tip off

David Feeney zeroes in on PM’s prized Victorian seat

Labor Party warlords have begun to outline a succession plan in Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s seat of Lalor, with Senator David Feeney leading all-comers to stake a claim to the seat at a byelection following a devastating federal election loss.

Feeney — elected in the 2007 Ruddslide from the No.3 Senate “death spot” — will almost certainly be forced from Parliament from the same ballot position at next federal poll, due in August 2013.

But what some Victorian Labor insiders have dubbed the “Silvertop rule”, the factional chieftain will be offered the “first available” Victorian lower house federal seat in the aftermath of an expected obliteration at the ballot box.

That seat could well be Lalor — it’s considered extremely unlikely the PM would stick around after suffering an ignominious defeat (or as a backbencher in the event of a successful Kevin Rudd challenge), triggering a byelection battle next October in the same manner as Anna Bligh.

Feeney’s emaciated “rebel Right” factional base was formally excluded from preselections under the state party’s 2009 stability pact. It was once thought he could contest Wills following a Kelvin Thomson resignation in a strings-attached peace deal with national right forces aligned to Senator Stephen Conroy. But that scenario has now receded rapidly from view.

A spokesperson for Thomson told Crikey this morning that the sitting member will “be going around again next year and in future elections as well,” adding for good measure that “Kelvin’s definitely running 100%.”

Multiple Wills factional players, including a former state MP, told Crikey this morning that the “heat had gone out” of bombs lobbed by Feeney apparatchiks from their Sydney Road bunker after tension peaked in October 2010 over this battle for control of the Merri Community Health Service, dutifully reported by Sunday Age state politics gun-turned Jakarta correspondent Michael Bachelard.

One senior operative called the “Feeney for Lalor” bid “very plausible”, this morning. “The only other option is for a last-minute necking [in Wills] by the national Right.”

Harry Jenkins’ Scullin was once mooted as another possibility, however the Left is unlikely to agree to any deal to shoehorn its bete noire into that seat without massive and sustained compensation (and that’s if Jenkins pulls the pin at all). A Left candidate would trounce Feeney if a preselection were held.

Labor currently holds Lalor by a booming 22.2% — its fifth-safest seat behind Gorton, Scullin, Wills and Gellibrand. It is controlled by Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy’s Labor Unity faction under the stability pact that unites the Socialist Left, the mainstream Right and the conservative shop assistants’ union.

Feeney’s forces have been effectively dealt back in to the pact — but one potential sticking point is Feeney’s inexplicable and continuing support for sacked Health Services Union chief Kathy Jackson, who is considered a rat of the highest order among the cabinet and the upper echelons of the trade union movement.

Feeney and Shorten were arm’s-length allies in their Young Labor days in the early 1990s with each eager to preserve their own respective campus fiefdoms — a testy dynamic that persists to the present day. Jackson served as a co-office bearer with Feeney on the Melbourne University Student Union and the duo remain friends.

If the Lalor chop-out is realised, a Senate nightwatchman would need to be fingered by the state party to serve until June 30, 2014 — a move previously enacted at state level when ministerial quitter Evan Thornley and Theo Theophanous upped sticks.

An extremely unlikely spanner in the works could come if Shorten lost his safe seat of Maribyrnong in an apocalypse, forcing him to contest the comparatively-safer Lalor that he controls. On its current primary vote of about 30%, Labor would be reduced to a rump in the House of Representatives, but should hold on to its Victorian crown jewels.

Key Feeney acolyte and ALP national conference star Stephen Donnelly did not return calls this morning.

Meanwhile, nominations for general Victorian Labor federal preselections will open at the end of the month.

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  • 1
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Just heard on the news that Labor are now doing boatpeople pickups in Indonesian waters.

    Illegals don’t even have to make it to Australian waters anymore, and Labor scratches their heads wondering why the people smugglers are sending so many boats.

    My God, just how useless and incompetent can this government get? Election now please

  • 2
    Filth Dimension
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    and the troll of the year award goes to…….^

  • 3
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Sorry it’d not trolling, it’s the truth.. and it hurts.

    Check todays news, we have our Navy vessels up in Indonesia.

    BTW, where is the Indonesian navy??? What are they doing, shouldn’t they be doing the rescues?

    The Coalitions policy is to Tow Back the Boats.

    Looks like Labors policy now is to Tow IN the Boats. What a disgrace

  • 4
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Why does Crook believe that that the next federal election is ‘due in August 2013’?

    On 18 April 2012 Poll Bludger wrote in Crikey that ‘The window for a normal election is thus between August 3 — the earliest conceivable date for a half-Senate election — and November 30, the last possible date for a House of Representatives election’.

    On 20 July 2011 MacKerras wrote for Crikey ‘The next general election will be in October 2013’, and I think it was Emerson earlier this week who expected the election in about 15 months, which would also put it in October 2013.

  • 5
    Deipnosoph
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Does Crikey have any policy on whether a comment should have any relevance to the actual article?

    And Troll Geewizz - they’re not illegals.

  • 6
    my say
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    How would gee wiz know this
    Crickey should be moderating posts ,,,

  • 7
    my say
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Geewiz should be moderated

  • 8
    Filth Dimension
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Geewankers job here is done. Crikey should delete his posts and all the others relating to it, mine included and start again.

  • 9
    eric
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I live in the seat of Lalor and wouldnt vote for Feeney in a fit!

    I hope even if Labor are defeated that Julia stays on as our local member.

  • 10
    john2066
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Nauseating. It’s just so insulting how these lazy labor insiders, most of whom have never done a day’s work in their lives, just divide up the seats between them. Hopefully there are a lot more people like Eric above - I agree, I would never vote for Feeney in a fit either, nor should anyone else!

  • 11
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Does Crikey have any policy on whether a comment should have any relevance to the actual article?”

    It’s got to do with Labors fortunes…. or lack of. Just another policy bungle, add it to your list

  • 12
    Filth Dimension
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how many swinging voters actually scroll down to the comments section of Crikey for some insight, probably not a lot, bright sparks that they are. It makes you wonder why the likes of Geewanker & Suzie Blinker even bother.

  • 13
    klewso
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    An empty senate seat with bloody traces.
    A one-way ticket to the damnedest places,
    And still your ego clings ……
    These foolish things remind us of you.

  • 14
    geomac62
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Filth Dimension
    The best way is to ignore them completely but if temptation is too much reply once only .
    I,ll have to check out Feeney because I think I,m confusing him with Denby .

  • 15
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Filth the problem is that as they can attest over at the bludger, I have been warning them about the boatpeople disaster for years.

    Unfortunately their solution which is similar to Labors is to stick their heads in the sand and hope it will all go away.

    I mean this government never takes good advice… it either does nothing until the problem is so big they can no longer ignore it, or they do something completely knee-jerk and stupid. This article is all about Labor pollies planning on whats happening “after Gillard”, despite her being PM for less than 2 years.

    Even Labor now realises they have no chance at the election, which makes the pain on the poor Australian public even that more painful, because it means they are staying for the sake of staying and nothing more.

  • 16
    Mack the Knife
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    There’s a long way to go till the election and no way Phoney or some other LNP twit won’t stuff up badly before then.

  • 17
    klewso
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    But will it be enough to turn this “vigilante mob”?

  • 18
    geomac62
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    There are a lot of ifs in the article and the only direct quote I could see referred to Kelvin Thomson . As an election looms people tend to focus on What has been done by the government and how plausible are the policies of an opposition . There is also the natural trend for people togo with what they have before . No matter what the polls say now come federal election time the gaps narrow . Howard won an election with fewer votes but a couple more seats . Hewson lost the so called unloseable election . As for the seat of Lalor well the only thing that removed Howard despite his many setbacks was getting voted out .

  • 19
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    There are no such people as illegals and they are in international waters minding their own business so we cannot lawfully do anything about them.

    The only time we can legally interfere is if they are in real danger or if they are 20 nm from our shores and inside that zone.

    Then the only thing we can do is let them land.

    Because that is the ancient mariners law and we have to accept it no matter how much Gee whines.

    As for Feeney, his support for the disgraced Jackson should see him dropped out of politics altogether.

  • 20
    Savonrepus
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Julia is so desperate that she is electorially enrolling them and given them how to vote cards as she tows in the boats. No wonder she doesn’t want to declare any Indos underage. This is Operation Tow in the Votes.

  • 21
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Everyone in Labor know they and Gillard are gone. Except the leftes here of course

  • 22
    Gocomsys
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    David Feeney zeroes in on PM’s prized Victorian seat”.
    So the MSM “society destabilisation campaign” continues unabated. This article, as expected meets the abysmal standard of “The Australian”, however the writing style is more akin to the “Daily Terror”.
    These topics do not pass the “public and national interest test” but trolls and dimwits always find them irresistible. Like flies to the dung heap! QED

  • 23
    Gocomsys
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Oops, moderated, should have known better the “i e” trap!

    “David Feeney zeroes in on PM’s prized Victorian seat”.
    So the MSM “society destabilisation campaign” continues unabated. This article, as expected meets the abysmal standard of “The Australian”, however the writing style is more akin to the “Daily Terror”.
    These topics do not pass the “public and national interest test” but trolls and dim wits always find them irresistible. Like fli es are attracted to the dung heap! QED.

    Did it work, I wonder?

  • 24
    Gocomsys
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Time to go. The “warped brigade” is out in force! Good night to all genuine posters.

  • 25
    peter.maywald@yahoo.com
    Posted Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    In relation to preselections, I just heard Clive Palmer on ABC putting in a bid for the seats of either Kennedy or Fairfax. He rubbished Tony Abbott’s criticism of him and said that he had knocked on 4,000,000 doors since 1969. That’s 43 years or 15,695 days - meaning that he would have had to knock on 255 doors a day assuming that he spent every single day doorknocking. Allowing 3 minutes per house/flat (including time to walk between them), that would amount to 12 hours and 45 minutes each of those days. That wouldn’t leave him much time to run his business or blow his bags on the media - let alone eating and sleeping! The media love him because he says outrageous things - but fail to question some of these truly ridiculous claims - such as the Greens being funded by the CIA and his “plan” to rebuild a full-scale version of the Titanic. Enough is enough - he shouldn’t get the airtime to spread his crazy version of populism. en him back to doorknocking…

  • 26
    john2066
    Posted Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    Feeney is a worthless, obese pile of dung. I urge everyone to put him last on whatever ballot he’s on.

  • 27
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    @ john2066

    Feeney is a worthless, obese pile of dung. I urge everyone to put him last on whatever ballot he’s on.”

    wow lefty attacking lefty…. should be more of it

  • 28
    Paddy Forsayeth
    Posted Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz It might be coalition policy to tow back the boats but for a list international legal reasons it simply can’t be done. Period. This is another one of Abbots stupid ideas. Bad luck you are so mesmerized by that clown you can’t think.

  • 29
    john2066
    Posted Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    LOL at being called a lefty.

    If anything, I’m far more in favor of free markets than people in the Liberal party - the party that backs the pharmacists, surgeons, Gina’s monopoly licenses (no free market there!), existing pay tv operators etc.

    They preach it, but they sure as mustard dont practice it.

  • 30
    Filth Dimension
    Posted Saturday, 7 July 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    John2066, don’t forget direct action, government subsidies for industry etc. The coalition are so full of it…they managed to fool the nationals and look how they sold out the farmers in favor of the good ole US of A.

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