The weekend’s Victorian Legislative Council preselections have provided hours of fun. A Who’s Who of the factional zoo attended – junior branch stacker Andrew Higgs and wannabe powerbroker Priscilla Ruffolo, Tony O’Leary’s eyes and ears on Treasury Place.

There’s talk that sitting MP Richard Della-Riva cut a deal with enthusiastic recruiter Vasan so that Vasan’s half dozen or so votes got Della-Riva through the four ballots to decide the top spot on the ticket, but then that less than half of his numbers then went Vasan’s way, leaving a very unhappy wannabe.

Then there was another attack on Bruce Atkinson – a fake email purportedly from Labor pollster John Armitage to Assistant State Secretary Andres Puig, dated last Tuesday – sent to delegates:

The bad new is we ran out of time to rope in the Atkinson questions for Ferntree Gully, Kilsyth and Eltham but got lucky in the focus groups for Bayswater, Forest Hill and Mitcham…

I’ll send through the report in a few days but the initial feedback was very positive.

If (as I believe) Atkinson gets the nod next Sunday I would urge you to talk to Bracks, Pallas and Newnham about throwing some real money towards the campaign out East. There is no reason why we can’t pick up three out of Eastern Metro on the back of a campaign focusing on Atkinson’s love affairs with the x-rated p*rn industry…

There’s more – and it provoked this response to the state Liberal Party HQ by Armitage:

As you will know well as a purchaser of internal political polling the matters alleged to have been tested would in reality never be explored by a professional polling company. Nor is the tone of the email consistent with the way I would report research findings to my clients.

From an ALP perspective I am encouraged to see that some of your members are pre-occupied with defaming your MPS and I hope this internal animosity continues to occupy them for the year ahead.

Having said that I wish you well for the upcoming campaign. Please feel free to call me if there are any other matters I can clarify or be of assistance with.


Faking an email is fraud, and Crikey understands the plods have been called in. No wonder Armitage says he is “encouraged.” Only a very select and senior few had access to the mailing list to know where to send the sh*t sheets.