Branch stacking allegations, insults from the floor, threats of
violence, intimidation and forgery – throw in just a pinch of policy
discussion and you’ve got yourself a Victorian ALP state conference.
Saturday’s event was louder and more passionate than the corresponding
spectactor sport down the road; Carlton’s final match at Princess Park.
Labor’s theatre of the absurd ended with the Right assering its
domanance on the floor, by voting through a censure motion against the
Left’s state president Brian Daley over “misrepresentations to the
media” over the factional brawling. Of course, when you’re in
Opposition the only fights worth anything are over internal party
spoils. But, hang on, this is Victoria, the party is in power, and has been for the past six years.
The party’s leadership has deserted the scene and left the factions to
fight it out. Kim Beazley was absent on Saturday, his deputy, Victorian
Jenny Macklin spoke early in the day but then was nowhere to be seen.
When Steve Bracks took the stage earlier than originally scheduled,
he launched a generic plea to end branch stacking – then left the
stage and the conference to descend into good old fashioned Labor
There were highlights: Kelvin Thompson gave the best speech anyone had
seen him give for years, inside or outside parliament – on internal
branch stacking. It was that kind of affair. Lots of p*ss and wind.
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This morning, Labor’s embattled state president Daley has raised the
stakes in the party’s rorting crisis by turning the spotlight back on
Steve Bracks. “The premier is going to have to rethink his tactics,” he
told Jon Faine this morning. “I think the conference is a rebuff to him
as much as a rebuff to me. If he wants to continue to justify his image
of a clean politician…he’s going to have to come out and say that
Over to you, Steve Bracks.