Feb 26, 2018

Is Van Badham running for office?

Could the self-styled anarcho-syndicalist-libertarian-communist take Brunswick against the Greens?

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Van Badham addresses a protest against sexual abuse,  Melbourne, 2014.

Will Brunswick get in the van? Crikey hears that with Brunswick MLA Jane Garrett about to announce her candidacy for Lord Mayor of Melbourne, there’s a move to persuade playwright, Guardian columnist and activist Van Badham to stand for the seat. The move would come from inside the Industrial Left (IL) faction, grouped around the CFMEU (Vic) and RTBU (Vic). Badham’s been a vocal supporter of the CFMEU’s industrial deaths campaign, and is frequently retweeted by CFMEU head John Setka -- including footage of a Badham karaoke number at a fundraiser, which, well ... dare to struggle.

Brunswick is firmly controlled by the Socialist Left (SL), against which the Industrial Left is now aligned. Sources in both camps told Crikey there was a move on to persuade Badham -- a former National Union of Students politician out of Wollongong, before she became a writer -- to stand. The current sole candidate for preselection – which will happen on March 18, the day after the Batman byelection -- is Cindy Louise O’Connor, an organiser with the metalworkers' union (AMWU), and is SL aligned.

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17 thoughts on “Is Van Badham running for office?

  1. Irfan Yusuf

    I seek your forgiveness in advance, but this piece is yet more evidence of how Melbourne-Left-centric Crikey has become. Seriously, who in the rest of Australia gives a shit about who is running in Brunswick?

    Don’t get me wrong. I do like Brunswick. Bonfire Restaurant has the best nihari and you can sometimes pick up cheap books at Savers. The public pool is fantastic, as is the library across the road. But I can’t imagine a Sydney news website going on about which minor party is running for a seat in Macdonaldtown or Glebe.

    1. archibald

      I suspect the relevance for a wider audience may hinge on the likely impact of these machinations on factional support for that bloke Bill in Canberra.

    2. LW

      Didn’t a relatively recent article of yours address the Conservatives and Greens campaigns in a north sydney by-election?

      1. Irfan Yusuf

        You mean the Bennelong federal one involving the former Premier of NSW (now a Senator) and the sitting member who lost his seat thanks to a constitutional challenge in a seat former PM John Howard lost in 1996?

        1. Irfan Yusuf

          Actually, if all this has an impact on Batman, it may be important. In which case I withdraw my initial objection.

  2. Michael James

    She’s also, in recent times, been an unabashed supporter of the Labor Right, going out of her way to defend David Feeney, Michael Danby — and ersatz anarcho-syndicalist-company union, the SDA. That looked like extreme solidarity and forbearance.

    It looks like extreme looniness. Or else it was all part of a nudge-nudge-wink-wink deal. For this alone (and there’s plenty more) she deserves to be slaughtered by the Greens (her spurned lover). It also confirms how and why the so-called Centre-Left is losing everywhere all over the world. If they do these sort of contortions …

    1. Woopwoop

      This surprised me too – I’ve seen her as a shrill, self-righteous ultra-leftist. Connecting with Mr & Mrs Middle of the Road might be her weak point.

  3. Sebster

    I don’t know how likely this is, but I do know what a terrible idea it would be.

  4. sarahenicholson

    You forgot to mention how much Badham loathes the Greens. I was blocked by her on Twitter simply for daring to mention that while Ged Kearney is an excellent candidate for Batman it’s a shame that Ged’s swallowed her principled position on refugees in order to join team Labor.

  5. AR

    Apart from her being a vapid, astonishingly ill informed attention seeker with latte in her veins, her paeans to Danby & Feeney should be terminal for her ascendancy.
    If not, it shows what Labor has become with gumBoil Shlernt fighting for dominance in the op-shop against that swarm of homeless moths.

  6. Adam

    I’d move to Brunswick just to vote for someone other than Vanessa.
    Unfortunately, she is not a nice person – It’s Van’s way, or no way… an aggressive suppressor of opinion that is not in perfect alignment with her own. I recall being screeched at on the twitters regarding Abbott’s s.44 situation; Van labelling me a “birther”, telling me my “comrades” are in the Tea Party, and that we (she and her exclusive clique, I presume) should “fight them on policy”, and then blocking me swiftly and brutally – all just for asking a genuine question. Seeing how close the more recent citizenship saga took the government to the edge, I’d suggest that fighting ‘them’ on policy, as well as their inability to follow the rules, might have been a reasonable course of action for any opponent of the despicable Australian Tories…
    All of that is no loss for me (in fact, it’s saved me from having to see or hear her ever since, and saved me countless hours of wasted time on social media – she and others like her effectively killed online discourse for me, which is AOK, in fact, a blessing), but would that make good politicking for the people of Brunswick, or anywhere?

    1. John Robertson

      Has anyone not been blocked by her.

      1. Adam

        Probably not – I know I’m not exclusive… Must be lonely up there with their fingers in their ears, not hearing anything but echoes…

        1. AR

          Last year after one of articles in the graun was ridiculed by most of the BTL commenter and went on ad hominem attacks against them.
          She was even moderated (deleted – at least one can see when a comment has been deleted in the graun, unlike… um.. Crikey) – surely a first when an author breaks the rules on abuse.

          1. Bob the builder

            Fascinating, yet typical, “evolution”.
            Be great if someone had the boredom threshold to do an article comparing Paul Howes and Badham, two late ’90s student activists, and both very effective.
            Howes, the ultra left revolutionary had an extraordinary trajectory up and rightward, by his late thirties jettisoning even Labor Right for the comfort of the boardroom; Badham the non-aligned leftie (which meant more or less middle class soft left) has at least moved right slower and shorter.

    2. Michael James

      “It’s Van’s way, or no way… an aggressive suppressor of opinion that is not in perfect alignment with her own. ”

      No doubt, she is a bona fide ratbag. But such people can be cherished because … squeaky wheel … etc. Some of the great change agents of history are ratbags.
      Her absolute certainty, the common attribute of ratbags throughout history, is a huge handicap when combined with erraticism. The next moment, a reversal of certainty to be absolutely certain about something diametrically opposite of previous … Her hatred of the Greens is of this type, and is entirely irrational (her biggest beef with them is that they supported the means testing of pensions which was designed to restrict the (very) rich from leeching off the system while owning multimillion dollar homes and super funds). Her embrace of the Greens then her toxic rejection of them (esp. Di Natale) is emblematic and appears to have spread amongst a certain poorly informed twitterati who place more importance on their own feelings than anything else (shades of that other prominent ratbag, Rhiannon). Then there is this stuff re the Labor Right. Rundle doesn’t give any explanation of why she suddenly “going out of her way to defend David Feeney, Michael Danby”, but it is a compromise or backflip beyond the pale. What the heck does she believe in (yesterday, today and tomorrow)?

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