Jul 12, 2012

Mayne: ALP dossier attacks supporter as ‘Green stooge’

In terms of own goals, the Labor Right war machine has reached new levels of productivity in attacks on its own supporters in the Melbourne byelection.

Stephen Mayne — Journalist and Founder

Stephen Mayne

Journalist and Founder

In terms of own goals, the Labor Right war machine has reached new levels of productivity over the past week. There was Tony Abbott stumbling through a terrible performance with Barrie Cassidy on Insiders last Sunday when well-paid News Limited commentators Graham Richardson and Paul Howes decided it was time to roll out their baby-faced backroom boy Sam Dastyari for an illogical attack on the Greens. The Australian has been lapping it up ever since, despite the obvious damage being done to Labor’s educated Left base which continues to defect en masse to the Greens. When combined with a stunningly incompetent campaign by the ALP, Julia Gillard is headed towards her Waterloo after the Greens win the Melbourne state byelection on Saturday week. Of all the Labor blunders in Melbourne, nothing quite compares with the attack it launched yesterday against popular African refugee and former Victorian of the Year, Dr Berhan Ahmed. Ahmed told me on Tuesday that he was unhappy with both the Greens and the ALP, but in a 16-horse field he had decided to preference the two major parties towards the bottom of his ticket, with Labor higher. This was a blow to the Greens, especially considering that Ahmed is a former Greens candidate who drew the top spot on the ballot paper and has a strong following in the large public housing estates in Carlton, North Melbourne and Flemington. Alas, the incompetent Labor campaign team didn’t bother to check with Ahmed and provided The Age with a so-called "dossier" naming him as one of four "Green stooges" in the field. The story was headlined "ALP accuses Greens of 'grubby deals'". More accurately it should have said: "Labor falsely attacks supporter as a Green stooge". What started out as a small story turned into a page six lead when all four of us independents were outraged at the slur. It also played right into Bob Brown’s hands as he garnered large coverage supporting the Green campaign in Melbourne yesterday and produced this powerful lead opinion piece for The Age exposing some private conversations with faceless man Paul Howes. The real story of the 16-horse field in Melbourne is that Labor is drawing preference support from a majority of the minor players, including the candidates representing religious right parties such as Family First. No wonder Labor is preferencing the DLP and Family First ahead of the Greens, although this too has blown up in Labor’s face given Melbourne is arguably the most progressive seat in Victoria. Amidst all the misguided attack strategies, it is Labor’s own preference deal with adult industry lobbyist Fiona Patten that is most deserving of attention. At candidate forums in both Carlton and Docklands this week, Patten told residents the adult industry was motivated to form their astutely named Australian S-x Party after Communications Minister Stephen Conroy pursued his proposed internet filter. This was "the last straw" for an exasperated industry and Patten huffed that it was still Labor policy, even though the Greens helped foil it in the Senate. Given that the pro-censorship Conroy is a key factional powerbroker involved in the Melbourne byelection campaign, how on earth has he secured a favourable preference deal with the Australian S-x Party? Has Patten sidelined the Greens in exchange for a nod and a wink that Labor will support her Senate tilt next year? If Labor wants to talk about "grubby deals", more light should be shone on arrangements between the p-rn party and Labor, the so-called "pokies party" which operates more than 1000 poker machines in the ACT and NSW. I'm still in dialogue with the Australian S-x Party as all candidates have until tomorrow to register their how to vote cards. The same applies with former Melbourne City Councillor David Nolte, a popular pharmacist in North Carlton, who is also distributing how-to-vote cards at early voting centres favouring Labor over the Greens. Nolte, Patten and myself are likely to poll best after Labor and the Greens so it would make sense for the three of us to preference each other to maximise the combined tiny prospect of an outsider stealing it. I won't be supporting either of they push ahead with preferencing Labor ahead of the Greens. I'm determined to send Labor the strongest possible message over its slippery dudding of the Andrew Wilkie pokies commitment. There's also a strong motivation flowing from Labor’s distribution of a dirt sheet, as is explained here. The pitch to Nolte and Patten is that the tide is clearly going out for Labor and these candidates should put themselves on the right side of history by getting behind the impressive Greens candidate Cathy Oke, who strongly supports implementing $1 maximum bets as recommended by the Productivity Commission. Anyone who watched that incredibly moving story on 7.30 last night about poker machine addiction would understand why it stirs such passion in so many people. As Andrew Crook pointed out in Crikey yesterday, the sanctioned leaks from the NSW Right blaming Gillard for Labor’s poor polling in Melbourne suggest the coming disaster could well bring matters to a head regarding a return to Kevin Rudd. That’s an interesting prospect for the 28% of voters who voted Liberal in Melbourne at the 2010 Victorian election. If enough of them get behind the Greens to trigger an historic win and a 10% two-party preferred swing against Labor, they may very well precipitate the downfall of the Labor prime minister they so despise. *Stephen Mayne is standing as an independent candidate in the Melbourne byelection on a poker machine platform and was not paid for this item. He denies Labor claims of being a "Green stooge".

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

13 thoughts on “Mayne: ALP dossier attacks supporter as ‘Green stooge’

  1. Col Campey

    Stephen, I hope you make it.

    Your article highlights many reasons why
    we would be better off with non-partisan government.

    See colflower.blogspot.com.au

  2. Mike Smith

    Hmm. WHy aren’t you in an electorate where I can vote for you? 🙂

    If you’re negotiating with the Australian S3x party, does that make them pwnbrokers?

  3. Delerious

    Good luck Stephen. An interesting piece. I hadn’t fully understood what was going on in Melbourne until now.

  4. zut alors

    The situation was as clear as mud until I read this. Mayne is nobody’s stooge – ever. Skitch ’em, Stephen.

  5. Steve777

    Goes to show why one should ignore how to vote cards and make one’s own choice.

  6. AR

    Anyone who follows a how-to-vote card is surely unequal to the task of voting?

  7. fred bill

    AR – not sure if this is the way it works IRL, but most people vote 1 above the line leaving the preferences to go to where the parties place them, so they’re implicitly following a how to vote card.

  8. AR

    FredB – I’m unfamiliar with Victorian electoral laws.
    Are you saying that those benighted Cabbage Patchers down Mexico way use an above-the-thick(sic!)-black line ballot in State assembly elections?
    Or don’t you know the difference between State (MLA) & Federal, Reps & Senate, systems?

  9. CML

    What a lot of cr+p Stephen.
    If you love the Greens so much, why don’t you just stand for office
    under their banner. At least that would be honest.
    While people continue to advocate voting for, or giving their preferences
    to, the Greens, it will continue the destabilising of parliaments all around
    the country. The Greens need to grow-up first and realise that they
    must negotiate an outcome on all policies, not just demand their own
    way on everything. It makes me very angry when 10-12% of the voting
    public think they can force their extreme ideas on everyone else because
    they hold the balance of power. That is not democracy.
    What Greens supporters are not appreciating is that by wrecking the
    Labor Party they are putting themselves in the position of gridlock and
    ultimate demise. Surely they are not stupid enough to think that an LNP
    government will agree with their policies. If after the next election the
    Greens still hold the balance of power, there will be an almightly shift
    to the Coalition in 2016, because people are fed up with no outcomes
    on important policy issues. And with Coalition control of the Senate,
    you Green voters deserve all you will get. While it is less likely, this
    could happen at the next election if both major parties do not preference
    the Greens.
    For those who think the Greens can become a major party – what drugs
    are you taking??!!!

  10. Steve777

    I’ve never had sympathy for the idea that minor parties and independents have too much power. Every MP has exactly one vote the in chamber where they sit. Greens (or Shooters & Fishers in NSW or Independents elsewhere) only seem to have disproportionate power because major parties insist that their elected members act as ciphers for the party line.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details