ties to the NUW and the cultural left is “almost certain” to become the ALP’s state secretary? Stranger things have happened, and it is the ALP after all so weird things are always possible but to leap from the socially conservative brilliant Newnham to a cultural lefty whose main qualification seems to be that he’s “nice” does seem like a spectacular jump indeed. Running either major political party’s office clearly requires an unbending patriot of steel. It seems extremely unlikely to VEXNEWS and our dozens of sources on the matter that Mark Madden could emerge. Time will tell whether there’s a vacancy at all. )
Giles understands Newnham will now be offered a package to go quietly after Victorian ALP Branch President and NUW National Secretary Charlie Donnelly bowed to pressure from the Premier and backed away from his previous demands for a showdown.
(VEXNEWS: Some in Labor Unity think Donnelly should be offered a package. The kind that makes a ticking sound. The consensus among people in all factions, fractions and minions is that they have disgraced themselves. What happens in Head Office though can only be resolved by negotiation, with both sides of the Right accepting now that only the Premier can makes the decision about State Secretary. He’s made his decision, evidenced through some pretty decisive action this week. To quote the SL’s favourite journalist Paul Austin, Newnham is “Brumby’s man.” Does anyone doubt that if the Premier wanted his young protÃ©gÃ©Â gone that one phone call from him saying so would have sorted it? That’s what made this whole pretence from the plotters that they were acting on the Premier’s will so ridiculous. And makes their ongoing speculation about it even after the most humiliating of backdowns so absurd. Donnelly’s failure to comply with the Premier’s request, as reported here and later in The Age, we think will go down as one of the biggest internal political errors for a long, long time. We were so cheered by the NUW’s return and hopeful about the possibilities that it makes this deplorable incident all the more troubling and sad.)
Donnelly sent the following email early this afternoon to Admin Committee members after crisis talks with the Premier’s inner sanctum this morning:
[as cut and paste from VEXNEWS, glad to be of service]
Newnham, an ex-Brumby staffer, is effectively being held hostage by a breakaway group of National Union of Workers rebels struggling for control of the Right faction against the ‘old-right’ controlled by Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy.
(VEXNEWS: Too right, Newnham was indeed being held hostage. And the Premier warned them off. And Donnelly told him to sod off. So the Premier – in Sherman tank – drove around him to achieve his objective anyway. The hostage is now freed and has seized the AK-47 from his captors. What will happen next we wonder?)
They are the same ‘young Turks’ that sided with the Left in 2002 to garrote(sic) ex-State Secretary and now Senator for Victoria David Feeney. Feeney ‘stood down’, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family, and an eerily similar sequence of events is expected to play out with Newnham.
(VEXNEWS: Is? Try was. One thing that’s very interesting to note here is about the good Senator David Feeney. We hear the patriot was stunned and appalled by the move to neck the State Secretary three days before Christmas despite being a recent foe of his. Many thought this a remarkably principled and decent approach to take, us included.)
Members of the Left are also said to be celebrating his (Newnham’s) imminent downfall, telling Crikey this morning that they were now in a “good space”.
(VEXNEWS: Quite true. They are in a good space because their principal opponents have proved themselves incapable of going to the firing range where lefties could be shot for target practice without first shooting at each other. The Socialist Left’s Lee Tarlamis would be doing cartwheels, if this was physically possible.)
The Socialist Left’s Lee Tarlamis would be doing cartwheels, if this was physically possible.
Newnham has been credited with two election victories, a spate of by-election wins, and a tranche of impressive poll results but is now in the invidious position where 80% of his party openly lacks confidence in his abilities.
(VEXNEWS:Â Pretty impressive list of achievements. So how does that equal 80%? Andrew Giles’s capacity to count has often been questioned – usually after he regularly botches ticketing in internal ballots Â – but that’s getting pretty ridiculous. Being the future of news that we are, we have sought out people who we thought might question Newnham’s abilities or more pertinently his performance. No one has raised a serious, credible issue about it. Yes, many say dealing with Head Office over memberships is frustrating, but that’s largely because of the outrageous and probably illegal delays imposed by factional heavies on each others’ members. It’s got nothing to do with Head Office processing forms and everything to do with factional feuding. Not one person, except from the cultural left, is critical of the bloke’s electoral strategic skills.)
Despite his superficial successes,
(VEXNEWS: We interrupt that sentence to note convulsions of hysterical laughter. Election triumphs, by-election blitzkreigs, stunning poll numbers. These are “superficial successes”? More like core business.)
…the problems with Newnham run deep. He was criticised by members of the rank-and-file after installing his own candidate to run in June’s Gippsland by-election and his reputation as a political svengali in the model of Karl Rove is now being ridiculed. Dissidents tell of Newnham re-hashing the same presentation to ALP-apparatchiks detailing his dated take on modern politics. Newnham basically filters all ALP policy proposals through the prism of ‘middle Australia’, which he takes to mean Herald Sun readers — a copy of which is usually displayed prominently on his desk.
Believe it or not, this is the ultra-left’s criticism of Labor’s Victorian secretary: ‘Newnham basically filters all ALP policy proposals through the prism of ‘middle Australia’, which he takes to meanÂ Herald SunÂ readers — a copy of which is usually displayed prominently on his desk.’
(VEXNEWS: And that lot really does say it all. A few in the Left, mercifully very few these days, have a vision for the ALP that is all about appealing to Age readers and to becoming Greener than the Greens political party. A bit like Liberal leader Ted Baillieu’s office too. Instead Newnham is criticised for daring to “filter all ALP policy proposals through the prism of ‘middle Australia”! I mean, hullo, that is presumably what every campaign director should be doing, worrying about swinging voters, winning over working families and all that. It gets better “which he takes to mean Herald Sun readers — a copy of which is usually displayed prominently on his desk”, never has there been a more glowing reference for the bloke. Here’s someone in the ALP committed to winning over Herald Sun readers, to winning elections, to staying in touch not with lefty inner-city latte-sippers but with the vast majority of the community. At its heart that is Andrew Giles’s criticism of him too. His perspective is one he sincerely holds but probably ultimately sincerely hopes will never be implemented because if it is even the safe federal seat of Scullin to which he aspires would become marginal)
Newnhamâ€™s downfall doesnâ€™t entirely mirror Feeney’s, however. No-one in the state ALP questioned Feeney’s ability — it was entirely a question of how he was conducting himself factionally. The whole NUW execution was basically a ‘thrill kill’ designed to annoy Shorten and Conroy that resulted in his executioners gloating via a fake death notice published inThe Age.
(VEXNEWS: But no one – including this Andrew Giles mouthpiece – has actually criticise Newnham’s ability – we assume he means performance – either. And that’s why the reaction to the attack on him is identical to the outrage the last time the NUW tried to neck a Labor Unity state secretary. And btw, Crikey itself regularly questioned Feeney’s “ability” back then and continues to be just as clueless now. The reason Feeney was removed was because the NUW’s then national secretary Greg Sword was annoyed by patriots aligned to Feeney prevailing in the Health Services Union over Sword’s allies, including his frequently inebriated brother Malcolm.)
The reason Feeney was removed was because the NUW’s then national secretary Greg Sword was annoyed by patriots aligned to Feeney prevailing in the Health Services Union over Sword’s allies, including his frequently inebriated brother Malcolm.
Newnham’s reign at head office was also controversial on a range of operational levels. After his ascension to State Secretary in 2005, Michels’ Iron Law of Oligarchy (VEXNEWS: It’s always a nice touch when Crikey writers get a touch of the Guy – pronounced “Gee” – Rundles by quoting forgotten revolutionary socialist sociologists – in this case who later become fascists – in a desperate attempt to show how clever they are) became the dominant narrative inside the state branch’s King Street HQ with lofty officials feathering their beds at the expense of input from a non-existent membership.
(VEXNEWS: It is a rare treat to have Giles’s views about the Left’s Party Assistant Secretary Kosmos Samaras displayed in public but probably a little tough. At an operational/campaign level, there has been from what we understand an unprecedented level of cross-factional power and information sharing with all colours of the factional/fractional rainbow represented. What Giles is sore about is that the Left’s party head office senior dude is not in his sub-faction. Boo hoo.)
Crikey understands state office budget blowouts were used to mask payments to various Unity accomplices for a range of questionable purposes. Like the Kevin07 t-shirt rortÂ revealedÂ in January, Newnham appeared to be operating parts of the notionally-democratic state branch as his own personal fiefdom.
(VEXNEWS: LOL, the “rort” Giles refers to is when ALP t-shirts ran out, Kosmos and Newnham had more made. A bit of a stretch. Almost as much as when Lefty Alex White tried to squeeze into one. Â “Mask payments”, despite the ALP’s finances being audited and thoroughly internally reviewed, seems a little unlikely)
The thinking is that phantom ‘wages’ were funnelled to a suite of recruiters who controlled votes in Unity’s September 2007 elections. All State Conference delegates who are members of the Right got a vote — spots on the staff payroll at King Street may have been traded for influence in that election.
(VEXNEWS: So the claims of “masked payments” refers to “thinking”, evidence is of course not required. And here I am “thinking” that the Ombudsman should probably investigate some of Andrew Giles’s mates in the bureaucracy of the City of Yarra for various matters we are currently researching.)
One questionable King Street appointment was that of Mehmet Tillem, ex-Brumby staffer and Sang Nguyen electorate officer, a duo not known for their reticence when it comes to factional squabbling.
(VEXNEWS: What duo? Tillem and Brumby or Brumby and Nguyen or Tillem and Nguyen… this is getting a little lost in translation. And is a background in factional squabbling a disqualification for service at ALP Head Office? I thought it was compulsory.)
Despite the ructions, the average ALP voter continues to forgive Brumby, and seems to be warming to his self-styled ‘action man’ persona. But the party powerful have resumed the mudslinging like it’s the dark days of 1997. In rosier eras it would only (sic) a matter of time before the membership rebelled — nowadays it’s difficult to raise even a whimper.
(VEXNEWS: Not like the good old days when you could throw tomatoes, trash offices, hold protests and slash tyres…)