Having become accustomed to the extravagant claims, extraordinary distortions and even the fake death notices of Delia Delegate, one has to wonder why her fans have now had to endure such a long silence?
As Greg Sword disappears from the political scene (having vanished from the industrial scene some ten years ago!) into obscurity, I feel appalled that Delia Delegate has missed this opportunity for further fantastic analysis. As with Comical Ali during the fall of Baghdad, I feel that now is the time for Delia Delegate to really prove her mettle as a propagandist.
Once again, Delia should proclaim the political foresight, the mastery, and the sheer genius, of Generalissimo Sword. I can hear her now…
“The Modernisation Alliance is advancing on all fronts. Victory is certain. The wicked Right-wing running-dog servants of Capitalism and Catholicism will meet their doom at the hands of the fearless leader Greg Sword. His retirement is simply a further step in his brilliant plan to visit destruction upon the Papal running dogs of Labor Unity….”
Or perhaps Delia will strike a different note.
Perhaps Sword, as his enemies encircled his fantasy-fuelled Fuhrer-bunker, had his final rant. About how he was undone by treason, by his own disciples’ lack of faith, and how the ALP lacked the purity and commitment to realise his own divinely inspired vision.
Just as the Fuhrer declared at the bitter end that WWII had proven that the German people were not worthy of him.
I sure hope Delia captured Sword’s final speech for posterity.
Her fans eagerly await Delia’s next contribution. Because, of course, it is now apparent to even blind Freddy that Greg Sword’s “bogus journey”, begun in mid-2002, has now ended in political catastrophe for him and several of his key adherents. And in hindsight he achieved nothing but unnecessary trauma for the ALP at State and Federal level.
Delia gave us no advance clues about Greg Sword’s “retirement”, announced on February 12. In fact, Delia predicted on 2 December 2003 that Greg Sword was about to enjoy the fruits of fresh victories with a likely pre-selection success in Hotham following Crean’s imminent retirement;
“Some hope a candidate of the broad acceptability of ALP Federal President Greg Sword will consider nominating, although other prospects abound including the up and coming Bracks Minister Tim Holding or NUW leading light Martin Pakula.
An amusing story on Friday was overheard near Treasury Place that Bracks Chief of Staff Tim Pallas was talking about nominating. Tim Pallas, always the bridesmaid never the bride. Delia favours Pakula, although Holding would be sensational too. Sword is unlikely to leave the NUW, where his leadership is needed more than ever.”
It would seem that they didn’t end up needing Sword’s leadership at the NUW after all.
Nope, it certainly didn’t all turn out as Sword had anticipated back in mid 2002.
Originally, back in April 2002, Sword intended to demonstrate to his erstwhile right-wing colleagues in both the trade unions and the ALP that any faction that wasn’t prepared to be led by him must then suffer brutal defeat at his hands.
It was a flagrant and dramatic betrayal even by the grubby standards of Labor factionalism.
Yet events have proved the old adage that a factional traitor only ends up being despised by his former friends, distrusted by his new friends (who never liked him in the first place), and an embarrassment to those who remain by his side.
Many of those right-wingers that Sword had counted on joining with him at the outset actually emerged in 2003 as his fiercest enemies.
The longstanding enmity of Sword’s enemies was suddenly vindicated by Sword’s behaviour. One-time Sword-defenders were suddenly embarrassed by his actions, and rushed to join the struggle against him.
Ironically, Greg Sword played the decisive role in uniting, mobilising and motivating the Party’s Right in ways that he never achieved as a leader of that faction.
By the end of 2003 it was apparent that the Victorian Labor Unity group had survived and recovered from Sword’s premeditated treachery a year earlier. The extent of Labor Unity’s recovery, revealed at the December 2003 ALP State Conference, was unprecedented.
Kim Il Carr’s advocacy for 50/50 union/branch representation at ALP decision-making forums certainly helped. The SL secured the support of less than one third of the 300 branch delegates to the December 2003 ALP State Conference. Good to see long-time Labor Unity interests advanced by the Socialist Left faction. Thanks Kim. He is a clever little button!
Needless to say, on 2 December Delia predicted another sweeping victory for the invincible Modernisation Alliance;
“Despite self-congratulation from the Right, Labor Alliance and their partners did well within expectations in the recent internal party Victorian elections. The next State Conference will prove the Labor Alliance and partners continue to be firmly in control.”
The Victorian Labor Unity group was able to muster support from some 49% of the union and branch delegates assembled at the 6 December 2003 ALP State Conference – being only 10 votes (out of 606) short of an absolute majority. Despite having the Socialist Left, the NUW, Bob “fair-weather friend” Sercombe, vehicle union boss Ian “I’m a wholly owned Sword subsidiary” Jones and the remnants of the Cain/Button ‘Independents’ all ranged against them, Labor Unity nonetheless secured 15 positions on the 30-member Administrative Committee.
It was quite a shock for Greg Sword and Senator Kim Carr.
It was suddenly apparent that if any one of the various splinter groups that comprised the ramshackle Sword/Carr coalition were to now change sides, the whole Sword/Carr Empire would collapse in a heap.
And for a motley group largely comprised of people who had made a living out of betraying both Left and Right at key moments, it wasn’t like the idea wasn’t going to occur to them!
A clutch of professional rats relying on one another! It wasn’t the sturdy stuff 1000-year Reich’s are made of.
The period of Sword/Carr dominance of the Victorian ALP had been a mere 12 months, and had netted no real harvest for the perpetrators.
And rumours were soon circulating about the ETU’s Dean Mighell and the wily coyote Bob Sercombe both starting discreet discussions with Labor Unity leaders.
Imagine commanding a coalition that depended upon on the continuing loyalty of Bob Sercombe and Dean Mighell?
It’s a wonder that Sword and Carr get any sleep at all.
How did Delia respond to these events? With style! On 8 December she declared;
“The SDA has been thinking about leaving Labor Unity over a number of slights since the Bracks Governments re-election… Their defection to vote with the Labor Alliance or to their own group would mean the final demise of the Right. They are 10% of the state conference which would give the Labor Alliance Left partnership 63%.”
This was the equivalent of the Fuhrer promising to save Germany in 1945 with “miracle weapons” – in this case an SDA defection to the Party’s Centre-Left!
Absurd. Magnificent. Now Delia was starting to hit her stride.
Part of Delia’s charm is also her ability to issue threats. As well as promising an impending SDA defection, she warned the known dissenters in her own ranks. On 8 December Delia declared;
“Dean Mighell in fact continues to be a source of concern. It is offensive that a Greens party member can exercise such influence over the ALP. Carr’s plans for solving this problem permanently are well advanced and could change the landscape of the Party… Talk of Bob Sercombe ratting is just that, his self-preservation demands him staying where he is.”
But surely Bob Sercombe isn’t just motivated by self-preservation? Inconceivable.
And on 2 December Delia had a word of advice for Kim Carr’s critics within the Left too: “If Griffin and his right leaning Daniel Andrews jump ship, they will find themselves swamped by local defections.”
Delia was not only promising miracle weapons to her beleaguered legions, but also brutal justice to any who deserted them!
Is it just me, or can a hint of panic be detected in Delia’s pronouncements?
Not that Delia lacks a sense of humour. While picking on Jim Claven is regarded in some quarters as the political equivalent of dwarf throwing, it does nonetheless have a dedicated bunch of practitioners. It’s one of the few things that brings Victoria’s factions together for a friendly chuckle. Claven’s reputation as a harmless bumbling fool appears cemented in all quarters. Some choice Delia excerpts from the time of his candidacy for Party President include;
“Claven’s higher-ups in the SL… are known to be suspicious about his political judgement and believe he is an accident waiting to happen…”
“A cross-party view is emerging that someone committed to reform is required to lead the Party at this troubled time, not a publicly unknown unelected union hack like Claven… but he is obsessed with being President and believes that his own candidacy has played a role in restoring the Left’s fortunes in the past week. He has said this a few times. Each time without blushing.”
An interesting fact is that every trade union that Jim Claven has ever worked for (and that’s quite a list) has one thing in common; none of them voted for him to be President in 2002!
“Within his employer at CEPU, the Postal Workers think he’s a fool, the ETU don’t trust him and the Plumbers don’t either… A few are saying that moves against Claven’ own position as Policy Researcher in the national office are likely whether he’s elected President of the Party or not.”
That’s a Delia prediction that came true! Delia welcomed Claven’s replacement in December 2003;
“The Left’s Brian Daley will be running for Party President, finally ending the long national nightmare of the incompetent Presidency of Jim Claven. Jim’s modest drinking kicked up a notch or two as his term went on. Hopefully he can put all that behind him now as he returns to the obscurity from whence he came.”
But it wasn’t just a dud President that made the Modernisation Alliance look like amateurs from the start.
It was also clear to everyone that the new regime put in place at ALP Head Office in early 2003 was struggling. Its performance had made it difficult to defend and easy to attack. It had actually conferred no factional or organisational benefit upon its new rulers – but rather on Labor Unity, who enjoyed forcing Sword and Carr to defend the indefensible. The new officials Erik Locke and Andres Puig were simply a lead weight in their master’s saddlebags.
And the decline in Head Office performance under Locke and Puig has kept Victorian and Federal MPs nervous, which reflects poorly on Sword and Carr.
Whilst not even Delia could deny this decline in the performance of ALP Head Office, she would still prove a peerless blame shifter;
“The Right apparently plan to criticise Head Office which, except for the impressive Andres Puig, is failing to do much under the uninspiring Eric Locke… Head Office is just not working as well as it could. It is not ready for the federal election and is a perpetual worry. Sword is believed to be pushing Andres for the top job as part of a new deal with Alliance partners.”
Yup. Sounded like Delia intended to modernise a few of her friends as well as her enemies. It all contributed to the widespread feeling that things were unstable and dysfunctional under the new Party bosses.
Sword’s political strength had always relied upon prestige rather than power or planning. It was the prestige of his NUW contemporaries Bill Kelty and Simon Crean, the raw power of his Young Labor buddy Robert Ray, the “stacker and wacker” legend of the 1970s, and his own carefully cultivated rhetoric about ‘supporting Labor Governments’ that had sustained the Sword myth.
By the end of 2003 it was apparent that Sword was the least of his generation.
Throughout 2003 his prestige was steadily stripped from him. There was certainly no glory radiating from ALP Head Office. Sword was now known as a wrecker, not a builder. De Bruyn of the Shop Assistants’ took Sword’s ACTU vice-presidential positions from him. He was no longer an important figure there. Sword no longer held any positions in the Victorian Labor Party, and had no prospect of being re-elected as ALP National President – the first occasion in which someone served a single term in the position without being re-elected (except for Stephen Loosley – the exception that proves the rule).
Sword was even denied the traditional Presidential honour of opening the National ALP Conference. Left and Right agreed; “No thanks – we’ll let Carmen Lawrence do that.”
Hence the Right’s one time “Go To Man” had become little more than a reviled rat. A Mal Colston-like figure without the rorting – eking out his final days in those offices to which he had been elected as a Right-winger; a man living on “stolen” votes.
Sword’s frantic plea in mid-2003 to the Socialist Left’s George Campbell – “elect me as Chair of the ALP National Policy Committee and in return the Centre-Left will support your candidate for ALP National Secretary” – revealed his weakness.
This bargain was so absurdly generous that Campbell rejected it simply because of the puzzled astonishment it would generate. George Campbell didn’t need to install his boy Tim Gartrell in a gruesome coup as occurred in Victoria; Tim was already the unchallenged heir apparent. Greg Sword might treat party officials as mere factional pawns in Victoria, but Campbell understood that the ALP National Secretariat required a different standard.
Campbell and others were assiduously cultivating Gartrell’s reputation as an independent-minded and non-factional Party bureaucrat.
George is a little smarter than Kim Carr. Carr actually revels in being seen to have his very own pet State Secretary. Erik is his favourite toy.
With his bid to steer the Party’s policy processes rebuffed, Sword grew agitated. He would soon be without title. It was unthinkable.
Sword’s year in the job as National President would pass without comment, in an embarrassed silence.
At the ALP National Conference in January 2004 the new National President, Carmen Lawrence, was careful to preserve her own popularity by making no reference whatever to her loathed predecessor.
For a man obsessed by titles, medals and honorific, it was a poignant omission.
Meanwhile, Sword’s new factional order was working at a national level with a similar degree of success as it had in Victoria.
Sword led several of his long-time friends into disaster. Sword’s association with both Senator Peter Cook and Opposition Leader Simon Crean made them both targets for the Party’s Right. Crean paid a very high price for allowing his Hotham electorate office to become an organising HQ for Sword’s lackeys. By early 2003, Crean was openly favouring Sword’s interests at the expense of his own Right faction. It cost him the support of several MPs that he otherwise would have been able to rely on – including the fearsome Robert Ray.
The end of 2003 finished both Simon Crean’s leadership and Peter Cook’s career.
The dramatic treachery of Sword in 2002 had not just mobilised the Victorian Right; it had mobilised the Right across Australia. Robert Ray re-emerged from quiet solitude to again summon the Right’s chieftains across Australia to arms. Ray ensured that Joe de Bruyn, Bill Shorten, Stephen Conroy, Bill Ludwig, Arch Bevis and the various NSW party and trade union bosses all coordinated their activities as never before.
Robert Ray might have taught Greg Sword everything Greg Sword knows, but he didn’t teach him everything Robert Ray knows!
The right wing of the ALP emerged at the end of 2003 as a larger faction nationally that it had been at the time Sword and the NUW were a part of it!
Further, Sword’s arrival as the “new chief” of the Centre-Left faction had quickly led to the fragmentation of that group. Peter Cook lost his pre-selection in WA, and his refusal to accept his fate triggered a split in the WA Centre-Left. At the January 2004 ALP National Conference many trade union delegates who had traditionally supported the Centre-Left made it clear that they would not support an NUW “takeover” of their once “independent umpire” faction.
Having Greg Sword as the lead Centre-Left candidate for the ALP National Executive was widely regarded as a key blunder. As a former right-wing union boss, as someone so uniquely unable to manoeuvre in the middle ground between Left and Right, as someone regarded by the leadership of the Right as a marked traitor, Sword was the candidate that uniquely minimised the Centre-Left vote.
So non-aligned delegates voted for right wing candidates instead.
The result; of the 397-delegates gathered at ALP National Conference, a mere 18 supported Greg Sword (and 13 of these were Victorians). The ex-National President barely limped across the line as a candidate for the 21-member ALP National Executive. The Right ticket won 10 positions, and in addition one independent right-winger from the Queensland Labor Unity faction was also elected. The Left ticket won 8 positions. With Latham as Leader automatically a member, the Right had a strong position of 10-12 votes on the 21-member Executive.
Sword had led the Centre-Left into fragmentation, and now that faction has effectively ceased to exist. Its lone vote on the ALP National Executive is no longer the balance of power there – for the first time since the Centre-Left was founded in the early 1980s.
The current gag in the ALP is;
Q. “How do you establish a small ALP faction?”
A. “Put Greg Sword in charge of a large one.”
Looking forward, Sword and his inner circle confronted a bleak future. The next round of Victorian pre-selections would witness the handful of pro-Sword MPs struggle to survive; all of them either lacked sufficient local support to retain Party endorsement and/or occupied seats likely to be re-won by the Liberals.
Sword acolytes like Tim Holding, Mary Gillette and Monica Gould had virtually no local support in the ALP branches in their electorates, and never had. In 2003 Tim had failed to secure a single one of the twelve delegate spots in his electorate during the biennial rank-and-file FEA elections. Mary had secured a mere twelve votes from her own 120-member Werribee Branch – and that was after she had declared the ballot “a plebiscite on my future pre-selection.” Oops.
So low was NUW rank-and-file support in these electorates – and so strong Labor Unity’s support – that these Sword-aligned MPs could not even hope to have their pre-selections saved by Kim Carr’s Socialist Left.
Greg Sword hadn’t thought through the likely fate of the hostages he left behind when he betrayed his faction.
These seats were simply reliable Labor Unity fiefdoms that had been handed over to Sword’s sycophants throughout the 1990s as the price for Sword’s continuing factional loyalty. Following Sword’s treachery, the Right had every intention of taking back the parliamentary spots that had been extorted from it.
It was entirely feasible that by the end of November 2006 there would simply be no Sword aligned MPs in the Victorian parliament.
And they could hardly appeal their fate to the ALP National Executive.
Sword and Carr; making every post a loser.
At the federal level the NUW was deploying all its political capital to defend the Party endorsements of MPs who until mid-2002 had had no relationship whatever with the NUW. Centre-Left MPs were happy to be the recipients of NUW support, but their own ethos ensured that they would be neither grateful nor obedient.
Greg Sword found himself ruling a faction that had an alien political culture, a culture that defied factional discipline and organisation.
Sword found himself herding cats.
What was to be done? What was the future? What was Sword’s next brilliant plan to extricate his loyal band of followers from this apparent dead end? How could his loyal MPs avoid pre-selection and/or election defeat? How could his younger supporters secure any future for themselves as members of a faction that had such little strength, and so many enemies?
After the élan of the 2002 betrayal, Sword’s brilliant surprise attack, his ‘masterful’ ambush, the “Modernisation Alliance” was finding conventional factional war a trifle complex and exhausting.
It appeared that Labor Unity was now shooting back. How unfair! How unsporting!
But surely Sword had foreseen all this, anticipated it. It was incomprehensible that he had betrayed his 30-year factional allegiance in mid 2002 on a wing and prayer, without regard for the future of his followers, or their inevitable fate at the hands of a resurgent Labor Unity.
Well, it seems that when Sword betrayed Labor Unity he was actually ruled by his heart, not his head. Because there was no plan.
By the end of 2003 Sword’s dazed entourage realised that the whole wretched political journey had been about Sword’s lust for personal vengeance upon his former factional colleagues David Feeney and Bill Shorten. Beyond that single vindictive goal, there was no plan.
Perhaps Labor Unity was meant to sue for peace, and grovel to Sword on its knees, pleading for clemency? Perhaps Sword envisaged that Labor Unity would simply dissolve without him? Only those in the Fuhrer-bunker can know the whole fantasy.
The original premeditated treachery by Sword upon his enemies was easily executed. After all, nothing is easier in politics than misleading. Sword simply gave his word to support Shorten and Feeney for the positions of Victorian President and State Secretary respectively, and then didn’t. Sword was smart enough to get Shorten and Feeney to back him for the Victorian Presidency in 2000 and the National Presidency in 2001, and then dud them in return in 2002. Sword proved himself an accomplished back flipper. Brilliant. But that trick could only be pulled once. How were Sword and his followers to now endure the inevitable counter-attacks?
The mass mail-outs by the “Modernisation Alliance” to ALP members during 2003 didn’t seem to be generating the intended tidal wave of rank-and-file support for the fearless leader Greg Sword. Inconceivable.
Perhaps the depiction of Sword as the non-aligned champion of rank-and-file Party members against the faceless factional bogeymen lacked certain plausibility?
Did Sword imagine that a simple leaflet could transform his 30-year career as a factional stand over man? Come on Delia, you must tell us.
Tell us the truth Delia. Did you craft those leaflets for Sword? They reeked of your story telling talent.
Despite Sword’s initial pronouncements to press and follower alike, the NUW wasn’t positioned as a principled “neutral corner” adjudicating between the excesses of the major factions. Rather, the NUW was simply an auxiliary to the Socialist Left.
And worse, the Socialist Left appeared to have commenced declining immediately upon the NUW joining with it!
So, how does this story end?
With the NUW 1000-year Reich crumbling on all fronts in January 2004, the young and ambitious NUW colonels slowly recognised the folly and madness of their raving Fuhrer. The young conspirators perceived the impending victory of the encircling Allies, and their own empty futures.
And so these young disciples quietly murdered their Fuhrer.
In the long tradition of the NUW, the political assassination of Greg Sword has been disguised as a peaceful retirement. “Sword wants to spend more time with his young family”. Sure. Sword had taught by example how to quietly assassinate rivals inside the NUW. The lessons had been well learnt by his erstwhile followers.
The young NUW colonels snatched their chance for a new start. A new face, freed of the vendettas and hatreds that constricted his predecessor, is able to return the NUW to its rightful place, achieving a honourable settlement with both their new SL friends and their LU foes?
Perhaps another chieftain of the Socialist Left will now supplant Kim Carr in the role of “chief liaison” with the NUW? What will become of Kim Il Carr now that Sword is gone?
Will the new NUW regime deny all knowledge of the crimes of the fallen Fuhrer? “It was the Network, not us.”
Now some MPs might be saved, some pre-selections secured.
Interestingly, neither Kim Il Carr nor any of the NUW-aligned MPs had any advance knowledge of this quiet coup d’etat.
Kim Il Carr must now face up to a harsh reality. He has waged a factional “total war” based on the principle of “no prisoners” and “winner takes all”. Having scored no major successes, the Socialist Left must now endure it’s own merciless approach from a resurgent Labor Unity. Good work team!
Only Kim Il Carr would be stupid enough to advocate a “winner takes all” approach when he has a mere 51%. Shouldn’t he have waited until at least 60% was attained?
Unlike Labor Unity during 2003, Carr’s Socialist Left has no ALP National Executive from which to seek relief.
Carr’s second rise to prominence has been as successful for the Socialist Left as his first in the early 1990s. Only this time he stuffed them across Australia as well!
Kim Il Carr will probably survive – he does appear indestructible. Innumerable defeats, catastrophic political misjudgements, factional atrocities, and the denunciations of every parliamentary Leader (except Crean – need I say more!) have not diminished him. Despite the boundless sloth and stupidity of his factional lackeys, the SL still obeys his orders. Carr’s enemies in the Left have never really had the ticker to take him on. The truth is, without Kim Carr, Labor Unity would have been wiped out within the Victorian ALP in the early 1990s.
So where is Delia? What is her spin? How can ‘Sword’s Assassins’ explain these dramatic events without the aid of Delia’s fantasies?
It is not possible that Delia can stand by and let the truth speak so eloquently for itself.
We need her. It’s not the same without her…
“The Modernisation Alliance is advancing on all fronts. Victory is certain. The wicked Right-wing running-dog servants of Capitalism and Catholicism will meet their doom at the hands of the fearless leader Greg Sword. His retirement is simply a further step in his brilliant plan to visit destruction upon the Papal running dogs of Labor Unity… Soon the SDA will join the Modernisation Alliance to destroy the Right forever… Soon Dean Mighell will be removed from office at the ETU… Soon the highly talented and widely acclaimed Puig will be anointed Party Secretary… Soon Tim Holding, superhero, warrior, will achieve his destiny and become Premier… Soon Latham will introduce rule changes that will entrench the control of the Modernisation Alliance… Fear not brave patriots – victory is certain…”
Ah. I can’t wait for Delia’s return. How she handles this will be the real test of her abilities. It’s been one hell of a ride so far.
At last, a response from a Delia ally
The Swordsman has been moved to respond by that amazing spray and Crikey is not in the business of confirming any assumptions made about the identity of Reg the Representative:
Readers of Crikey can thank the two Davids, Feeney and Cragg, for their creative writing efforts in pursuit of their vendetta against Greg Sword and the NUW. Together with Senator Steven Conroy they make up the core of the Labor Unity writers collective that seeks to peddle their pet hatreds in the hope of raising enough dust to cloud their incompetence from hard working loyal members of the ALP.
It is a particular tragedy that the Victorian Premier’s Director of Strategy, David Feeney, has so much time on his hands that he is doing something other than blundering over the Scoresby freeway tolls and and disabled taxis.
Make no mistake, ‘Don’ Feeney hates Sword because he cost him his job as Secretary of the Victorian ALP Branch. This was because Sword finally had had enough. He had had enough of Labor Unity members who were prepared to play fast and loose with the money donated to the ALP by well intentioned donors who were under the impression that they were donating to the ALP and not to the parochial interests of Labor Unity and their merry band of branch stackers. He had also had enough of people prepared to bend over backwards to appease extremists within the SDA and the likes of Michael Danby’s Storm Troopers.
The new Labor Unity was founded on a lie. It once took pride in distancing itself from the antics of the NSW Right. Now it mimics them. It is a faction built upon hypocrisy and opportunism. It’s big on buying votes rather than winning votes.
Buying votes is more important to Feeney then listening to the Labor Unity’s loyal rank file members. Hence why he surrounds himself with the likes of Theo Theophanous a previous member of the far left, Telmo Languiller and Candy Broad, Julia Gillard and Martin Ferguson who’s only claim to fame is that they have more parliamentary seats then faction members.
So unless you have the money or the votes then Feeney is not interested in you and nor is his other fellow factional violin carriers. The same group can be seen walking into King Street with black brief cases carrying membership forms and rolls of money.
It is little wonder that Labor Unity is so petrified of the change to the administration of the Party. They are a hollow-log. A group of people which encourages questionable tactics to get to the top of the tree.
So it’s no wonder Sword left Labor Unity, and small wonder that Feeney hates Sword so much. Sword made the crucial mistake of suggesting that Labor Unity should listen to the rank and file and that Feeney was more interested in cleaning his dinner plate than the party he allegedly ran.
Feeney was more interested in long lunches and interfering in union elections than running the branch as State Secretary although you can’t deny it was a magnificent election victory last year. This is why he resembled a Dugong in pinstripe by the end of his time at King Street. Not that he is a bad bloke, but in my opinion he just can’t bring himself to do enough hard work unless it involves a long lunch or doing someone over.
Marginal seats were important to him because he needed the votes to elect his candidates to the Ministry. Oh and what may you think Ministerial appointments have to offer to Feeney’s world? Simple, he along with his other Labor Unity powerbrokers like to use a Minister’s officers as a storage house for their factional warriors.
Some Labor Unity Ministers effectively can end up as indirect revenue raisers for Labor Unity. It seems that the definition for some select public servants has become a lot broader under the Feeney reign as the Premier’s Director of Strategy. You now need to possess skills in business management, accounting, and not sleeping because how else would you run a private company and do your job as an employee of the State.
Whilst the former ALP Assistant State Secretary Daniel Andrews worked his guts out running the Victorian branch, Feeney was busy with his own projects. Feeney ran the fundraising unit like a Labor Unity cabal, appointing the apparatchik Vicki Yanalatos to the Fundraising job – this used to be an Organisers job, and she was appointed without any recourse to the Party.
Feeney then proceeded to use her to raise funds for preselection purposes. Apparently Yanalatos had a Labor Unity fundraiser at her house last Christmas and on the surface appeared quite harmless. Yet when you consider that this is just one in many events conducted by Feeney’s bag girl it’s little wonder people at King Street are wondering why they pay her $70,000 a year to raise money using the Progressive Business resources and contacts for Feeney’s caper.
That’s one method how Labor Unity fund the 6000 members they renew on a minium rate each year. That is 6000 votes at $30 each which is $180,000. Some Greek, some Vietnamese, many Turkish. I reckon some don’t know they are members of the Party. That is how we get such Nobel Laureates as Sang Ngyen, Telmo Languiller and John Eren in Parliament. It is recruiting facilitated by Feeney and his supporters. But does Yanalatos know where all the money comes from? I doubt it. With all this going on, Greg Sword simply had no choice. Is it any wonder that he and the NUW set up a new faction?
For all the talk of the mad Left by Feeney and Shorten, these were blokes who sided with Craig Johnson, Dean Mighell and Peter Marshall – the `Workers First’ Team, who all quit the Party for the Greens, and then exercised their power from outside. The Party was drifting to the rabid left.
Sword ended all that rubbish. Decisively.
And now the war on branch stacking continues to march on, and the new rules and procedures put in place by State Office are raising the bar for factional warlords everywhere. Andres Puig has been handed membership in an effort to clean the whole mess up – and he is tackling it with aplomb.
Locke refuses to move on Yanalatos but I predict it is only a matter of time before he does something about the fundraising.
No wonder Labor Unity doesn’t like it. It’s because the branch stackers are locked out of the State Office. Now, that’s not what they wanted, is it?
Let’s just look at how they reacted:
• They challenged the validity of rules passed by the Party’s supreme governing body, State Conference, that had passed the rules democratically and with the required majority – this challenge resulted in a huge number of FEAs that had been massively stacked to gain hugely increased representation.
• They spent every working moment trying to undermine the leadership of Simon Crean.
• They lodged FOIs against State Labor Minister, Tim Holding which were lodged by the TWU, the union where Feeney and Conroy used to work.
• They ambushed State Conference in May with a series of motions designed to destabilise and ultimately end the Conference. They also managed to gag the Deputy Leader, Jenny Macklin, during the debate.
• They lodged a dispute against a number of unions at both State and Federal level on the basis of their affiliations to the Party – and then leaked it to the media at both State and National levels.
The next time you are reading David Feeney’s diatribe on Crikey, ask yourself why this bloke hasn’t got better things to do.
EDITOR: Once again, we only publish this in the interest of free speech and both sides are certainly throwing plenty of punches. However, we certainly don’t confirm the assumption from the Swordsman that Feeney is Reg the Representative. From our dealings with Feeney he seems an affable enough bloke who has had tremendous success inside the ALP. Look at that landslide election victory he masterminded last year.