The Liberal Party in Victoria is moving further into the hands
of the right. Preselections in the “burbs” seem to be bringing support
for far right candidates. Toorak Young Liberals and Cranbourne Young
Liberals are supporting a right wing candidate who supports taking
pensions off single mums, vilifying Muslims and furthering the already
outrageous IR laws. I have it on
good authority from local sources in Patterson Lakes that CR Justin
McKeegan of Kingston Council and Young Liberals Luke Martin and Angelo
Georgatsos are behind the push for these candidates.

Watch for Craig Thompson,
national secretary of the HSU based in Melbourne until this year. He
suddenly relocated himself and the nat office of the HSU to Sydney and
moved to
the marginal seat of Dobell on the Central Coast. Obviously too many
union hacks and not enough winnable seats in Vic. Supported by Hutchins
and the machine men of the ALP right in NSW – and currently using
union
funds (and a lot already – in excess of $15,000 in one month) and the
Senator’s mailing allowance to sponsor soccer games on the coast and to
letterbox what looks suspiciously like election material (complete with
headshot) to voters under the guise of aged care concerns or your
rights at work. Dobell had never heard of the HSU before January and
is now being inundated. NSW ALP head office have completely p*ssed off
the
rank and file on the coast, a parochial area that doesn’t take kindly
to outsiders, and particularly those with no credentials other than the
numbers. Rumours abound that an N40 is nigh. Go back where you came
from Mexican and let the ALP members of Dobell choose their candidate.

At a reselection convention on Sunday,
the Liberal Party preselected Phillip Daw, 60, for the seat of Mitcham,
held by ALP by 7.7%. Whilst not considered a winnable seat at the
upcoming election, the Administrative Committee, fresh from creating a
remarkable precedent by refusing to endorse Gordon Ashley (the Admin
Committee of the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party had never
before exercised its power to refuse to endorse a preselected
candidate) for the seat of Bayswater (ALP held by 2.5%), is already
considering whether it will refuse to endorse Mr Daw. At the original
closing date for Mitcham only three candidates had nominated, and not
being happy with the quality of the three candidates, the nomination
deadline was extended. One extra candidate nominated and the
preselection convention went ahead, but the additional candidate pulled
out before the convention was held. In another preselection held on
Saturday, Kroger faction candidate Emanuele Cicchiello, a former Mayor
of the City of Knox, lost preselection to the non-aligned Heidi
Victoria. Mr Cicchiello also contested and lost last year’s
preselection for Ferntree Gully in yet another rebuke for the Kroger
faction.

It appears that after just 12 months at Melbourne Town Hall,
Greens Councillor Frasier Brindley is already yearning for bigger and
better perks. Frasier is emerging as the front runner to take on
Bronwyn Pike at this year’s state election in the seat of Melbourne. It
seems the Melbourne Branch are trying to tinker with the preselection
process in order to push back an official announcement to avoid a
possible backlash from the MCC and Green members alike regarding his
short tenure at Town Hall. There are two issues of concern here. 1) The
Greens who claim to be above the preselection shenanigans of the ALP
are effectively fixing the contest for Frasier. 2) And on the back of
David Risstrom standing for the Senate, the MCC position is becoming
the transit lounge for Greens planning on launching their state and
federal government careers. In both cases one must ask what do we mean
by “grassroots democracy”?

Peter Fray

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