Right-wing Wollongong Labor MP Noreen Hay has convened an emergency meeting of her Dapto branch to shore up the numbers for her son’s bid to succeed Stephen Jones as the next federal member for Throsby.
A meeting notification sent by Hay’s daughter, Alison Kelly, to branch members — obtained by Crikey — shows Hay apparatchiks will converge on the prestigious Dandaloo Hotel Motel off the Southern Freeway at 7pm tomorrow, presumably to discuss strategies for her son Mark Hay’s ascension to Capital Hill.
Mark is a lawyer with the Office of the Director of Military Prosecutions and lives in Canberra. But he is apparently still a member of the branch his mum controls — despite it being located 200 kilometres away in a different state.
There is intense pressure on Hay Sr, whose Right faction notionally controls the seat, to throw up a “grassroots” competitor to placate NSW general secretary Sam Dastyari, who has mandated rank-and-file preselections in six federal seats where candidates were previously parachuted by the ALP’s national executive.
But to succeed she will need to rustle up serious support for her sproglet among Throsby’s 300 members — and under ALP rules a member must have been financial for two years and attended four meetings over that period (members of more than 10 years get a leave pass).
The meeting notice states it will “discuss NSW conference issues and Dapto branch minutes” ahead of state conference to be held in 10 days time, “as agreed at the last meeting”. Crikey understands the Dapto branch usually meets on Mondays.
Earlier this week, Crikey revealed Jones, from the Left, would stare down any attempts to dislodge him through rumor-mongering, which he slammed as “internal bullshitting”. Two possible candidates — Wollongong councillor Ann Martin and Macedonian leader Lou Stefanovski — quickly ruled themselves out of contention.
One Throsby insider said this morning that “if Noreen fails to muster support for her son, it will spell the end of her darling status with the Right in Sussex Street — and bring about the end of her own career”.
Hay, 61, did not return calls this morning. When Crikey asked her electorate office staffer whether her daughter was available, they seemed ready to patch through the call, but then asked who was calling and then denied knowing who Kelly was.
In 2010, the NSW parliament ruled that relatives, spouses and partners of MP’s could no longer work for them. Kelly instead went to toil for Hay’s factional ally, Shellharbour MP Lylea McMahon. But McMahon retired before last year’s state election.
Amusingly, the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting erroneously contains the contact details of squeaky clean Dapto secretary Tony Villa, who stood down at the last annual general meeting to make way for Hay’s daughter.
Last year, the Dapto branch passed a motion stating that “marriage was between a man and a woman” in a deliberate riposte to Jones, whose gay marriage bill is currently before the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, south of the Murray:
The National Union of Workers is the only remaining holdout from the Victorian ALP’s global peace deal, that will outlaw infighting over preselections in the lead up to the next federal election.
The conservative shop assistants’ union’s fulsome reintegration into the Bill Shorten-Stephen Conroy controlled Labor Unity includes Senator David Feeney and influential MPs including Preston’s Robin Scott and Clayton’s Hong Lim. Other member masseuses formerly part of the so-called “Taliban”, including Burhan Yigit, Nazih Elasmar and Rick Garotti, have all headed inside the tent.
As Crikey reported yesterday, plans are afoot for Feeney to be accommodated in the House of Representatives at a by-election following the loss of his Senate seat, with the only remaining sticking point being his support for sacked health services union chief Kathy Jackson.
The NUW is no longer caucusing with its previous bedfellows in the SDA (which technically never left Labor Unity). The NUW controls about 32 delegates on the industrial half of state conference but is said to maintain low-level voting arrangements with some left unions. One senior right source said this morning the union was “being held out” rather than “holding out” on a fully-fledged Kumbaya session.
The reunited Right includes a joint executive, with the two halves now caucusing with beneficent reciprocity at recent meetings of the party’s powerful state administrative committee.
Preselections for federal seats will occur later this month when it’s expected that the lay of the remade landscape will become crystal clear.