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Crikey correspondent-at-large Guy Rundle uncovers a seething, intra-factional skirmish that threatens to tear the ALP apart.

Part One

Inside Labor’s impending factional collapse

Bill Shorten’s Labor Party is being plunged into chaos at the worst possible moment and in the worst possible way – with a massive factional collapse and realignment in Victoria, Shorten’s power base, and the de facto seat of federal ALP power.

The factional war within and between Left and Right subfactions is being led by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) on the left, and the Adem Somyurek-fronted “Mods” (Moderates) faction on the Right. But it has been supercharged by personal rivalries, score-settling, ancient alliances and sheer pique. At its worst, it could draw in Shorten and much of the shadow frontbench, confronting them with a nightmare scenario: sustained intra-factional warfare, which the public loathes, and which they punish at the ballot box.

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Part Three

The cult of Garrett

The late autumn night will glitter with stars, the lights will play from the mantled roof of the Melbourne Town Hall, at the top of the stairs the heavy copper doors will swing open, as the city welcomes its latest leader … Mayor Jane Garrett.

Could it be? That’s the word on the street. For days, since the resignation announcement of Robert Doyle, a whispering campaign has been gathering, suggesting Garrett as a Labor candidate for the byelection scheduled for May — and aired this morning in Garrett’s regular spot on the high-rating ABC Jon Faine morning show on ABC Radio Melbourne.

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Part Four

The rise and rise of Adem Somyurek

On a warm spring Melbourne night in October 2009, the great and the good of the Victorian Labor Party Right gathered at the Dragon Boat on the Yarra, a restaurant in a now demolished brutalist building near the World Trade Centre on Spencer Street bridge.

The crowd came in in dribs and drabs — some numbskull had put the Dragon Boat’s nominal Spencer Street address on the invite, so groupers and shoppies were wandering around the Hoddle Grid for half an hour — and the guest of honour party baron, outgoing state secretary Stephen Newnham, must have looked around nervously. But also with relief.

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Part Five

Feel the electricity, Bill: Shorten’s dicey dealings with the new warlords

When, in late 2017, it was revealed in the press that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had sat down with Adem Somyurek, the leader of Labor’s right-wing Moderates faction, there was widespread dismay and bewilderment.

Sources within the Mods have been claiming that the Shorten sit-down marked the turning point: the moment at which the purported new Centre Unity-Industrial Left (CU-IL) alliance got on the road to becoming the dominant alliance.

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Part Six

Factional nihilism is killing the Labor Party. But can it be reversed?

Practically the first issue I ever read of the magazine Australian Left Review in the 1980s had an article in it by Socialist Left (SL) leader Lindsay Tanner, arguing for the abolition of the factional system — and the next issue had a reply by Robert Ray, behemoth of the Right, defending it, and arguing that, in any case, there was nothing you could do about them. The Australian Left Review is long gone from the public stage, as are Tanner and Ray. The factions march on.

State by state, the constellations vary. Victoria matters at the moment because the Stability Pact, the decade-long deal that its two major groupings managed to maintain, allowed an enormous amount of political energy to be directed outwards, towards the actual enemy: Labor New South W-, sorry, the Coalition.

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78 thoughts on “Red brotherhood at war!

  1. fascinating..has Jane Garrett ever thought of getting an actual job, finding a cause to work for, and standing for election when she has something to say?

    1. God no, that’s not the ALP careerist way.

  2. I doubt if Sharon McGowan of the Stroke Foundation will appreciate being wrongly linked to any political role. Guy owes at least one of the Ms McGowans an apology.

  3. Interesting stuff on Jane Garrett today Guy. I’d actually forgotten about her adventures as a pyromaniac when dealing with the MBF/CFA kerfuffle.
    Judging by her performance so far, she seems to have the same sort of “natural talent” for politics as Malcolm Turnbull. 😉

  4. Speaking as a City of Melbourne resident, it’d be a pleasure to vote for the Greens candidate against Garrett. Labor has shown bugger all interest in local government, except as part of the political careerist conveyer belt.

  5. It seems that crikey has received instructions from rupert to bring up the old factions tearing labor apart bullshit to try and save turnbull as his 30th losing newspoll looms, waste of time crikey, nobody but you listens to old rupert anymore and anyhow he might not survive his recent fall at his age and maybe the might be a new media Renaissance coming if we are lucky, old nick will be getting ruperts room ready, next door to stalin and hitler so they can compare stories of how many people they`ve persecuted I`d guess.

    1. You partisans are completely nuts.

  6. Now I know why people are not voting for the Liberal, ALP & Greenss, Liberal Democrats for me thanks

  7. Very informative, but I’m not sure that Labor’s state election victory in 2014 was “unlikely”, was pretty much anticipated and predicted by polls after the Libs’ “accidental” win in 2010.

  8. Had to stop reading for about half a minute when I got to the Chinese restaurant part due to giving a sincere lol.

  9. Landeryou? Really? Landeryou? That… well, this is a public forum so I can’t say the many things I know about him, or really state what I think of him….. >:-(

    That he is back near the centre of power is a *bad thing*.

  10. Thanks Guy, yes, we always wonder what is happening behind the scenes, just as we knew when the Abbott opposition was playing so nice that the backgrounding would have shown otherwise.

    The scent of impending government can certainly keep the discipline much easier, but like a dysfunctional family getting together for xmas, it’s only ever a dropped snag, a loose word or one too many and it’s on for young and old.

    And yes, if Bill can’t win the next election against the WORST, GOVT, EVER! than his goose is cooked.

    That so many still think the coalition is a functional government and intend to vote for them is beyond me, as so many things are these days.

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