“Fighting over preselection has erupted in the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party as one of the state’s best-known police officers considers running for the party,” reports The Age. Fighting in more ways than one.

The copper in question is Paul Mullett, secretary of the Police Association, who has joined the party and is considering standing for preselection in the eastern suburbs seat of Forest Hill, held by the ALP’s Kirstie Marshall. The Age report had a number of interesting quotes:

“We are not commenting – there are a number of internal issues, and we are not making any comment at all,” [Mullett] said.

[Opposition Leader Robert] Doyle also refused to confirm he had met with Mr Mullett to discuss preselection.

“I don’t make comments on members of the Liberal Party or on preselections,’ he said.

“There are lots of people I would like to run, and I hope they do.”

Mr Doyle said it would be difficult for Mr Mullett to remain secretary of the association if he decided to seek preselection for the Liberal Party.

Many Liberals regard Mullett as yet another hostile union hack and wonder what the hell he’s doing flirting with their party. They also want to know why Doyle is putting up with his advances.

Mullett has been a true union hack, bent on defending his members. And these members aren’t just any ordinary workers. They’re police. People with a special duty to the public. Mullett has opposed Liberal calls for a royal commission into corruption and has publicly rejected Liberal Party policies, during the Kennett years and since.

Why do the Liberals want him? Some say desperation. Other says he will propitiate the greedy goddess Laura Norder. Then there’s the devious view. It says getting Mullett on side is a cunning move to remove a man from a position that he has consistently used to the detriment of all Victorians in general and the Liberal Party in particular.

Kirstie Marshall is considered a lightweight, but is a Bracks favourite. Winning Forest Hill will be an ask for the Libs. Do they want to square the ledger with Mullett by setting him up to crash and burn on their behalf?

Peter Fray

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