A skilled operator in
the labyrinth of Labor politics is working in Premier Paul Lennon’s
office in the lead-up to the 18 March Tasmanian election. Following a
tip off toTasmanian Times
we can reveal that the man in question is Jody Fassina, a former
MacBank spinner who once worked for Peter Cook, then Labor’s deputy
leader in the Senate.

Fassina is believed to be factionally
aligned with the ALP independents but rumours abound that he is also
linked to factional warlord Stephen Conroy. Crikey put in a call to
Conroy’s office this morning and was told that Fassina had never worked
for Conroy. But if we wanted to speak to Fassina, she had his number
and would pass on the request. We did and do, but he hasn’t rung back.

Fassina
is believed to be a consultant and Crikey hears that a PR firm
headhunted him, acting on the Lennon Government’s behalf to find
someone who knows how to grease the wheels during the election campaign.

It’s been a grubby campaign all round but yesterday Lennon’s lads were forced to admit they had dredged up dubious dirt
on the Greens, suggesting they had a shady front company to hide
$750,000 in donations. After their role was revealed by Lennon’s
chief-of-staff and former Launceston Examiner editor, Rod
Scott, and Labor’s Government Leader of Business in the Legislative
Council, Michael Aird, accepted responsibility. Looking like a startled
rabbit in the spotlight, Aird tried to brave it out at a media
conference.

This morning on ABC Radio’s AM program, it
was revealed that “a disgruntled staffer” in Lennon’s office had told
the ABC that there was indeed a dirt unit in operation, with
“volunteers” working alongside paid staffers.

Meanwhile, Crikey
rang Lennon’s chief media advisor, Matthew Rogers, to ask him about
Fassina’s job – but he’s refusing to speak to Crikey because we called
him an “attack dog.” Funny that. Matthew was once a fearless Mercury
political reporter who dubbed then Premier Jim Bacon “The Emperor,” a
term which stuck. Bacon was so enraged he refused to speak to Rogers.
In due course Rogers winged his way to London, where he worked as a
journo, only to return to work for Bacon.

Peter Fray

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