THE WEAK THAT WAS: Victorian ALP shames itself over secretary debacle

 Charlie Donnelly In reporting on ALP factional matters, The Age normally has it easy. Right = bad. Left = good.

This week, it’s had to explore new paradigms of confusion when confronted with two Rights, Labor Unity who backed ALP secretary Stephen Newnham in conjunction with most of the Left’s senior figures including Julia Gillard/Kim Carr and the NUW/SDA in conjunction with the SL’s faction secretary Andrew Giles who opposes Newnham rather obsessively.

Because both the Carr Left and the Giles Left have their own special relationships at The Age, the paper’s coverage was unusually balanced on the question of Newnham, while undoubtedly gloating about the disintegration of Labor’s biggest faction, the moderates.

They continue their coverage today which we review for your entertainment.

Reprieve for Labor official

LABOR state secretary Stephen Newnham has won a stay of execution after Premier John Brumby asserted his authority over their increasingly divided right-wing faction.

Mr Newnham’s pursuers, including party president Charlie Donnelly, yesterday acceded to Mr Brumby’s demand that they abandon a crisis meeting called for next Monday at which they planned to dump the secretary.

VEXNEWS: Yes, abandoned after days of defying Brumby, in a manner distressingly reminiscent of the crisis between then NSW Premier Iemma and the ALP machine over electricity privatisation. One big difference worth noting though, is that the NSW party v government stoush was at least a fight over important policy differences, this was a fight over nothing, a petty, vindictive proxy war for “control” of a faction that had descended so low morally that a pre-Christmas execution of a loyal servant was not only considered but was well on the way. Nihilism in action.

One big difference worth noting though, is that the NSW party v government stoush was at least a fight over important policy differences, this was a fight over nothing, a petty, vindictive proxy war for “control” of a faction that had descended so low morally that a pre-Christmas execution of a loyal servant was not only considered but was well on the way. Nihilism in action.

While Mr Brumby’s intervention has saved Mr Newnham from immediate dismissal, the anti-Newnham forces are privately making it clear they expect the Premier to move him out of head office early in the new year.

VEXNEWS: “making it clear they expect” is a bit of a laugh isn’t it? The playground bully has been smacked in the nose and has run off to the sick bay, shedding blood and tears, yet insisting they’ll triumph next time. Get over it.

One figure said the anti-Newnham forces had overwhelming numbers and would have agreed to cancel Monday’s crisis meeting only “if a deal is written in somebody’s blood — specifically Stephen Newnham’s”.

VEXNEWS: The numbers to do what? Defy the Premier? Clearly not. Make no mistake, the only reason the meeting was cancelled was  because it was clear fewer than fifteen members of the Administrative Committee were going to attend, the legal minimum for it to be able to transact business. Let’s not give credit where it’s not due. And a deal “written in somebody’s blood”? Who the f*ck are these blood-thirsty people and what are they smoking? We can get into people reasonably venomously here but the violence of the language in that quote alone is deeply disturbing and suggestive that the hatreds are absurdly deep. As for the deal, there is no deal, if there was you’d think the players like the Party Secretary, the Premier’s chief of staff Dan O’Brien and other players might have heard of it. They haven’t. Simply, the Premier didn’t need one, he’d set up a roadblock which his foes couldn’t pass.

The flare-up over Mr Newnham’s position has exposed deep divisions in the dominant Right faction as the party prepares for a potentially fiery round of preselections in the lead-up to the next federal and Victorian elections, both due in 2010.

VEXNEWS: “Potentially fiery” doesn’t really square with what we understand to be the case. There isn’t much appetite for blood-letting. Take Club Fed for example. Because of length of service, Wills, Hotham, Scullin and Calwell are all potential squabble points. But in all cases, the incumbents are very committed to staying and will enjoy the full protection of the Prime Minister and the party’s National Executive. LaTrobe, McEwen and the third Senate spot are marginal opportunities that attract some competition but they’re not expected to get the same level of warfare we saw at the last round of preselections.

Some senior right-wing allies of Mr Brumby are threatening to deal more with the Socialist Left than with the anti-Newnham forces in the Right, whom they say have shown themselves to be untrustworthy.

“They (the right-wing union leaders behind the attempted coup against Mr Newnham) are the Osama bin Ladens of the Victorian ALP,” one influential member of the Right said last night.

“They (the right-wing union leaders behind the attempted coup against Mr Newnham) are the Osama bin Ladens of the Victorian ALP,” one influential member of the Right said last night.

Osama bin Donnelly, head of the right-wing National Union of Workers, sent a shockwave through the party, including Mr Brumby’s office, on Wednesday when he emailed members of Labor’s administration committee calling them to an unscheduled meeting on Monday with one agenda item — Mr Newnham’s future.

VEXNEWS: Of course, it’s unfortunate to equate a usually low-key union official exercising his democratic rights (albeit unilaterally and incredibly foolishly) with a mass-murdering terrorist but, hey, the Mugabe analogy has been worked over rather a lot since Lard Lord Les Twentyman started using during his failed attempt to steal Kororoit for the extreme left, so it was probably fair enough in Charlie’s case. It would do well for those who threatened his job to think about Kororoit carefully the next time they are tempted to go down the thrill kill path about Newnham. A tricky by-election, admittedly in strong Labor territory, where the prospect of a protest vote for the government was very real given that a candidate had been imposed by the party machine from half way across the city. Newnham unleashed a big campaign and ensured Twentyman’s Dean Mighell/HeraldSun/3AW fuelled momentum crashed into a brick wall of truth and accountability by hacking into him over his views on the provision of taxpayer funded heroin injecting rooms. The usually socially conservative and dependable SDA – nervous about their candidate like a bride’s parents on wedding night- fell for the Age’s criticism of this without comprehending just how damaging it was for Twentyman. The candidate herself even publicly appeared to criticise it, in an off-message moment. But Newnham sat back – cool as a cucumber – knowing full well that the parents and working families of Kororoit are not in favour of heroin injecting rooms and weren’t going to vote for a welfaretard pushing crazy lefty schemes on their communities. Newnham was willing to go to the wall for Labor’s candidate even though he knew he’d get attacked for going in so hard by the left-wing press and get very little gratitude from the beneficiary. We will never know what someone like Mark Madden, a refugee rights activist, former Age journalist and wannabe Lionel Murphy Rob Hulls chief of staff, would have done in that situation but we can guess.

Mr Brumby, who works well with Mr Newnham and did not want to see him publicly humiliated, put his leadership authority on the line on Thursday by asking Mr Donnelly to call off the meeting.

VEXNEWS: Very true, bizarrely Brumby has emerged with his authority enhanced by this incident. We doubt Donnelly will publicly defy the Premier ever again.

bizarrely Brumby has emerged with his authority enhanced by this incident. We doubt Donnelly will publicly defy the Premier ever again.

Mr Donnelly did so in another email yesterday afternoon, but not before the Socialist Left faction made clear it was considering boycotting the meeting.

This prompted one pro-Newnham source to say: “Donnelly declared war, but no one was going to turn up.”

VEXNEWS: The SL wasn’t “considering” anything. They had resolved not to attend in response to a request from the Premier. The reality is that Donnelly had zero enthusiasm for backing off and had no intention of doing so until the fact that further humiliation was risked by failing to get a quorum of fifteen at the meeting.

But even backers of Mr Newnham concede that the cancellation of the meeting is likely to do nothing but delay the inevitable.

“If there is to be a transition, it will be done the way Brumby wants it to be done,” one insider said.

VEXNEWS: Exactly. And it’s far from clear what will happen about that. But the ghoulism and pathetic claims by the vanquished yesterday that there’s a deal “signed in Newnham’s blood”  is simply not the case. The Premier has proved he doesn’t need to do deals with the people who called this on. They defied him, undermining any credibility they had and he went around them and forced them to back off by dealing with oddly more responsible elements in the Socialist Left faction. 

The most likely replacement for Mr Newnham is Mark Madden, a long-time Labor adviser now working as chief-of-staff to Mr Brumby’s best friend in cabinet, Deputy Premier Rob Hulls. Other potential candidates are Brumby adviser Tom Cargill and federal Labor official Nathan Lambert.

VEXNEWS:  Mark Madden is certainly the NUW’s choice if Newnham fell under a bus, the issue now is whether the cultural leftist is tarred by his association with them and his former business partnership with NUW honcho James McGarvie. Someone described Madden as “McGarvie Lite” which is enough to make us wonder why they didn’t just push for the original full-flavour McGarvie. McGarvie is a suit but is no lefty. There are fears that any NUW blessed candidate would merely be smoothing the way for their Tim Holding to ascend to the leadership a long-time prior to Brumby’s intended shuffle off to Harcourt retirement date of 2050. Tom Cargill who works in the Premier’s private office would be a much stronger choice in our view. Backed by the crafty Senator David Feeney, whose stocks were considerably boosted this week when he told his sub-factional colleagues they were off their rockers by trying to neck Newnham three days before Christmas, Cargill could emerge as a consensus candidate if a vacancy arises. Nathan Lambert is also an interesting choice too, he’d be backed by his friends in the SDA and by those who’ve worked with him on campaigns in the past where he did much to impress.

Backed by the crafty Senator David Feeney, whose stocks were considerably boosted this week when he told his sub-factional colleagues they were off their rockers by trying to neck Newnham three days before Christmas, Cargill could emerge as a consensus candidate if a vacancy ever arises.

Because we are nearing the end of our coverage of the failed coup attempt, it might be worth throwing in other names to the mix too to demonstrate that there are many non refugee rights activist choices out there should Newnham depart some day. Many of these wouldn’t even contemplate taking up the position in the circumstances called on by the NUW, as they are considered close allies of Stephen’s and would sensibly doubt they could exceed the efforts of the master-strategist. But they are potential successors, to be sure.

Leading the pack is Labor Unity faction secretary and adviser to the Victorian Treasurer Noah Carroll. Another NUW candidate in the mix has been Geoff Lake, but he is fully committed with local government responsibilities. Some in the Right look to George Droutsas, currently working at Head Office, a clever chap and natural politician. Party elders might think he’s better off on the front-line than in the back-room. Another of the Greek patriots, Phil Dalidakis, a former adviser to Minister Theophanous, heads up a forestry peak organisation and is considered a very sound political mind.

A dark horse also is Dalidakis’s chum Ari Suss, who worked for Premier Bracks for a long time before working in what many regard as the ultimate training ground for young Labor patriots on the make, the office of Ron Barassi style supercoach patriot supremo Michael Danby. (Droutsas also worked there, interestingly). Suss works for Lindsay Fox where he has done very well and while he’d do a fine job as party secretary is probably more likely to be headed to Spring Street or Canberra.

And there’s another choice keeping in mind too. He’s probably Labor’s most seasoned and experienced campaign strategist in the nation. Not known for suffering fools or pinkos, his biggest deficiency is that he just tells it like it is regardless. If chosen, he’d probably do crazy stuff like try to shake up the indolent backbench out of its complacency by confronting them with realities about how tough 2010 will be for Labor. Call him old fashioned, but he cares about winning over Herald Sun readers in marginal seats not Age readers whose policy agenda would alienate the vast majority of voters. He’ll try to warn the government about making the mistakes so many long-term administrations make, forgetting the people who made their victory possible and their priorities which are invariably very different from the mostly well coiffed, well-tailored, lefty, inner-city brigade at 1 Treasury.

Call him old fashioned, but he cares about winning over Herald Sun readers in marginal seats not Age readers whose policy agenda would alienate the vast majority of voters… They call him Newnham

They call him Newnham. And as one of his key senior supporters asserted this week when the state secretary refused to buckle to the thuggish behaviour unleashed upon him, one senior supporter of the party strategist said “He has the biggest set of balls in the Victorian ALP. He must have a skateboard to carry them around.”

And on that blokey note, hopefully that’s the last we’ll hear about this disgraceful incident for a long time.

newnhamage 

Advertisements

34 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

34 responses to “THE WEAK THAT WAS: Victorian ALP shames itself over secretary debacle

  1. Rampant

    I think Father Christmas won’t be visiting Donnelly’s house this week.

    Although I hear the Grim Reaper is trying to find out where he lives.

  2. Charlie Donnelly

    I like [deleted], I am more suited to the SL.

  3. The Wanderer

    NUW = National Union of Wanderers

    Now

    NUW = National Union of Wreckers

  4. get real andy and ego wankers

    What does all this mean???

    There will be a dividing of the assets much like when families divorce (no offence Andy).

    If the N.U.W and Shop Assistants have all the votes and the rest have all the egos it will soon see the replacement of the egos with more loyal peeps.

    When Shop Assistant Don Farrell boned Sen Linda Kirk for sacking his wife from her office he appointed himself. [ Rudd/Gillard now pay the bitch $150,000.00 a year on government tribunals, her vote for Rudd wasn’t cheap]

    We can expect that to occur in Victoria. If you wrong the Shop Assistants, N.U.W. and H.S.U, it is stupid to expect that you could survive the preselection as a Right candidate with no numbers and only ego.

    In Maribynong, the numbers are controlled by George Seitz who is with the Shop Assistants. He is opposed by Nataly Suleiman but she is being investigated by the Ombudsman and will lapse all her members next May to avoid jail. That means Shorten will need to abstain from his attempts to be a faction biggus dickus and do what Rudd pays him to do as trainee minister.

    You can spin for the egos Andy but the wellinformed aint buying it. There is a huge seachange that happened after Kororoit, if Shorten doesn’t realize he should retire to the beach with his latest blonde and leave the professionals to get on with it.

  5. swordy

    charlie when will you have a real win that crazy barstad belan did you over on the nuw ballot then howes does you over on the actu vice president spot now newham belts you as well your a joke charlie you have shamed the nuw enough your making the union a joke crawl back under the rock you came from dickhead

  6. Anonymous

    these state caucus wankers really think some temporary alliance would see federal deselections?!?Go & live in a cave with the other Networkers.You have no understanding of the traditional role of the SDA…..

  7. get real andy and ego wankers

    When Ego Shorten has the numbers he can use them to do whatever he wants.

    When Michael Donovan has the numbers, it’s terrorism.

    GET REAL. Time to clear the decks.

  8. reality check

    You seem to forget that none of you bastards ‘have the numbers’ now. There’s one big faction left, and it’s not run from the Greyhound on a Saturday night or from the back of a shaggin’ wagon.

  9. jeff jackson

    I don’t have a wagon, I have sports cars.

  10. sword swallower

    Bring back Greg — he knew how to deal with the S.L. professionally…

  11. enough is enough

    what does the new alliance mean for the control of state caucus woops there goes fionas ministerial ambitions

  12. Anonymous

    Fiona is a very capable lady. She is the brains of the state caucus, in the same way Stephen is the brains behind the state alp organisation.

    Fiona is Premier material. Stephen is the most successful state secretary we’ve ever had. Only the late JV McConnell, the late Liberal state secretary in the 1950s and 1960s, would approach anywhere Stephen Newnham for his ability to run a state campaign.

  13. Anonymous

    Fiona did a really outstanding job running the alp campaign for Darebin Council last month. She had to deal with plotters within her own faction as well as the evil Greens, yet she succeeded and succeeded well.

    Well done Fiona.

    Merry Christmas to you and to Stephen.

  14. enough is enough

    fiona and newnham have sucked the faction dry for years.
    They have only attained their positions of influence by manipulating the sda, awu, nuw and twu.
    The sda and nuw have finally woken up – when will the other unioins wake up to these parasites and say

  15. Rampant

    Enough is Enough: If your logic stands true, then the SDA / NUW ain’t worth a pinch of u know what. Fact is, Labor won power in 99 and keeps setting a new high water mark in terms of success because of the way it has been managed.

    What more do you want to see?

    Would you rather have a victorious SDA / NUW in opposition?

  16. Fatty Doyle

    Victor, I am thinking about becoming one of your co-religionists.

    I was a St Patrick’s Cathedral this morning with the delightful EPC and had a quick chat with His Grace, Abp Hart.

    If I am to come home to Rome, will you be my sponsor?

  17. enough is enough

    i hear fiona is about to defect – party time.

  18. McPerton

    My Dear Lord Fatty, the dearest of all dear Fatties.

    I strongly encourage you to be come a Catholic like me.

    We can have a few drinks at the Supper Club before (and after) going to Mass at St Pat’s.

  19. anon

    It seems that Charlie has blown his own load.

    Maybe it’s time to hang up the spurs Charlie!

  20. Anonymous

    get real andy and ego wankers

    You can’t spell and you need to get your facts right. You sound like a rookie

  21. Reds are better in bed

    In the past Fiona and Stephen have been known to pay flying and very secret vists to ‘real’ socialists. This all in the name of screwing the woeful chardonnay sippers of SL.

    Nonetheless Richardson and Newnham have committed what amounts to treason and should be expelled from the ALP.

  22. Anonymous

    ALP factional warfare: Two bald men fighting over a comb

  23. Beaver Moustache Man

    Two bald heads together make an arsehole.

  24. get rid of them

    The only way of sorting out the internal problems of LU is by expelling the greedy couple – Newnham and Richardson. Let Kim
    Carr accommodate their greed. The word is that Kim has offered them Stephen Newnham for Calwell and
    Fiona for next left ministerial vacancy

  25. The Wanderer

    this person needs a doctor ^. What an idiot!

  26. get rid of them

    its true the deal will be announced late next week.
    Although john Lenders is trying to unpick it.

  27. Evan the Saviour ( Not)

    Andy,

    You’ve gone very quiet on the tipped promotion of Evan Thornley…maybe busy setting up the Evan Thornley Fan Club?

  28. debbie does dallas

    Mr Dalidakis is Jewish not Greek honestly mr landeryou can’t get your identity politics right…

  29. who gives a shit

    If extremists,ego trippers et al get into power to further their own power-base in these modern times they will be dealt with harshly by a very informed, well educated and sophisticated electorate.

    Beware!!

  30. stepford wife no 3 on call

    Fascists need not apply as well

  31. stepford wife no 2 with cliche blonde hair

    Silly plebians think they live in a democracy when plutocracy and corporotocracy have taken over ages ago….!

  32. stepford wife who is good at shopping, breeding and you know what....?

    What does the above terms mean…?

    Please explain…hi hun your home..

  33. Stepford wife no 4 with balls

    They only marry nice girls like us either teachers, chemists et al so we make the hardliners look good and have that soft social conscience on the arm to help further their careers.

    Smart aren’t we…?

  34. who gives a shit

    careerists like some of the “dark horses” mentioned need not apply as well…get out of politics and leave it to genuine individuals not because your dumb wives like the perks and think they are interesting…when clearly they are not but quite disturbing and selfish beyond extremes…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s