A while ago there was a thread on Club Troppo about some of the annoying tropes that people come up with while arguing on the internet. RTS blogger Ken Lovell mentioned the common assumption that if you criticise the Liberal party, either State or Federal, you are a Labor supporter and have a portrait of Kevin Rudd / whichever State premier applies hanging in your parlour. Nothing could be further than the truth for this leftie luvvy, and many of my compatriots too. While I don’t think the Rudd government is by any means perfect (more on that some time), I’m chewing my own limbs off in irritation at our dreadful Victorian Labor party and their apparatchiks.
They’re bad enough day to day- every trip to work is a reminder of their awfulness – but election time is when their Right-dominated uglies really crawl to the fore. We recently had two byelections, one in Gippsland (won by the Nationals, as always) and one in Kororoit, part of the Western Suburbs (won by Labor’s Marlene Kairouz, but with a 16.5% swing away from Labor). The last time we had a State election in these here parts was 2006, when Barista reported angrily that he’d received letters purporting to be from a “concerned citizen”, stating that the Greens planned to shut down an excellent local school, MacRobertson Girl’s High. The claim was false, and the “concerned citizen” was actually a front for the Labor party. The letter was authorised by Stephen Newnham, State secretary and campaign director of the Labor party.
At the same time, Newnham was running an astroturf website, using various smear tactics agains the Greens party, and obviously designed to look youthful and edgy and NO WAY the work of a Labor party campaign manager. Oops, look at the bottom of the page.
This time around, Kororoit was being contested by Les Twentyman, who is a youth worker who has gained quite a lot of respect in the neighbourhood, so again, S. Newnham makes with the smear, as the AGE reported:
First, Labor distributed a leaflet saying “A vote for Les Twentyman is a vote for the Liberals”. In fact, the reverse was true: Twentyman’s preferences were directed to Labor. Then Brumby’s party told Kororoit voters that Twentyman, a much-lauded youth worker and former Victorian of the Year, was “placing your kids at risk” because he wanted to “build heroin injecting rooms in your suburb”.
All this because Twentyman has said that if the number of heroin-related deaths were to rise to 1999 levels, safe injecting rooms might need to be reconsidered. What Labor’s Kororoit leaflet didn’t say is that in 1999, the Labor cabinet — including Brumby — supported safe injecting rooms. The way Labor won this election reflects poorly on Brumby. The fact his party felt the need to resort to such tactics suggests Labor feared an even bigger swing.
But in Gippsland, the Greens – remember they were the original targets of S.Newnham’s sleaze – got the treatment again, because they had the temerity only to direct half their preferences to Labor. The ungrateful wretches, after all he’d done
against for them! So he went on record as saying “This is an act of treachery!”
Folks, that is chutzpah par excellence!
What about the new MP for Kororoit, Marlene Kairouz? apparently she was helped along by Family First preferences (and favoured by the Labor right) because she’s anti-choice.
Just what we need. Honestly, I don’t see how anyone with progressive politics can vote for this lot, on any issue. You know what? I wish the Liberals had won this one, just so the Laborials would stop treating us like idiots. And S. Newnham? Not. Helping.
Update 1/7: This is interesting. But the paradigm seems to be “Newnham’s getting too wingnutty, maybe we should replace him with someone else from the Right.” Plus ca change.