So Simon Crean has “sh*t it in”
in Hotham. Well done Sime.

“It’s just an overwhelming victory for the rank and file,” Crean says.
“It smashes the factional leaders. They’ve completely misunderstood the
strength of the support for me.”

Yes, an old hack from the Storemen and Packers has seen off a young hack
from their successor union, the NUW. A triumph for democracy indeed. Or
democracy as it’s understood in Victorian ALP terms.

And because we’re talking Victorian Labor, there are plenty of
conspiracy theories doing the rounds today.

Probably the most interesting one says it doesn’t matter that Pakula
looks like a palooka. The bloke who really matters is already up – Bill
Shorten.

One of the key reasons for rolling Crean and the other Victorian MPs
under threat– rejuvenation – has failed with the preselectors. In which case
Shorten, if he really is the new Bob Hawke, has to very quickly deal with
another “re” theme – reconciliation.

Remember the 1983 campaign theme? Remember the slogan? “Bringing Australia together.” This will be a matter of
stopping the Australian Labor Party from falling apart. The new Bob Hawke needs
to borrow the original’s lines.

Stephen Conroy has failed. That’s a blow for Labor Unity. Victorian
Labor insiders say Shorten will now have to take full control of LU – both
publicly and in terms of tactics – extend an olive branch to Crean and get the
faction back on track.

Nothing like starting his career with a challenge. And, no. Not that
sort of challenge. Yet…

Peter Fray

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