In a move that had been widely speculated about today in Party circles, the Victorian ALP’s two major factions, the Socialist Left and Labor Unity have concluded a deal designed to share preselections in a manner consistent with peace, love and harmony. Not everyone’s happy but we’ll come to that in a moment.
Left bosses Senator Kim Carr and Alan Griffin negotiated out the arrangements with Labor Unity senior figures including convenor Bill Shorten and Cabinet minister Steve Conroy. The Socialist Left executive formally resolved to approve the arrangement this evening.
The deal was prompted by a desire for party stability in what looms as an incredibly challenging couple of years for both state and federal governments.
AGGRESSIVE MOVES CAUSED GREAT PANIC
Last year, the Victorian ALP descended into crisis just prior to Christmas when the NUW boss Charlie Donnelly and junior ally Michael Donovan unilaterally and without any discussion among his own factional colleagues moved to neck highly regarded Party secretary Stephen Newnham. It had also been destabilised when the party’s rules were ignored in filling a prized vacancy in the usually safe Labor seat of Kororoit. We note the candidate then went on to righteously triumph against nasty ultra-leftist Les Twentyman.
Donnelly ultimately backed off on the state secretary issue after the Left indicated they wouldn’t attend the meeting but, for many, the damage was done and their intentions for future carnage very clear.
There was little serious question that Donnelly had more targets in mind with some of the uber-ambitious even talking up Tim Holding’s leadership prospects as the ultimate destination of their plans.
Sources tell VEXNEWS that as a result of what the Labor Unity leadership saw as extremist and destructive behaviour by Donnelly that he and his supporters were not consulted on the deal but will be encouraged to support it and party stability going forward.
The details of the arrangements are not widely known but are believed to protect incumbents in line with directives to do so from the highest levels of Labor’s parliamentary leadership.
Many see the deal as a triumph for Labor Unity negotiators Shorten, Conroy and state MP Fiona Richardson who faced the prospect of being governed by an increasingly unruly, ambitious, savage and vengeful group led by Donnelly.
A NEW WAY FORWARD
And while a victory for them, there was little mood for boasting this evening, one senior source saying “We have set a standard for how the party should be governed, we don’t and won’t be acting in the way we have strongly reacted against with grotesque displays of hostility and stupidity like we saw in the Kororoit snatch and grab and the attempted lynching of Newnham.”
“There is peace now between the Left and Labor Unity and we can hope there can also be peace among everyone in the Victorian Right.”
Others aren’t sure about this with a leading player usually opposed to Shorten telling VEXNEWS that he was critical of both sides of the Right:
“Hubris and arrogance from the leadership and broken promises led to the Kororoit preselection debacle where the NUW and SDA attempted to impose a candidate without opening nominations. That led to the December madness (where Newnham was nearly ousted) and that has led to this treason from the faction leadership where they’ve done a deal with the Left.”
While displeased with the deal because he saw it as giving Right assets to the Left, he believed it was the inevitable consequence of the behaviour led by the NUW last year.
Another senior player who was involved in the lengthy negotiations had a slightly difference perspective:
A global deal between the right and left of the party is clearly a good thing and was always going to happen anyway in some form or another. That it also shafts the NUW and teaches them a big lesson not to mess with Shorten and Newnham without fear of massive reprisals is just icing on the cake really. There’ll be no blood on the carpet just no prospect of us having to pull out the prayer mat at appointed intervals and grovel to the bloke you called the Momentary Majority Mullah (Charlie Donnelly)…