The Oz
today reports on the antics of “bankrupt property developer David Baynie” in the
Epping preselection. I’m not sure if he’s bankrupt. When I first met him in
August 2001, he was driving a white Mercedes Benz sports car. And he certainly
expressed little interest in Epping.

A right-wing
powerbroker named “James” approached me in July 2001 to help Baynie stack a
branch in Hornsby, then dominated by the small “l” liberal group faction. James
said Baynie was a developer with ambitions of getting into local government.
James also suggested Baynie’s numbers could help the Right “knock off”
(then Immigration Minister) Phillip Ruddock, regarded as a
“Leftie”.

The branch AGM
was held at a community centre near Hornsby Post Office. Attendees at the
meeting included Mr Ruddock and Hornsby Councillor Nick Berman (whom
conservative Young Libs nicknamed “Vermin” when he was a small “l”
liberal).

Before the
meeting, Baynie came to my house seeking constitutional and procedural advice. I
agreed to help him on condition he donate $150 toward a function I’d
organised to support the Liberal Candidate for the Auburn by-election.

(Incidentally,
I was the only valid nominee for the Auburn Liberal preselection but was pressured to stand down
as Chika wanted a female candidate to run against Labor’s Barbara Perry. But
that’s a story for another time …)

Members of
Baynie’s extended family and church congregation attended the meeting that
afternoon. I helped him with strategies and even hand-wrote motions he was to
move to manipulate meeting procedure and allow his family and friends into the
branch. I also helped him do his numbers when ballots were cast.

At one stage,
I even tried to get an old school buddy to pressure his parents to vote for
Baynie. His father, a respected economist, refused to support Baynie, whom he
regarded as an unknown quantity.

Baynie almost
took that branch. Afterwards, he told me he wanted to have another go and needed
some support from State Executive heavies. It was then that I suggested he speak
with conservative State Exec member David Clarke. Baynie told me he hadn’t heard
of Clarke. I remember giving him Clarke’s contact details.

In case you’re wondering, I never got the $150.