—–Original Message—–
From: Danby, Michael (MP) [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 06 March 2006 16:10
To: Ellis, Kate (MP)
Subject: Some idle thoughts about Martin Ferguson’s whinge in today’s Australian

Today we are forced to read Martin Ferguson’s complaints in The Australian about poor Simon Crean being rolled out of Hotham by what he described as an exercise in corrupt factional politics.

But
many of us remember that in 1996 Martin himself was installed in the
seat of Batman by just such a deal, overriding the wishes of the
majority of ALP members in the seat, who wanted a local candidate –
Martin was not even a Victorian at that time, let alone a Batman
resident.

Those with longer memories will recall that in 1990
Simon Crean, having missed out on Melbourne Ports, forced himself into
the seat of Hotham with the support of the Right faction, pushing out
not only the sitting member, Lewis Kent, but also Jenny Acton, a local
candidate who had the numbers lined up to be Kent’s successor. Simon
had no connection with the seat, living (as he still does) in Middle
Park.

Both Martin and Simon have always been happy to have
factions and union officials make decisions in the Labor Party when it
has suited their interests. Both benefited from the “divine right of
ACTU presidents” to be given safe seats. Now, when they no longer have
the numbers, they have discovered that this is all terribly corrupt and
undemocratic.

Simon’s fate is being decided by rank-and-file
ALP members in Hotham. That’s a process he didn’t bother with in 1990 –
he just got his factional friends to tell Jenny Acton to withdraw. He
complains now about branch-stacking. He’s been MP for Hotham for 15
years: if he can’t recruit his own supporters into his own branches,
that’s his fault, not Hong Lim’s or anyone else’s.

Simon Crean
is not deserving of Martin’s sympathy. He has been a failure in every
job he has held since 1996. He was a dud Shadow Treasurer, then a dud
Leader, then a dud Shadow Treasurer again – if we had had an effective
Shadow Treasurer during the 2004 election, we might have done better.
He also played a leading role in the Latham fiasco, apparently out of
sheer spite against Kim Beazley.

I’m sorry that Martin thinks
that Labor is “corrupt,” “decaying” and “in meltdown.” One has to ask,
if he thinks things are this bad, what is he doing about it? Us rotten
corrupt right-wingers are at least trying to bring some new, talented
members such as Bill Shorten, Mark Dreyfus QC, David Feeney and Richard
Marles into Caucus, while Martin supports failures like Simon and does
nothing about time-servers like Bob Sercombe and Harry Jenkins.

Regards
Michael Danby

PS
I am scoring 80-90% in my preselection. Melbourne Ports has twice as
many ALP members as Hotham, with 323 having voted so far.

CRIKEY: He’s not too bad at doing his numbers. He scored about 77% of the vote in his preselection last night.

Peter Fray

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