Victorian State Election 2010: Derrimut
Margin: Labor 24.3%
Upper house region: Western Metropolitan
Click here for Victorian Electoral Commission map
Electorate analysis: Covering western suburbs from St Albans south to Sunshine West, Derrimut was originally created in 1985, but was replaced from 1992 to 2002 by Sunshine. The present electorate and its earlier relations have always been unassailably safe for Labor. The inaugural member for the reconstituted seat was Uruguayan-born Telmo Languiller, who entered parliament in 1999 as the member for Sunshine after a preselection coup against Kirner government Agriculture Minister Ian Baker. This was the culmination of a decline in Baker’s fortunes that began with his challenge to John Brumby’s leadership in May 1994, for which the support of the Socialist Left was first given (though Baker himself was in the Right) and then withdrawn on the day of the spill. This cost him his position as Shadow Treasurer and he subsequently lost control of local branches to Languiller and the Theophanous brothers, who formed their own Labor Renewal Alliance sub-faction after being expelled from the Socialist Left in 1996. Languiller had previously been an electorate officer to Deputy Prime Minister and Socialist Left figurehead Brian Howe, and was henceforth chief-of-staff to Andrew Theophanous (who went on to be imprisoned for immigration fraud in 2002). Baker attempted to hold his seat as an independent in 1999, but failed to trouble Languiller with a modest 14.2 per cent of the vote. Now firmly aligned with Labor Unity, Languiller was promoted to parliamentary secretary after the 2002 election, and has also held the Acting Speaker position since 2004.
Early this year Tanguiller was the subject of allegations he had been involved with former upper house MP Theo Theophanous in branch stacking operations over a nine year period. These claims were raised by Costas Socratous, a former electorate officer to Tanguiller who had also been a Brimbank councillor. Tanguiller in turn lodged a police complaint accusing Socratous, who had been embroiled in Brimbank council controversies that were comprehensively investigated by the state Ombudsman, of stealing money from a local soccer club to feed a gambling habit. Tanguiller was also at the centre of a party investigation in 2005 into allegations of branch stacking within the federal division of Gorton. In the aftermath of the Ombudsman’s report into Brimbank the preselection for Derrimut and other seats in the area was referred to Labor’s national executive, which rubber-stamped Languiller’s endorsement.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.