Liberal Party heavies from the PM down have moved quickly to ensure the preselection of the yampy former MP Ken Aldred for Victorian Labor marginal of Holt is overturned by the Victorian party administrative committee.
This is yet another embarrassment the PM did not need. But how did Aldred win the preselection in the first place?
Aldred’s greatest moment came in 1995 when he claimed under parliamentary privilege that high profile Melbourne lawyer and Jewish community leader Mark Leibler had facilitated a $US640,000 bribe to the then DFAT boss Michael Costello by the tiny South American nation of Suriname – and suggested the Mossad were involved.
Aldred allegedly has links with the Citizens Electoral Councils, the local front of the bizarre political organisations run by the convicted American fraudster Lyndon LaRouche.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
How on earth was this acceptable to the Liberal rank and file in a seat on Melbourne’s southwestern suburban fringe? That’s easy.
While spectacular stacks aren’t unknown in the Liberal Party, most ordinary Liberal members remain meek and mild middle class types who still defer to authority. Ken Aldred might be mad, but he’s a former MP.
What’s more, the local preselectors saw Aldred as a former MP who was their friend. Liberal sources say he came down to Holt and helped the branches in the state campaign last year.
The good folk who make up the membership of the Liberal Party in Holt aren’t too bright, have no decent political skills or experience and aren’t familiar with political bastardry. They simply look after their friends – and thought Ken Aldred was a nice bloke.
They either didn’t know or didn’t believe Aldred’s role in publicising documents purporting to show that the PM – along with both Paul Keating and Bob Hawke – accepted money from the Indonesian government to influence foreign policy.
No doubt Anthony Byrne, the local Labor Member, is fond of Aldred, too.
Holding his seat has just become a lot easier.