Victorian Premier John Brumby has continued his dramatic intervention against the antics of party wreckers and destabilisers who have demanded the Yuletide sacrifice of ALP campaign wizard Steve Newnham.
Newnham has raised more funds than any party secretary in its history and has used those resources to build a formidable campaign machine.
WE’VE GOT THE NUMBERS SO SOD YOU ALL
But as things stand those demanding his scalp are refusing to fold, one of their senior operators telling VEXNEWS “We’ve got the numbers and just like they’ve used their numbers, we’re going to use ours.”
The Age reports that Premier Brumby directed ALP President and faction heavy Charlie Donnelly to cancel the emergency Administrative Committee meeting called for Monday evening by the NUW power-tsar.
VEXNEWS understands this request has been made several times now and several times Donnelly has refused to accede to it. It is brinksmanship of a kind very rarely seen in modern party politics. One wit told us “This is like the Bay of Pigs, with plenty of swine.”
WHY ARE THEY DEFYING THE PREMIER?
The Age’s Paul Austin – hardly known for pushing a Labor moderate agenda – makes clear that “Brumby is not driving this.” He refers to Newnham as “Brumby’s man”, makes the point that Newnham used to work in Brumby’s private office and that the two patriots continue to work well together.
No doubt that is all true. And we are struggling to reconcile those words – undoubtedly well sourced – and our intelligence about the Premier’s stunned reaction to Donnelly’s move – with the claims of those involved in this ham-fisted, half-arsed, Fiji style coup attempt.
“We are doing Brumby’s dirty work,” they insist. Are they liars or fools we are forced to wonder.
SOME QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT
If the are fulfilling the Premier’s will, why is the Premier calling them off?
Why is the Premier’s staff in a frenzy of anxiety about this bizarre move?
And perhaps there’s a bigger question too. One that pre-occupies many of those opposed to the unilateralist approach taken by the Party President.
Why won’t they negotiate? Not about the State Secretary’s position alone because he clearly ought not be going until they can find someone better. Former Age journalists, refugee rights activists, mungbean eaters and those in business partnerships with NUW operators need not apply.
But why not negotiate about everything including Head Office, preselections and all the other issues? What’s the downside? How else can conflicts be resolved other than in the courts?
As one key player observed “They are running the party like Al Capone.” That might be a charitable description, as Capone at least convened meetings of and discussions with his colleagues, even if occasionally encouraging greater “teamwork” by means of baseball bat.