RIGHTEOUSNESS CONTAGIOUS: Left boss questions Costas Socratous's claims

andrewgiles Crazed allegations made by Costas Socratous against ALP prominentos from the Deputy Prime Minister down have turned out to be a damp squib.

An excellent contribution by the Left faction secretary Andrew Giles, whose wisdom has perhaps been underestimated by this publication in the past, reflects a widespread view across the state branch in Victoria.

We have previously suggested that Giles might well be on friendly terms with a fellow called Crook who metes and doles unequal articles onto a savage race of left-wing email newsletter subscribers.

Yesterday, in response to a piece in The Age that seemed to suggest ALP factions were in disagreement about branch-stacking, as they had been in the past, GIles’s bearded little mate Senor Crook piped up with an astonishingly patriotic offering that points out some home truths about the context of Socratous’s claims, widely believed to be false, possibly motivated by financial inducement and highly unlikely to be substantiated in any credible independent process of investigation.

We could hardly have written a better account of these events ourselves.

Highlights include referring to Socratous as a “whistleblower” in inverted commas, accurately suggesting irony, and an unprecedented demand from the Left that there be evidence not merely assertion to support allegations of branch-stacking. It even goes so far as to say Giles “condemns” the allegations “as lacking proof.”

He’s absolutely right of course. And he has never been so straight-shooting about these issues before. Nothing like a stability deal to usher in a new era of truth, honour, accountability, decency and righteousness.

“Truth has always been the first casualty of factional war, it seems fitting that it can be preserved in this era of peace and stability,” one factional observer remarked.

The Age’s leaked ALP email doesn’t stack up

May 25, 2010 – 5:03 pm, by Andrew Crook

In today’s Age, Victorian state political editor Paul Austin had a curious page-3 piece on ALP branch stacking. It seems Austin, who has been snapping away on the issue since the Liberals leaked him the confessions of Right faction “whistleblower” Costas Socratous last week, had obtained an internal email from Victorian Socialist Left faction secretary Andrew Giles revealing a “fall out” in the party.

In the email quoted by Austin, Giles says that some Right-controlled seats had been “comprehensively stacked by conservative elements of the party”. Nothing new there — the SL chieftain has been making his feelings known on opposing factions’ irregularities for years. And, as Austin acknowledges, this latest missive wasn’t exactly new either — Giles sent it almost seven weeks ago, on April 6, well before the Socratous bombshell hit — making The Age’s headline, “ALP factions fall out over branch stacking”, somewhat misleading given its string of stories published over the past seven days.

But it turns out Giles has been far from silent on the Socratous issue. In his regular update issued last Thursday before that night’s meeting of the ALP’s powerful administrative committee, Giles responded at length to Socratous’ confessions of under-the-table recruitment in Brendan O’Connor’s federal seat of Gorton.

While the Lindsay Tanner-aligned stalwart admits the latest allegations are “disappointing”, he condemns the specific charges made by his former factional sparring partner as lacking proof. He also reminds readers of previous investigations into Gorton conducted by party elder John Cain way back in 2004, and follow-up charges against Socratous, that were rejected by the Right.

Our concerns remain in relation to elements of the ALP in Gorton – and some other areas. But these matters must be considered on the basis of evidence, not assertion. In this regard Party Officers have considered the material available, and the State Secretary has requested Socratous’ co-operation with an investigation. He has refused, making any investigation problematic.

Although Giles says the ALP “has more to do”, the general tenor doesn’t exactly fit with The Age’s attempts to kick the story along, breathlessly citing “new developments” that “threaten to undermine Labor’s prospects in this year’s federal and Victorian elections”. Indeed, it’s likely the general public couldn’t give a toss about reports of internecine wrangling among the unrepresentative swill that makes up Labor’s modern day membership base. (VEXNEWS: Has Crook been reading VEXNEWS for too long?)

Last year, Giles was part of a posse of ALP officials who responded to branch stacking allegations in the wake of the Brimbank council saga, producing a cross-factional report that included a new suite of rules to crack down on rorts and open up the party. The gist of that report is repeated in Austin’s story. Again, nothing new.

Here are the pertinent paragraphs from last Thursday’s email:

Gorton allegations resurface

The past year has seen the Party take major steps forward in dealing with the membership abuses of the past. In particular, the Left led the establishment of a committee which took a broad look at these issues and made some recommendations to further crack down on branch-stacking – giving Victoria the toughest Rules framework in Australia – and find new ways to involve members. This committee wrote to all party members and invited them to raise any concerns regarding branch-stacking activities.

In this context it is disappointing, to say to the least, to read Costas Socratous’ allegations in The Age. All the more so when you consider that five years ago he was named in the report into branch-stacking in Gorton that was rejected by the Right.

Then Left and independent members of the Admin Committee did all in their power to see the Rules applied. And, more recently, we have seen the end of George Seitz’ parliamentary career following more revelations.  Our concerns remain in relation to elements of the ALP in Gorton – and some other areas. But these matters must be considered on the basis of evidence, not assertion. In this regard Party Officers have considered the material available, and the State Secretary has requested Socratous’ co-operation with an investigation. He has refused, making any investigation problematic.

Fundamentally, recent events are a timely reminder that as a Party we have much more to do. Taking action against abuses is one thing, but building a stronger, more outwards-focussed party culture quite another. We must continue to ensure that our Rules are applied to safeguard the integrity of our internal democracy – recognising, though, that this is a precondition to building a more democratic, growing and vibrant organisation and not an end itself.

In the UK, David Milliband has highlighted the electoral value of having vibrant local parties in calling for a revival of a culture of organising. And the US Democrats “Organising for America” project, grown from the organic grass-roots base that pushed Obama into office, shows the power of genuinely involving activists in the project of reshaping society. The success of Rainbow Labor and LEAN are pointers to the broader possibilities of empowering of members to lead. Let’s continue the conversation around opening up political space to activists as well as making it clear that branch-stacking has no place in Victorian Labor.

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20 responses to “RIGHTEOUSNESS CONTAGIOUS: Left boss questions Costas Socratous's claims

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention VEXNEWS 2010© | RIGHTEOUSNESS CONTAGIOUS: Left boss questions Costas Socratous’s claims -- Topsy.com

  2. Looking left, but turning right!

    The only people the left should question is themselves ps we have all noticed how inconsistent the leading leftie woman ie Ms Jay Gee is as she tries to morph into an acceptable alternative PM all pearls and swish clothes but no substance!
    and Mr Dumby Brumby doesnt like leftie greenie lawyers
    Now was Mr Brumby referring to Julia G- J well she was a leftie lawyer and is she still too green to ever be a PM
    we think so! well she JG doesnot handle education well at all
    Perhaps she needs to be a teacher for a year to understand the daily work of a teacher! eg say BER and Australias lazy party ALP out at the next election!

  3. Keilor Cowboy

    Well if this is insinuating that someone has stacked Gorton so that O’Conner is the member then that’s fantastic.

    He is the best local member we have ever had, he has brains, he is a minister not some party pleb.

    Gorton must do whatever it has to to keep O’Connor as the MP, we luv him.

  4. The ALP will never wake up!!

    Mr. Giles is right in his assertions regarding the Milliband comments. He clearly gets the fact that the political ground has shifted dramatically and no party can any longer depend on a ‘core’ vote. Voters have demonstrated they are prepared to switch their vote especially if a party they regards as their own alienates them. The ‘right wing’ of the ALP crushed the ‘left’ and drove out many good party members, both factions have put absolute duds into both state and federal parliament and continue to do so. This is particularly evident in NSW. The ALP’s blue collar base can no longer be relied upon with at least four blue collar unions privately recommending a vote for The Greens. These unions are awake up to the fact they cannot in all good conscience say vote ALP when it is a party that has supported the destruction of manufacturing jobs & the retention of the ABCC. Only the most self-serving of union officials would recommend a vote for the ALP. Show me a union official still tied to Labor and I’ll show you a man/woman on the launching pad to a safe seat, a mates job, or worse. So having burned off the left and having seen that vote go to The Greens we are left with a party that is a pale imitation of the Libs and the stacking and the alienation goes on. In the meantime the world (and voters) have moved beyond the two party system, they are looking to parties and independents who represent all views. I think Mr. Giles is being somewhat naive when he talks about opening up the political space to activists, any activists are long gone from the ALP. To go on denying that branch stacking is happening and that Costas Socratous is just a liar with a gambling addiction and mental health problems further deludes those who benefir from the stacking. Frankly as an ex member of the ALP and having spent a fair bit of time around unions I can honestly say that I have never seen so many personality disorders collected in one organisation. Those that are minded to murder democracy have something far more serious going on in their heads and that is the real issue. The ALP will never get my vote back again. I will be participating in the project of reshaping society; the ALP has not been the vehicle to drive that for a very long time and the continued condemnation of the whistleblowers will not serve Labor well, no matter how obnoxious they may be. The rot in the ALP is well advanced and no one has the will or the capacity to do anything about it. We will be a lontime living with the creatures that stacking has produced for us.

  5. Gorton Ethnic ALP Cowboy

    Posted by Keilor Cowboy | May 26, 2010, 23:23

    That’s nice cowboy but I live in Gorton and let me assure you that I have not received any newsletter from Mr O’Connor let alone he hasnt even bothered to attended any branch meeting. His a busy boy and lets face it the only reason his a Minister is because is Gillard’s mate.

  6. Giles "Peace for our time" speech

    “…the settlement of the Feeney problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all in Labor may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the Shortcon Chancellor, Herr Bill, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine (waves paper – receiving loud cheers and “Hear Bill”). Some of you, perhaps, have already heard what it contains but I would just like to read it to you (proceeds to read the agreement). We regard the agreement signed, the Shortcon-Left Preselection Agreement, as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.”

    “My good friends, this is the second time in our history that there come back from Shortcons to preselections peace with honour. I believe it is ‘peace for our time’. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds.”

  7. nuff nuff's should not get internet access

    Dear Looking left, but turning right!

    Gillard was JBs chief of staff in the 90s you nong.

    John is a 100 per cent Gillard supporter.

    Where have you been?

  8. pottermouth

    Brendan O’Connor is Shorton’s love child and while he stays friends he will survive. Keilor cowboy should stop using Brendans email service.

  9. When you have hundreds of Members and cannot ge a forum for FEA meetings,yet come pre-election those so called members come by the Busload,that is’nd Branchstacking,is it?

  10. Titanic

    Dear nuff nuff dont tell me what we already know re ex chief of staffs so who is the real nong here! So next time get both your facts and insults straight!
    Good mr brumby is a supporter he and JG will soon both go down on a sinking ship too!
    well Titanic is on show in Melbourne!
    now dont tell me that either!

  11. Labor voter

    The socialist left under carr and theo period of control perfected ethnic branch stacking … Reducing many contest to Anglo and Greek deals….,Kurd and Tamils were just some taken for a ride….

    Fast forward and we still have room dulls of ethnic business people in growth corridors endorse future socialist left cadidates.

    The left have no moral position on this.,just more lazy branch stackers hanging out for the next elist deal..and burning up the next newly arrived ethic group….allawi…Fijian….

    Look… Give up guys…. Labor voters have more brains….just trash the branches go to direct polls….and we can end this sick joke…. Or do you need someone to really join the dots between growth corridors and ethnic stacking by both factions…..

  12. Foot soldiers don't pay the bills

    Theosiphilus is refreshing frank about the money splashed to yan yean Preston northcote etc

    he is simply reminding the Alp machine that wogs like him and telmo and the lebanese grease the wheels of the machine.
    not only do they supply members from Greek Lebanese and Latin communities….
    The left and brumby and the sda have continued their pogrom againt the Turks.

    The top of the list is their complaint that brimbank was a source if cash and numbers thru soccer club patronage .

    Their moral indignation is a bit trite. Would Kim carr and Andrew Giles have us believe that socialist left corruption of the development and council process in moreland and Hume and whittlesea is a more just way to fund mass ethnic stacking in Greek arabic and Kurdish communities?

    When one councillor was outer over developer donations all was forgiven once he handed over his votes to the left.

    When it was political difficult to reward him with a western upper house seat – his mate was put in.

    Unionists are watching the shorten habit of rewarding duds with interest but carr and Giles are no saints and need to clean house before the voters do it for them.

  13. Socialist left corruption hard to match

    Yes being given a clean bill of health from the socialist left is like having a child molester in charge of a kinder.

    Moreland council is in tatters due to Giles factional machinations with Greek and Kurdish branch stacking.

    Hume and whittlesea handed over the keys to their cities to developers a long time ago.

    When Giles has the balls to clean up corruption in Hume and whittlesea then we can take him seriously. To do that we need full declarations from all socialist left players that they will not vote on rezoning and planning application and that Giles will expose and clean up the hidden local factional branch stacking that is funded by developers. We all know the socialist left campaigns for councillors are run from mps offices….the developers donations in these areas go to memberships. Stacks determine council spots.and higher up the chain state seats are promised. Giles sits in
    the middle of this mess. Clean up your backyard Giles.

  14. Hume and whittlesea are sl brimbanks

    The socialist left we happy to play a wrecking game in brimbank and in the koroit preselection.

    the official sl justification was that brimbank had been used as a branch stacking base via soccer club or two.

    The real issue than needs to be addressed is the source funds not just the source of numbers.

    By sending in an ombudsmen into Hume and whittlesea you could easily stop the flow of funds into socialist left coffers just as they have stopped the robin Scott and diets backed brimbank council on it’s tracks.

    The dangers of huge growth corridors and cynical factional leaders and large ethnic communities is plain to see in governance outcomes in Hume and whittlesea. This has now spilled over into moreland.

    The nexus between land rezoning and branch stacking needs to be addressed. Until then retired war lords fr right and left still call shots in planning departments and in fea elections.

    Brumby has a huge problem. There is no subfaction against corruption and branch stacking.

    Mr Giles stance shows the left would rather hang onto one or two corrupt boroughs than reform itself.

    the left is about to sacrifice able state ministers while protecting developers agents elsewhere.

    Perhaps carr and Giles have lost control of locals.

    If they have handed the keys of the northern suburbs to developers then they can use admin to put in clean candidates on Melton and thomastown.

    I think the sooner brumby and the sl get new brooms in the north and west the better.

    finding people strong enough and tough enough after the November poll may prove hard .

    Moving now however painful is the only way to break the cycle.

  15. wake up

    People need to wake up.

    The sl leadership is losing three seats to greens and has already lost control of moreland and whittleseas council. Any intervention by wynne in moreland and whittlesea only gives media more ammunition. So we sit tight and wait fir a post election clean out.

    Very few appreciate brumbys solo battle against the brimbank factor. The residents of brimbank have not risen up on this. They know the score.

    He has got rid of theophanuous sietz and sulyman….
    You cannot expect him to also clean up socialist left corrupt elements on the eve of an election.

    It is time independents in party gave brumby credit for the clean up he took on in brimbank.
    It was not easy…it offended this blog space and many others.
    a second term brumby govt is the best bet for tackling the local warlords…the future for the Alp is clear…a brumby govt needs to by pass ethnic war lords with local plebisites for preselection and we need a planning inspectorate to weed out factionally aligned planning officers and councillors. again local planning forums with residents can quickly flush out ad hoc decision making.
    The premier and cabinet needs to drive this new approach of empowering locals in both preselection and planning.
    To de couple these two processes from petty ethnic warlords you need to hold government first.

  16. Anonymous

    It’s the unions who are the real stacks. How about the poor checkout chick from woolworths? Little does that poor girl know that her union membership is used in a national executive vote on the other side of the country.

  17. Alp has a clean bill of health

    If Giles says the party is clean it must be…did he ring his mate robin Scott to check there was no branch stacking.
    while he was there on the phone perhaps he could have got some pointers on how a nice white boy can be an office bearer for a cambodian association or how Chinese associations are so well funded or how much certain shopping centres used to donate to certain Asian fund raisers.

    those who are leaking now have an interesting past…

    Those who say every thing is ok have an even more colourful past….
    Poor labor voters.. Poor Alp brand….so much muck to carry.

    Will State labor even have enough talent to form an opposition…

    It will be all mortar and no bricks….the faceless factional bosses do not have a global stability deal….from a state electoral perspective they have a global suicide pact.

    Can’t wait for the light weights products of branch stacking to try and tackle the incoming liberal govt in parliament.
    we could all laugh at the ineptitude that has been elevated if it was not so serious… The libs are the dregs of kennett.. His real estate agent and his ‘c’ team.
    Yet labor is simply giving away government.
    Mugs from top to bottom.

  18. Anonymous

    The Hun are attacking alp’s mute marginal mps.

    A close look at many safe seats shows many who could not and should not string words together.

    Being greedy and stupid is no crime…and it should not be bar to entering politics…. Trouble is labor has made being greedy and stupid the main criteria for preselection.

  19. In the family way with the sda

    Yes I wonder if those young women in the sda are ever consulted on sda abortion stance in Alp.
    Pope counts but workers don’t .

  20. gilsey

    well the socialist left is a broad church…

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