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Branch stacking isn’t just the domain of Labor

The allegations of branch stacking by the Labor Minister Adem Somyurek by 60 Minutes on Sunday night were very quickly settled by 9am Monday.

The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews precipitously sacked Somyurek and asked Labor’s national executive to expel him.

In addition, the Premier asked that all the matters arising from the 60 Minute‘s program be refereed to Victoria police and Victoria’s anti-corruption watchdog, IBAC.

Whilst this is primarily a matter for Victoria it once again highlights the need for a national integrity commission.

I have cut and pasted the next paragraph from an unfinished draft of my next post. It refers to an occurrence in the House of Representatives:

“Despite a sordid whiff of sleaze and corruption hanging over it the government has all but admitted that it has no intention of introducing legislation for a Federal Integrity commission. Mark Dreyfus for the ALP said in a statement:

“The truth is that the Morrison government is trying to delay this debate for as long as possible because it does not want a national integrity commission.”

In the looseness of political speak you might say that with Sports Rorts, the stacking of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, the indiscretions of Angus Taylor, new allegations of expense rorting by Stuart Robert, Dan Tehan and Simon Birmingham, fresh accusations that, prior to the last election: “the Coalition had awarded 97 per cent of first-round funding for the Export Hubs Initiative to Liberal or National seats” and the illegality of Robodebt you might understand why the don’t have the stomach an integrity commission.

What is branch stacking?

“Branch stacking is a term used in Australian politics to describe the act of recruiting or signing up members for a local branch of a political party for the principal purpose of influencing the outcome of internal preselections of candidates for public office, or to inordinately influence policy of the party.”

It is not wholly the domain of the Labor Party.

A Google search will give you examples of Liberal Party branch stacking. In fact former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull openly devotes, in his book “A bigger Picture” a lot of words on how he won preselection for the seat of Wentworth with branch stacking.

Of the Liberal Party, Wikipedia also tells us that:

“Commentators and authors within or formerly within the Liberal Party of Australia have claimed similar activity in their branches has had a similar effect. A recent example of alleged branch stacking within the Liberal Party occurred in 2017, with Liberals in Victoria claiming that members from within the party’s religious right were stacking branches with Mormons and Catholic groups in a drive to pre-select more conservative candidates.

A similar situation was reported in 2019, with allegations that members of the Liberal Party’s hard-right faction in Sydney were attempting to engage in branch stacking in order to erode the support of factional rivals, which included sitting Liberal members in several safe state and federal seats.”

Here are some other examples:

Queensland’s Liberal National Party has changed its rules to block factional stacking of the party organisations leadership positions.

‘Absolute pain’: Internal division exposed in Liberal feud.

Among the allegations now gripping the LNP are branch stacking, unfair party expulsions and suspensions, and the use of star chamber-like ­candidate vetting and disciplinary hearings to fortify a small group of officials against the rising power of the new membership.

Moggill LNP successor linked to branch stacking, Bruce Flegg says:

“Branch stacking claims ‘completely false’ LNP state director Brad Henderson said in a statement the claims of branch stacking were “completely false”. “The LNP understands Dr Flegg’s disappointment following the state executive’s decision regarding his pre selection.”

I could go on but I think I have made my point. Branch stacking is a means of gaining political power, usually by people without apathy or the intelligence to gain it honestly.

All political parties should do whatever is necessary to rid themselves, under their rules, of fools like Adem Somyurek.

For me Daniel Andrews acted with appropriate haste to rid his party of this vile man with the vile tongue.

I just wish the federal Liberal Party had the guts to clean up its own act and introduce an anti corruption commission.

The only thing left for me is for someone to ask 60 Minutes how he or she placed those mikes, assumingly without permission.

My thought for the day

Wouldn’t it be good if in our parliament, regardless of ideology, we had politicians whose first interest was the peoples and not their own.

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26 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    The joys of our Australian compulsory election system make it the best in the world with all the ingenious quirks that fertile minds can create. Perhaps one of the best is the Liarbral Party constitution that was written to guarantee that only “suitable applicants” were admitted to membership.

    Hence only “suitable candidates” like Toxic RAbbott and Bronnie “Choppergate” BIshop were elected to political sinecures to do the birdsong of their financial political patrons by influencing political policies in favour of those patrons. These candidates were duly rewarded with Austrian Honours for their “sterling work” destroying the Australian automobile assembly industry for ideological reasons with an accompanying loss of both jobs in the supply chain and taxation revenue with an increase in social security payments and riding in helicopters at public expense to Liarbral party function, respectively.

    The Nazional$ had similar policy imposed by annual memberships. If any member had the temerity to have a policy idea, and then (shock! horror!) actually worked to have that policy adopted by the party, then they were quietly “requested” NOT to re-apply for the next annual membership.

    My mate Richard is very proud of the fact that Slim Dusty wrote a song about his attempt to prevent agricultural industries paying fuel excise for “farm vehicles” used for family transport, and even more proud of the fact that the Nazional$ “requested” that he terminate his membership because his natural leadership talents were a serious threat to the then New England MP, Ian “Sinkers” Sinclair, incumbent for 37 years with much too little economic development and too few public infrastructure projects to show for it.

    If there is a problem in Australian politics then it is the unelected political hacks in the metropolitan head offices who control pre-selection and direct the policies demanded by their preferably anonymous financial donors among business leaders and multinational corporations. The fix is easy, simply have every donation to any political party disclosed on an AEC public website within 24 hours of receipt showing the corporate connections of the donor natural person who authorised the payment.

    This should also apply to all political pressure groups like the IPA which IMHO makes too many public policy proposals that Australian voters find are not in their own best interest.

  2. Terence Mills

    Unusually I’m speechless : I saw the Sixty Minutes exposé , I saw those young men, the grunts who would be facilitating Somyurek’s empire building and I was disgusted.

    How do these people get into positions of trust and influence ?

  3. Kathryn

    Once again the absolute bias, prejudice and unfair reporting by the one-eyed Murdoch press focuses on the ALP whilst NOTHING is said about the horrendous, ongoing corruption, nepotism, rorting and fraudulent misappropriation of taxpayer funds by the deceitful, lying, conniving LNP.

    Hardly a word mentioned about the long history the LNP has in branch stacking; staying “mum” about the recent misappropriation of taxpayer funds relating to the Sports Rorts and, even worse abuse of the Community Development Grants, the ceaseless rorting by just about every member of the LNP who are bleeding the taxpayer dry claiming for travel and accommodation costs to fly overseas and all over the country for their OWN personal benefit, when the LNP asked every Australian to pull in their belts was the time when Morrison – one of the worst, most non-achieving politicians in living memory (next to Abbott) – increased politicians’ salaries making Morrison the fifth highest paid “leader” in the world and refusing to take a pay cut when so many Australians were losing their jobs or taking pay cuts to get by! Hardly a word about the appalling vandalism (thanks to Barnyard Joyce) of the longest river system in Australia (the drying up and theft of water from the Murray/Darling system), Morrison’s shameful disgraceful exit from Australia during the worst fires in our history when he chose to scuttle away to Hawaii instead of providing support to the devastated victims, the LNP’s horriic and treacherous attachment to the unelected swill in the neoliberal IPA and, worse, their ongoing obsequious sycophancy to their vile Propaganda Minister, Rupert Murdoch!. The arrogance exhibited by the smug, smirking Morrison is absolutely insufferable – his phony, insincere apology for the catastrophic impact of the LNP’s disastrous Robodebt scandal (causing the suicide of so many vulnerable Australians) is absolutely unforgivable! The fact that the LNP have REFUSED to even consider the ALP’s recommendation to install a strong, impartial anti-corruption authority body is extremely telling!

    The long, increasing list of criminal corruption, the lies, the endless broken promises, the rorts, the breathtaking ineptitude, the smug condescension of ordinary Australians by this arrogant born-to-rule government – the absolute WORST in living memory – just goes on and on! Some (but not all) of it summarised in the following link(s) …

    A short history of LNP corruption: When too much just isn’t enough

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/politics/2020/01/21/sports-grant-scott-morrison-snow-job-corruption/

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2019/06/08/scott-morrison-pay/

    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/corruption-under-malcolm-turnbull-going-for-the-all-time-world-record,10731

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/your-government-does-not-want-corruption-investigated-20200119-p53son.html

  4. Henry Rodrigues

    Peter Costello can always be called upon and relied on, to the dirty on Labor. Where the hell is the 60 minutes expose of the sports rorts, the community grants rorts, the IPA and Murdoch’s interference in basic democracy in Australia.

    Oops, I seem to have forgotten that Peter ‘arsewipe gutless’ Costello, is the brains behind Ch 9 and the SMH and the AGE.
    Oh hi Peter, and now f#ck off.

  5. Terence Mills

    Meanwhile in Queensland a group funded by Clive Palmer and supported by failed LNP Premier Campbell Newman are trying to flip leader Deb Frecklington in advance of the state election.

    ‘Multiple background figures are on the payroll of one Clive Palmer — not just president David Hutchinson, but ally and former president Bruce McIver and members of the state executive Malcolm Cole and Larry Anthony.’

    So, having failed to get his own party off the ground, Clive Palmer has decided to buy the Queensland LNP.

    Is that legal ?

  6. Henry Rodrigues

    Terence…… The coalition members are always for sale !!!!! Immoral bastards, every one of them.

  7. leefe

    The biggest difference between VicALP and the federal Coalition? Somyurek was sacked in less than 24 hours and the investigation refered to the police by the government.
    When do we get to see similar treatment of malfeasant LNP ministers/parliamentarians? (Yes, that was a rhetorical question, because I know damn well that the answer is on or about the umpteenth of never.)

  8. Jack Cade

    Henry

    The Coalition always reminds me of the story about the man who asks a woman if she will sleep with him for $1000.
    – Yes, she says.
    – Will you sleep will me for $50?
    – Certainly not! What do you think I am?
    – I thought we’d just established that!’

  9. whatever

    Not the Murdoch Empire here, but the old Fairfax stable of The Age/SMH now under the editorial control of Peter Costello.
    Journalists at The Age have been complaining recently about the manipulation of the stories they submit, articles about the BLM rallies have been changed by editors to include fanciful things like Communist Party involvement in the protests and training in “violent tactics to use against Police”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/jun/14/journalists-at-the-age-express-alarm-over-increasing-politicisation-and-loss-of-independence

    I need to go to the bank today, I hope someone isn’t following me around with a camera which is apparently quite legal to do, now.

    The microphones they use are indeed Laser microphones, they can pick up an audio signal from 100 metres away. They were using them during the last Federal election, specifically they were used to record Bill Shorten having what he thought were “private words” with voters.

  10. Ill fares the land

    I am unable to imagine that the timing of the release of this “expose” from the ever reliable and indubitably unbiased Nine Network isn’t linked directly to the Eden-Monaro by-election. As mentioned by another respondent, the LNP has a list of examples of corruption long enough to keep 60 Seconds on the air for some time to come, but that’s not the way the gutter press in this country works. I don’t recall 60 Seconds ever doing an expose on King Morrison’s unexplained irregularities concerning $184 million of contracts signed off by him as the head of Tourism Australia. Nary a mention of the backstabbing of Michael Towke (smarter and a better human being than King Morrison in pretty much every way that matters) in the pre-selection debacle that unleashed the turgid King Morrison on an undeserving Australia (or deserved Australia when you acknowledge that he was elected). Add in sport’s rorts, the export hub, the CDG programme, $80.0 million to mates & family of Angas Taylor, $20.0 million to mates and family of Littleproud, dirty back-room deals favouring those who can drain water out of the Upper Murray Darling Basin and mates of Beetrooter Barnaby. Now $680 million to buy the votes of “don’t you dare touch our boofhead utes” tradies. Albanese’s position in the Labor is weak and the LNP, in cahoots up to its Robert-sized ears in the quagmire with the biased media, is exploiting that for all it is worth. But the cult of King Morrison is growing and I think he is shaping up for a 2021 election. Like Trump and America, Australia can’t withstand a further term with the LNP and King Morrison in charge.

  11. Geoff Andrews

    Jack,
    In my version, the final retort is, “I thought we’d just established that, now we’re haggling about the price.”’

  12. Tiger

    The labor government sack corrupt pollies while the liberals reward theirs with medals.

  13. Don Wilson

    Best story I ever heard about branch stacking goes back to LBJ, who over the years as a power in the House and then Senate became very accomplished at it. He and his team were touring country graveyards to get the names of people that could be added to the electoral rolls, and vote. One staffer came across a crumbling headstone where the name was impossible to decipher. LBJ just happened to hear that last comment and rushed over to the grave. “Jest a minute! Jest a minute. This here fella’s as entitled to a vote as anyone else in this here graveyard.” With that, he pondered over the crumbling headstone, and thinking cap on, came up with a name of who it might’ve been, duly entering it into their roll.

    He was a master of such things on the rise to power. Mind you, apart from being stuck in the quagmire of the Vietnam War, he did some good things as President, getting through a lot of JFK’s intended reforms, plus a few of his own in the Great Society.

  14. Jack Cade

    Don Wilson

    Yes, I’ve often thought that some of Johnson’s work made up for his undoubted unpleasantness.
    And his ‘I will not seek, and will not accept, my party’s nomination…etc’ is one of the most memorable speeches in US political history.

  15. Jon Chesterson

    GIANT BANANA – HOW SCEWED ARE WE REALLY – TOTALLY!

    Labor corruption under fire, fire out – the big one, the reaper, the Liberals are burning like a giant stack of impotent bananas in the sky.

    Labor branch stacking 3/10, and Andrews has summarily managed it over night in a way the Liberals would not even contemplate. I vouch he would have done it a long time ago had he possessed the evidence to act on it. Both sides of the house need to be brought to order.

    The Liberals however score 11/10 and they refuse to do anything about it, except for what I’d call reverse stacking, that is to say they stack to maintain the extreme right wing factions and stalwarts against change and younger potentially more progressive candidates. Meanwhile the extreme right wing whacko-stacking for the replacement or squeezing out moderates operates like a giant toxic mouldy banana on heat with legs and buzzards, no offence Queensland, NSW is the biggest rotten banana here.

    The Liberals don’t want am anti corruption Commission as Labor has proposed to keep all parties clean and accountable, some semblance of order to ensure and maintain democracy. Their corruption is a mass infestation, an epidemic, no wonder Morrison has seized the Covid-19 cover for more government and party mass corruption, and latest of hundreds of mad cases of this disease around the exit of Turnbull and just half way through the current term, to name a few:

    ‘In the looseness of political speak you might say that with Sports Rorts, the stacking of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, the indiscretions of Angus Taylor, new allegations of expense rorting by Stuart Robert, Dan Tehan and Simon Birmingham, fresh accusations that, prior to the last election: “the Coalition had awarded 97 per cent of first-round funding for the Export Hubs Initiative to Liberal or National seats” and the illegality of Robodebt you might understand why the don’t have the stomach an integrity commission’.

    Not only is Morrison ducking for cover (another Hawaiian holiday perhaps or a resort in the Caribbean with Trumpo while we all burn) and telling us nothing to see here, he and his Liberal maniacs are already preparing for rorting the next election; how else will they keep their corruption under the radar – even though we can all see it on our screens every day, but our constitutional democracy, government and parliament are totally impotent without anti-corruption legislation and an independent commission to address recent offences against the State by the Liberals. The pubic service and judiciary can’t even afford dentures, they are already screwed. So how screwed are we really under the current charade? Totally!

  16. Matters Not

    Dear oh dear – Branching stacking is the metaphorical bread and butter of all political parties and that’s unlikely to change with an ICAC, an NIC or indeed any ‘corruption’ body. Note the self provided (temporary) role description of the existing Victorian body – IBAG.

    Our work to prevent and expose public sector corruption and police misconduct continues within the parameters of public health safety precautions.

    While I didn’t watch the TV Show, I haven’t read reports of any public sector corruption or police misconduct which would prompt an official inquiry. Generally speaking, legislated ‘corruption’ agencies aren’t the least bit interested in the machinations of party political organisations apart from their amusement value.

    Can’t see that changing any time soon. Just more finger pointing via the media because it’s a spectator sport for the ill informed.

  17. Henry Rodrigues

    Jack, Geoff Andrews……A quick thinking lady would have said, Here’s 50 bucks, now bugger off, I’ve got work to do.

  18. Jack Cade

    But what if she was a Coalition member? They are always for sale; she would have haggled…

  19. Henry Rodrigues

    Jack Cade……A coalition member would have wrapped herself around his member, 50 bucks or not.

  20. Kronomex

    Rupert and the other main sleaze media will continue to try and hide the dirty deeds of the LNP and keep on attacking Labor at every turn. Business as usual.

  21. New England Cocky

    @Henry Rodrigues: Uhm ….. at the risk of being pedantic ….. “immoral bastards” true, but possibly more accurately described as “amoral bastards” meaning without any morals whatsoever.”

    Immoral, a. Not conforming to, or opposed to, morality; morally evil (definitely): depraved, dissolute. (COD)

    Amoral, a, Unconcerned with or outside morals; non-moral. (COD)

  22. Kerri

    I am astounded that Somyurek is still around I thought they had got rid of him in 2015.
    If the LNP were to approve of a federal ICAC too many “honourable” members would lose their Queen’s honours?
    And will 60 minutes cop the same shellacking as Bernard Collaery for the use of bugging?

  23. Terence Mills

    One of the reasons that the coalition are so reluctant to talk about a federal ICAC could very well be the Witness K and Bernard Collaery prosecutions currently being heard in secret.

    An enquiry into the Timor parliament bugging issue would inevitably lead to a crime and corruption charge involving Downer and his mates.

    You may well say that’s ancient history but the coalition are committed to pursuing Collaery when they could easily have let the matter go.

    What is it they say : what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander !

  24. Jack sprat

    You don’t have to branch stack if you are scummo ,was preselected for the seat of cook after initially getting just eight votes

  25. Florence Howarth

    Never seen a dirty get Labor ruse flounder so badly. No one seems interested in branch stacking, along with Kathy Jackson sadly. They are asking why the government are getting away with their roots. They appear impressed with the Premier & Opposition handling of the allegations. No covering up.No lame excuses. Straight out the door with referrals to police and Victoria ICAC. All done before breakfast. Worse for Morrison, it has given Labor to clean out Victorian Labor branches which I suspect since the days of Kathy Jackson have been a little smelly.

    Politics by its very nature attracts some with not the best intentions. Always will, no matter the colour of their ideology.

    What counts is the way the party & its leaders react to allegations made. Andrews has shown how it must be done.

    It is not the leader that decides who goes or stays. That is up to the police and like agencies.

    Time for the PM to follow his actions. A bill for federal ICAC this week. Refer all to at least senate committees with orders to answer all questions in a frank & transparent matter. Return parliament to it’s a full function. Open the doors to the public.

  26. Alc

    Skulduggery is the norm for all those seeking preselection. The venal machinations involved in Morrisons victory in his seat, belies his supposedly Christian faith. One Alex Hawke comes to mind as a Hillsong acolyte with a grubby record in his seat also. Plus ca change plus cest la meme chose.

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