Readers will have seen our report last week
that NSW Labor heavy and MLC John Della Bosca has his eye on the lower house
seat of Peats. Now, a local Labor insider has come forward with a strange Sussex Street
story:

Labor MPs on Macquarie Street have been surprised
in recent months at approaches from Sussex Street heavy Mark Arbib about the
need to put former general secretary of the NSW ALP John Della Bosca into the
lower house. The Minister for Everything lives in the seat of Peats, home to
long time right wing MP Marie Andrews.

General Secretary and Centre Unity convenor
Arbib wants to force Della in and Andrews out using his power under rule N40 to
decide preselection. Questions are being asked about why Arbib, who still
resents the way Della treated him when he was state organiser and Della ran the
party office, would want to help.

At the same time, Arbib has recently begun
telling the other power players that the party needs to look after Rockdale
Mayor Shaquette Muselmani with a seat in the Legislative Council. So it starts
to make sense – move Della into Peats and give his upper house spot to
Muselmani.

But what’s in it for Arbib? Why would he
knife a sitting female MP to help out Muselmani? Muselmani has over 400
Lebanese stacks in branches in Robert McClelland’s safe Reps seat of Barton,
which gives him the numbers overwhelmingly.

Rumours are rife that Arbib is eyeing off a
federal electorate for the next election, so he can get out of party office on
a high having defeated the state Libs with his handpicked candidate for
premier.

General secretaries have traditionally gone
into the Senate (Richardson and Loosely) or the Legislative Council (Della Bosca and Roozendaal),
so why would Mark be eyeing off a federal electorate? Perhaps he wants to be more
than a minister and power broker?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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