VACANCIES: Victorian ALP preselection speculation prompted by two sudden departures from Parliament

batonchange The unexpected  resignations of Labor left ministers Peter Batchelor and Bob Cameron have created vacancies in two of the safest Victorian state seats going: Thomastown and Bendigo West.

Batchelor’s retirement had been frequently speculated about here and elsewhere as early as the months prior to the last election in 2006. Bob Cameron’s departure is more of a surprise and is believed to be due to him wanting to spend more time with his son who has autism.

Under the cross-factional stability agreement, it is internally agreed that the Left will continue to put up candidates in those seats.

Victorian Trades Hall staffer Bronwyn Halfpenny is likely to receive her faction’s support. Halfpenny’s husband is Gary Robb, the secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and her Dad is the late former national secretary of that union, John Halfpenny.

As such, Halfpenny hails from the wobbliest part of the SL, that part linked with the AMWU’s Steve Dargavel. Left sources say relations are a lot more positive than they have been with the prospect of them splitting off with the right-wing unions the SDA and NUW now greatly diminished. Electing Halfpenny is seen as cementing the Left together on stronger terms.

dano Rumours circulated today that the Premier’s Chief of Staff Dan O’Brien was urging the Left to put up Legislative Council member Brian Tee. Tee is well-regarded in government circles but isn’t any longer well-linked in the industrial base of the Left so their response was a firm ‘no thanks.’ Tee was once thought to be close with the leadership of the CFMEU although he is thought to no longer be on their atheist version of the Christmas Card list.

Tee isn’t expected to be troubled in his bid for re-election to the upper house, even allowing for a reduction in primary vote to the marauding and frequently uncriticised Greens party and the Liberals who once dominated the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and are expected to make some gains in the November poll.

In Bendigo West, Bob Cameron’s electorate officer Maree Edwards is seen as most likely to replace him, with support from other Bendigo state MP Jacinta Allan too. Edwards is believed to have previously worked for Mark Latham, something now probably in 4 point size on her CV.

But Left sources tell VEXNEWS that Steve Gibbons isn’t that keen on Comrade Edwards and instead favours Bill Murray, a party activist and Gibbons campaign director at the last poll.

One source described the situation as a bit messy although noted the mood for a fight though is not great with the stat election less than two months off.

One scenario considered out of the question is Jacinta Allan swapping seats because it would all but concede the more marginal seat of Bendigo East currently held by Allan, seen as a Brumby favourite in the ministry.

There has been more talk throughout today that other ministers were contemplating departure including enviro-enthusiast Gavin Jennings, a fitness enthusiast who suffered from a heart attack earlier this year who is thought to be in good health now. He’ll be under no pressure to go now though, as he occupies an upper house seat that can be filled by casual vacancy at any time.



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40 responses to “VACANCIES: Victorian ALP preselection speculation prompted by two sudden departures from Parliament

  1. Right Said Fred

    Certainly Nick Reece will be backgrounding his friends at Fairfaxthat he will be preferred for one or both of the seats.

  2. Anon

    Berhan Yigit thinks Thomastown is his birthright

  3. Bob Cameron’s departure is cause for celebration. There are many who were of the opinion that the ALP was facing defeat in Bendigo.

    Cameron was the Minister when he introduced direct election for Melbourne’s Lord Mayor. The Ministerial review was not open or transparent, submissions were not made public or published. There was no discussion or policy agreement within the ALP.

    Cameron was soon replaced as Local Government by Candy Broad.

    He was one of the weakest and least supported ministers. He will not be missed.

  4. Left Pre-selection Strategy

    The Left are renowned for tendering their resignation weeks before an election in order to ensure that the seat does not all with in the overall party pre-selection negotiations.

    Gerry Hand resigned just soon after pre-selections were decided to make way for Lindsay Tanner. Tanner himself doing the same only giving notice just before the August poll. Local plebiscites mean nothing when the seats are dealt out by a central factional agreement.

  5. The Carlton Mafia

    Is Bronwyn the best they can offer? John Halfpenny as as corrupt by more then half. Not sure if this is a family business but she clearly benefited from John’s extra political business activities. the Only Reason John did not follow in the footsteps of Norm G was his protected position and ability to strike a deal. But he like Norm has a very nice holiday house down by the beach and a town house in Carlton

  6. I kid you not, there is a new Independent apparently thinking about it. Diggers and Veterans do not yet enjoy a Fair Go! regarding the CPI indexing of their Pensions. Then there is the elephant in the room ‘Law and Order’ issues re: suppression orders particularly that fine print often ignored when creating news or gossiping about the naming and shaming of victims and alleged offenders before the VIC police have completed their investigations. Better hope she fails.

  7. Bearhan

    Thomastown should be mine

  8. Anonymous

    Bearhan for Burke

  9. andy bult

    No Bearham it is not for you it is for Ros Spence and she is more attractive than you. Even some of the liberals think she is a bit of a hornbag.

  10. Andrew Giles

    Rumour has it that Bronwyn Pike will move to Thomastown and I will have a crack at Melbourne

  11. Trent

    Maree Edwards certainly did work for Latham – but to her credit she also worked for Crean and I think did a bit of time with Bomber too. She will be good.

  12. belle

    Cameron resigning opens an opportunity for a high profile local National Party candidate to take the seat.

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  15. labor shoots itself in the foot in the east

    The changing of the guard in Thomastown and Bendigo needs to respect Labors union and regional bases. Neither seat is a place for a ‘free loader’ with little support.
    The Left will manage these changes with a rational consideration of strenthening the two critical support bases – the union movement and our regional support base.

    However, the issue of Brian Tee throws into stark relief one of the most serious weaknesses in the Labor claim on the eastern seats running between Rowille and boxhill. The so called ‘Chinda zone’.
    These areas are dominated by middleclass voters from China, India and Malaysia. They have been this way for some time. While Labor has rusted on Asian support in the working class south eastern seats this area cannot be taken for granted.

    Brian Tee is an example of the narrow cultural base of the ALP leadership.

    Unconnected to any industrial base or any community base in the eastern suburbs, Tee’s ‘free ride’ in number two eastern upper house will hurt at least 4 seats where the Asian middle class decide the outcomes.

    This was the election for labor to get further ahead of the Liberals in the east by putting a Chinese, Malayasian or Indian candidate in the upper house to support those tight seats.

    The Premier and the Victorian leadership group have made the decision, endorsed by the national executive of the ALP, to sacrifice Mount Waverly, Burwood, Mitcham and Forest Hill to protect Tee. The loss of Mount Waverly in particular shows the socialist left leadership’s gross error in this region. Why would they protect Tee and sacrifice a minister? Perhaps Tee’s inclusion is part of a plan to free up a left ministerial spot in cabinet. It is a very made plan by the ‘Georges of the left’ if this is the case because the loss of this seat along with inner city losses will see left positions cutback. So protecting Tee achieved nothing but ensures Labor losses four seats.

    The loss of these four lower house seats was not inevitable – it is now.

    The willful exclusion of any Asian candidate in the upper eastern number two spot who could have connected with the middle class Asians in this eastern corridor is one of the most irrational things sate labor has done in this election.

    Labor has given these four seats to the Liberals by not reading the demographics. It shows a growing ‘will to lose’ – maybe Brumby longs to get some peace retired on the farm.

    Increasingly in the media he does look like a man who would rather be somewhere else. His advisers by backing Tee in the east certainly seem keen to help him get there sooner rather than later.

  16. Monash council rules in sl madness

    Dear ‘labor shoots itself in the foot’.
    Dumby and the left have been played out here by Monash Councillors.

    Clearing out the four eastern seats is great place to replace the vacant seats with three Monash councillors.

    You will get your ethnic diversity there with Joy Banerjee, Lake or one of the many ambitious Greek Councillors replacing the defeated lower house MPs.

    Problem is Labor sacrifices government but hey will not be the first time Labor councillors and their games have hurt state labor

  17. Monash council losers

    Monash council has spent 25 years denying resources to emerging communities – it is their normal style to support Tee and damage the party in this way.

    The irony is the member for Burwood has been taken along by the nose by this mob too.

    He will pay the price – or does he have someplace he would rather be too?

  18. Monash mess

    Monash council is held up as some sort of socialist left perfection model.

    However, the Monash council power politics and winner and loser mentality is not the game to be playing in a marginal seat area.

    The cosy future preference deal with liberal council candidates and joint ventures with the visa factories has taken Brumby into the heart of the international college rip off merchants – some socialist left call these people their partners bu they will cost Labor votes.

    Labor needs to show is it helping the community or just cuddling up to the owners of the visa factories and their sleazy education agents.

    Minister Moran, who is respected by local families, deserved far better than this.

    The faceelass powerbrokers have put into play a sleazy deal with college owners that may see local Monash council candidates topped up with liberal dumby preferences at the next MONASH council elections but see us lose Mount Waverly and other seats. Why would the SL trust the word of these people?

    The joke is the socialist left power brokers of the eastern suburbs are risking government for crumbs.

    They are wrong to think they can they can be in bed with Liberals and ask voters to vote labor.

    We all thought Jennings was smarter than that.

    When it comes to a choice between Monash Council and state government – surely it would have been better to hold government?

    The selfish socialist left in the east is Labor’s weak link. A polished leftwing Brimbank but another Brimbank no less.

  19. renewal

    The left would be wise to learn lessons from both Brimbank and Monash and renew these two safe seats with solid people with real support bases – let’s move away from the slick salespeople and their dangerous puppets and their secret liberal deals.

    Imagine using state positions to set up liberal preference deals.

    Exactly what do the business people promising liberal preferences expect in return?

    Oh…do not tell me…let me guess.. more red carpet treatment and hand outs for ITHEA and Cambridge College.

    John Brumby would have vast support of all the community if he stopped protecting us from the ugly role Baillieu and Liberal like Honeywell played in the visa factories – or are will to sacred these shonks will attack us in marginals seats?

    Wake up guys – even the Asian community wanted to see an end to the scams end.

    So stop protecting the liberal scam artists and you will sweep the eastern suburbs. Tell the community the truth about the student demonstrations and the role of the college owners supplying sms text lists to liberal stooges to send out alerts on the rally.

    Tell the Victorian public the truth that we are not racist but where all taken for a ride by a group of many liberal business types who sold aussie visas, ripped of poor asians and made us look like fools on the world stage.

    People want to know why is Brumby protecting Baillieu and his Liberal mates?

    Be honest John and tough…ignore your advisers and tell the publc the truth about the 70 colleges and their repeated meetings with Ted Baillieu in our parliament.

    Why did Ted use taxpayers resources to build up his international college owner network to manipulate the fears of the very students they were milking with high fees?

    Using Howard’s visa factory laws Ted’s mates have got away with too much between 2005 and 2009.

    And now Ted is just 2% away from replacing you John…victorians deserve the truth on this one.

  20. Renewal or extinction

    The socialist left now faces the task of renewal or extinction. Their role of taming the rightwing extremist in the Alp has been outsourced to the greens.

  21. Give credit

    You must give credit to the small group of communists who run the Greens. They have brought labor to the brink. Safe labor seats like batman and wills will fall to greens in next federal election.
    Upto 3 state seats that fall this year will provide resources to take on a factionally divided labor in batman and wills in the next federal election.

    The small communist party never had such success.

    We must take our hats off to these folks.

    Burnt has been federal members in the north does not help but you must give greens credit for picking labors weakest region.

    With 3 lower house seats they will then have real control.

    The tassie infection is spreading.
    And me too politics will see hung parliaments as lib and lab brands merge.
    Labor has no brand experts on any committee.. just young hacks living off ageingvote banks….

    They are using up the brand equity with no thought of tomorrow.

  22. Oh pleeeez

    More challenge the greenies from the left nonsense.

    People do not want to live Greg barbar’s cave and eat mung beans.

  23. Socialist left ok

    The left is doing well. Free from innercity policy worries we can now concentrate on ignoring the suburbs.

  24. Anonymous

    oh a socialist left debate bORRRRRING

  25. Anonymous

    Do the left still exist?

  26. Anonymous

    The loss of Marshall in forest hill will be good for victoria. She is a lazy lay about

  27. anon

    But she has a lovely pair.

  28. right wing so smooth

    Once again the right wing of labor plunges us into another branch stacking scandal on election eve in Moreland.

    Exactly what is ‘moderate’ about trashing the Labor brand in an all-out-war in Wills and giving Brunswick to the Greens….

    Good work Feeney, Scott, Campbell.

  29. Reds are better in bed

    Jail Lambros Tapinos

  30. the peoples republic

    it is a sad day in the people’s republic of moreland to read the age to day about stacking in community health organisation….are these stackers the same idiot crs who are putting 12 storey in narrow streets on tip top site?

  31. moronland council

    if labor loses the seat of brunswick then the ax needs to fall on those doing the stacking….cmon admin committee…enough is enough…

  32. andy bult


  33. Anonymous

    its gonna get nasty…………

  34. Phils Ego

    Phil Cleary will be remembered as the Ahole that prevented Australia becoming a republic.

  35. man of the people

    The alp should endorse peter stephenson for moreland

  36. Sir Lesley Twentytonneguts HRH

    Leave Fill alone he is a good man as e always drives me down to Walters for me piss intake and publicity shots.

  37. I think Bob Cameron was the best ALP candidate in the region. I am so disappointed he is resigning. He is strong,Intelligent, sensible, decent, family man.
    I wish it was Jacinta Allan resigning.
    I am so sick of seeing her in newspapers cutting cakes and doing presentations like a typical, bimbo..

    Everyone says she doesnt actually do any work. She has workers who do everything and she just turns up to smile for cameras.

    She is never available to see anyone, when she does she is about as uninterested as can be..

    She is just in that job for her own glory.

    She has got to go this election she is useless and embarrassment to working women.

  38. Bob Cameran has been a hard working intelligent politician with integrity for Bendigo.
    He will be greatly missed by many and his resignation will be a huge loss for Bendigo and our parliament.

    So many wish it was the useless Jacinta Allan Resigning, who seems to have a prime focus of doing nothing but smiling for camera’s..
    She is ignorant of her electorate when they try to meet with her and she has zilch intelligence.. Her entire position she seems to believe is based on her smile for the cameras and how much makeup she can put on..
    Good bye Bob, you will be missed.’

    I hope Jacinta Allan looses big time, most of Bendigo is just sick of the site of her..

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