Brian Greig’s unlikely ascension to the Democrats throne was instigated by one powerful player – former porn lobbyist and fellow gay rights activist John Davey.

From sealed section August 27

Brian Greig’s unlikely ascension to the Democrats leadership is not as innocent as it may seem.

The power behind the Brian Greig throne is his closest political confidant and former Canberra flatmate, gay activist and porn lobbyist John Davey.

Davey is a former staffer who worked for Kernot and Lees, but “resigned” after most senators said they could no longer work with him. Britney, the then legal affairs spokesperson banned him, the legal adviser, from her office.

He is also a member of the National Executive of the party, and used his position and influence against his old boss, Mystic Meg, by encouraging his ACT Division to commence the spill against her leadership in February 2001.

From the Democrats, Davey then moved into his other great love, the porn industry. He became Director of the Eros Foundation, the lobbying group for various naughty interests. At one stage, he speculated about forming a political party to represent the porn industry.

In the end, he fell out with his employers and moved on although m’learned friends might not like too much detail being canvassed here.

Brian Greig met Davey through the gay rights network. Davey encouraged him to join the Dems. On Lees’ staff, he used his position to help clear the way for Greig’s preselection in 1997, even though Greig had been in the party less than two years and had spent nearly a decade as a Labor Party staffer. When Greig came to Canberra, he stayed at Davey’s unit. Davey has always been his closest confidant and adviser.

Last year, when Greig was having trouble getting the party room to accept his strategy of holding all tax and superannuation laws to ransom until the Government caved into his sexuality politics agenda, Davey rammed an emergency policy through the National Executive tying the senators hands to supporting Greig by requiring opposition to all superannuation laws until the Government caved into his same sex couples equality agenda.

In the phone hook-up of National Executive last week, Davey was again very active, pushing for his prote51ge51 Brian Greig to get the interim leadership. Some National Executive members describe his behaviour as “bullying” to achieve the desired outcome.

Given the huge leg-up appointment as Interim Leader provides in the forthcoming leadership ballot, it will be interesting to see if Davey makes a triumphant return to the House on the Hill if Greig scoops the top job.

For when Greig speaks, it is still Davey’s voice that is often heard.

More on the power behind the Brian Greig throne

From August 28 sealed section

As the Democrats continue to haemorrhage and Brian Greig nominates for the leadership, more comes out about his friend and mentor’s John Davey’s colourful conduct.

One Democrat heavy claims that Davey and his fellow ACT rep and ex-Lees staffer, Jane Errey, were not very good at turning up to meetings, missing all the National Executive meetings in the 2001-02 financial year period including one held right on their doorstep in Canberra.

Others point to his boasting during his days at the Eros Foundation on the dirt he had on a range of Federal and State pollies, his willingness to out them and the way nothing ever actually happened.

Davey, Dem sources say, has been known to verbal his political opponents at meetings and once even told a National Exec meeting that if the party didn’t back Eros on its election platform that he would use Eros’ resources to campaign against the Dems.

The tactics of John Davey and the Eros Foundation

From second sealed section on August 28

The Australian today lead their Democrats coverage with claims that Brian Greig is being subjected to a homophobic campaign. If this is somehow referring to Crikey’s revelations about Greig’s powerbroker and former porn lobbyist John Davey then we must point out that Davey himself is no stranger to running campaigns based around sex.

For instance, check out this transcript from ABC Radio’s AM program last year.

Now you can’t directly blame John Davey for comments made by his Eros Foundation colleague Robbie Swan but check out this transcript from Four Corners in May 2000:

Threats made via 4 Corners

ROBBIE SWAN: Our members have had it up to the eyeballs, and they’ve said enough’s enough, and they’re saying that it’s time that the sex industry fought back.

DAVID MARR: These battles necessarily have to be fought out on the edges, and that’s why porn — you know, completely worthless in itself — is something that has to be contended over. Because if you don’t stop the armies there, they come in closer.

MATT BROWN: In their attempt to stop the march of conservative forces the sex industry has started to play dirty. The Eros Foundation threatens to break the unwritten rule that protects the private lives of public politicians. They threaten to publicly expose those politicians they believe are hypocrites.

ROBBIE SWAN: I mean, if a member of Parliament had something to hide, if he’s had an illicit affair or, you know, whatever — if he visits sex workers but then turns around and wants to ban brothels — I think the public have got a right to know about that. His electorate’s got a right to know about that double standard.

MATT BROWN: At this point the common ground between the sex industry and libertarians like David Marr begins to fall away.

DAVID MARR: No. That’s not on, that’s not on. I think it’s — I think it is useful for organisations like Eros to remind the politicians how very many people in Australia, for instance, subscribe to and purchase porn videos and that kind of thing. It should be, you know, clear to everybody how popular the activity is, that people are trying to suppress and censor. But no, I mean, exposing politicians’ private lives is not on. I mean, are they seriously suggesting that?

MATT BROWN: They ARE seriously suggesting exposing private lives. Just how confrontational the sex industry is prepared to be was made clear in this interview when Robbie Swan named two of the politicians he has targeted. We’ve edited out their names.

ROBBIE SWAN: Well, we’ve had a letter from *****’s constituency — you know, that he’s been having an affair with ***** — you know, the member for *****. I mean, this letter was pretty well documented. If that’s the case —

I mean, *****’s no longer a member of Parliament, but he made a big deal about X-rated videos as a National Party member, and I think that the National Party — you know, constituents of his electorate — have a right to know that he had a different agenda going on.

JULIAN MCGAURAN: It’s a cheap form of blackmail. It’s the Larry Flynt school of thought — you know, expose it.

DE-ANNE KELLY: I think it’s appalling. I mean, I really do. That shows how grubby the pornography industry is and that the Eros Foundation, frankly, are about as highbrow as their videos. It’s a smutty, dirty, grubby thing to do.

ENDS

CRIKEY: We’d be very surprised if Brian Greig condoned this sort of behaviour by the body that employed his political kingmaker, John Davey, who is now with the Fireworks Association. Can anyone help in terms of whether Davey was involved in this part of the Eros campaign as it would be very interesting if he them returned to the House on the Hill as a staffer to Democrat leader Brian Greig.

Still more on John Davey

Sealed section August 29

Crikey’s reports on Brian Greig’s mentor, John Davey, are reviving a whole lot of fond memories for Democrat insiders.

Some remember him as nothing more than a waste of time, space and taxpayers money by all senators except Greig, saying that even though Davey was on the leader’s staff, no other senator would use him. Others recall him being well protected by ex-party treasurer, ex Stott Despoja Chief of Staff and long time party stalwart, Sam Hudson. Still more think that he hated Andrew Murray more than anyone else, saying Murray was completely across Davey’s games and made it abundantly clear that he was.

These people tell how Davey flew to Perth several times during the last few months of Lees’ leadership to do research but seem to think he spent more time recruiting heavily from the local gay and lesbian community as part of an attempt to roll Murray in an upcoming preselection ballot. They recall him being grounded by Lees despite a plea from Greig.

Some former staffers dimly think that it was discovered that Davey’s computer was chock full of porn after he left and that it was kept quiet at the time because the Parliament House IT team liked Lees and didn’t want to embarrass her or her other colleagues and staff.

Peter Fray

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