For the past two weeks, The Age has produced a series of
fascinating stories connecting the criminal underworld to Melbourne’s
tough construction industry and building unions, which concluded today
with an editorial that finished:

Somebody has to investigate and, ultimately, to act. Somebody has to do more
than turn a blind eye. In 2006, a culture of silence and fear in any industry in
Melbourne is more than unacceptable. Quite possibly, it’s criminal.

Indeed, the Bracks Government has had a pretty terrible week,
particularly after the diary of strategist Tom Cargill was leaked and we
now have front page stories suggesting some dirt unit has been tracking
the children of new opposition leader Ted Baillieu.

While some Liberal MPs are walking around with a new sense of hope,
Baillieu has been moving with glacial speed. Sure, we had the junking
of Robert Doyle’s stupid “half tolls” policy on the Eastlink project, but a well-targeted
kindergarten policy was ignored by the television news bulletins
this week which instead focused on his $3.8 million share portfolio.

The personnel in Baillieu’s office has still not been finalised and
moves to get his supporters into Parliament are causing division. For
instance, Melbourne City Councillor Peter Clark is contesting the
Warrandyte preselection on Sunday week, but his past life working for
Primelife and running for council with the big-drinking Fiona Sneddon,
Billy’s hot-headed daughter, is not impressing some Liberals.

Meanwhile, the Greens are starting to run hard. Bob Brown unveiled
their eight Victorian upper house lead candidates last week, sparking this story on Stateline, which featured both Libs and Nats launching Tasmanian-style attacks on the Greens for their “loopy” and “wacky” policies.

Steve Bracks was far more conciliatory towards the Greens at the Press
Club, but it sounds like the conservative parties are a bit nervous
about Green balance of power in Victoria’s reconstituted upper house after
the 25 November election.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey