**WARNING: The screengrabs contained in this story are unedited and contain vile profanity, sexism and other inappropriate language.**
The Australian’s ace reporter John Ferguson has exposed a Page One story eerily similar to the Baillieu blogging saga that caused months of instability in Victorian Liberal ranks in 2008.
And just as then, the VEXNEWS Investigations Unit is on the case to shed even more light on the sorry situation.
Bevan has been knowingly concerned in an unsubtle intra-factional power-grab, acting on behalf of his boss Senator Scott Ryan against the interests of respected rival and Greens-buster Senator Helen Kroger. This manifested itself in moves against Victorian John Shipp, recently elected the federal President of Australian Liberal Student Federation. Leaks against Bevan appear to be provoked by his involvement in this intriguing.
Many have scratched their heads at the folly of the Ryan-sanctioned maneuvers, given that they centre on whether he gets to be #2 or #3 on the Liberal Senate ticket. Based on the published polls, they might consider a fight over preselection for a fourth quota.
Ferguson’s story tells a sorry tale of a young man with awesome ambition and boundless stupidity:
Liberal aide admits anti-Coalition tweets
– EXCLUSIVE –
By JOHN FERGUSON, VICTORIAN POLITICAL EDITOR
AN influential Liberal Party adviser quit last night after admitting sending vulgar anti-Coalition messages that undermined federal and state MPs.
Daniel Bevan quit the office of Victorian senator Scott Ryan after The Australian uncovered evidence of back-biting, sexist and apparently racist messages in his Twitter account.
It is believed he resigned after being confronted by Senator Ryan about the content of one of his Twitter accounts, which attacked senior federal and state Liberals and included dozens of references to female genitalia.
Mr Bevan becomes the fifth Victorian Liberal forced to quit after abusing social media and the internet since the 2008 “Red Ted” blogging scandal erupted inside the party’s Melbourne headquarters.
He also has quit the party’s powerful state executive, which effectively runs the organisation between state council meetings.
A furious Senator Ryan, the Coalition’s opposition spokesman for small business and competition, said he had no idea the Twitter account, which posted messages under the pseudonym “Santos–Halper”, was being used by a staff member.
Senator Ryan last night said in a statement: “I spoke to Daniel this afternoon about these matters. He has resigned from my staff.”
Mr Bevan is believed to have volunteered his resignation just hours after denying to The Australian he had sent the messages.
“This was a silly thing to have done. What I did was stupid and I’ve resigned,” Mr Bevan said last night.
Targets of Mr Bevan’s Twitter rants include federal opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu, Victorian Treasurer Kim Wells Continued on Page 2 Continued from Page 1 and Victorian Health Minister David Davis.
Mr Bevan singled out the Baillieu government, suggesting that it would wreck the economy and that the state’s AAA credit rating would be lost under Mr Wells. Liberal insiders also believe the Twitter site includes a vulgar reference to former Liberal senator Judith Troeth.
On Mr Davis, Mr Bevan wrote: “David Davis’ (sic) voice makes me want to self harm.”
On Peter Dutton, he wrote: “If Peter Dutton is a future leader of the Liberal Party, it’s more pharked (sic) than even I thought.”
Party sources said there was no choice but to deal with Mr Bevan, given the blogging scandal that tore through the party in 2008 when four Liberals were sacked for either undermining Mr Baillieu or using racist comments.
Mr Bevan bragged on the eve of the Victorian state election last year that he would “welcome every newspaper in Victoria into the cancerous cell”. This will be seen as a direct reference to Mr Baillieu having attacked a so-called cell in the Victorian Liberal Party in 2008 that had worked against his leadership.
The Australian has copies of several pages of tweets sent by Mr Bevan, including one awarding the Seven Network’s Mark Riley “C . . t of the Year”.
There also was a reference to “M’s of every variety at DFO”, which a party source said appeared to refer to Muslims. When contacted by The Australian yesterday morning, Mr Bevan denied the offending account was his.
“Not mine,” he said. “But I understand what’s going on.”
Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach said the behaviour could not be tolerated. “Under no circumstances does the party accept such behaviour, particularly from senior office bearers,” he said.
Bevan had previously been both the “Action Faction” Kroger-Costello group’s and the Baillieu group’s favoured candidate for the Admin Committee but as VEXNEWS had previously reported had not polled particularly well. Critics accused of him being a “poser” and “wanker”.
Certainly the way he handled this, admitting the tweets to some people, then denying them to John Ferguson then ultimately fessing up to his boss and quitting, has not been a good look and is in many respects worse than the ugly tweets which you can see in full here.
Political insiders have explained that Bevan was a very enthusiastic tweeter, with many different accounts:
–@DanielCBevan–unlocked, public account. Used infrequently to push Lib Party lines.
–@JackWorthing–locked, private account. Open to 100 followers. Used to speak frankly, occasional course language. Now deleted.
–@Santos__Halper–locked, private account. Used to disparage Ted Baillieu, use foul and sexist language. Previously open to approx 25 people. Since deleted after internal divisions emerged over Bevan’s candidacy for the Admin Committee.
–@Nokehunz–Strongly suspected to belong to Bevan. Read to be “no c***s” –very limited followers list. Seemed to replace @Santos__Halper. No info available.
Bevan has paid a high price for his inappropriate Tweets.
Some of his mates tell VEXNEWS that he is not the only Victorian Liberal of his age group who might have been indiscreet, even racist or sexist, in their comments on Twitter or Facebook.
There could be much more to come, they mutter darkly.
Although topping Daniel Bevan’s efforts would take some doing.