“Fledgling political party People Power has been rocked by the withdrawal of its lead candidate and a Victorian Electoral Commission investigation into claims of bogus membership.” And so it goes in The Australian today.

The Herald Sun enjoyed the public departure of former Socceroo legend Jack Reilly so much they were even prepared to lift the ban on yours truly and Crikey to mark the event on page 26 today.

And ABC Victoria’s Jon Faine opened his program today by interviewing me for the first time in six years on the topic of “People Power in chaos”. Well, I guess it’s a case of all publicity…

So, what happened? Jack Reilly is an old mate from Kennett spinning days who we announced as our “lead candidate” a few months back. He first got wobbly when an anonymous but offensive letter was sent to his wife two months ago. He was also concerned by some internal debates and the lack of a fully fledged political machine behind our campaign. We are, after all, a volunteer organisation.

He was still thinking about all this yesterday when Labor hit man Andrew Landeryou launched one of his notorious blog concoctions about some “silent partnership” Jack has in a property company. That was the last straw.

I turned this around on Faine to call for Labor to stop feeding the sleazy Landeryou fabrication machine and there’ll be plenty more on this later on Bracksed.com. As for the VEC “investigation” into “bogus” memberships, the process is simply that we presented the VEC with a list of 900 members in Victoria and to get registered we need 500 of them to reply to the VEC letter.

We’re close to that at the moment but one disgruntled member has lodged an objection – the same chap who failed in an attempt to stymie our federal registration.

Yes, we did change the rules last year so annual renewals were no longer required, but those who resigned were removed. In other words, our membership list is like the electoral roll – you’re on until a change is advised. As long as 500 people reply to the VEC, everything should be fine. Meanwhile, the anti-pokies push continues apace.

Tim Costello spoke at the dinner last night for the International Pokies Impact Conference that our hardest working candidate, reformed pokies addict Gabriela Byrne, helped put on. Liberal, Green, Democrat and People Power candidates all spoke at the “political forum” yesterday, but Labor was nowhere to be seen. Typical!