30 Jun 2008, Comments Off on The Unspeakable in pursuit of the unelectable

The Unspeakable in pursuit of the unelectable

Author: Helen

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.

Comments (0)

  • kate says:

    I never have been able to work out why Labor diehards think the Greens owe them preferences. I will probably go to my grave trying to figure it out.

  • Jennifer says:

    I still think we lefties have it worse in NSW, even though all of this sounds pretty appalling. Sadly the libs seem to think that it is more important to be a right wing christian than to get elected, so we’re stuck with the ALP no matter how incompetent they are.

  • Helen says:

    Post edited to attribute the chunk of text about the Kororoit election to Paul Austin at the AGE, not the blogger I’d attributed it to. On second glance he’d posted an article from the AGE wholesale.

  • david tiley says:

    Zactly. Boy am I pissed off too…

  • […] Cast Iron Balcony explains what he has been up to now. […]

  • I’ve never been able to stand Twentyman and I’m surprised people fall for his self agrandizing narcissism and self serving crude populism.

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    yay. politicians all of them. And we were expecting something different?

  • Helen says:

    I’ve never been able to stand Twentyman and I’m surprised people fall for his self agrandizing narcissism and self serving crude populism.

    FX, did you read the part where I said I don’t think Twentyman is necessarily the saviour of the western subs. That’s not my point [Ah, now I reread my post I remember I edited out (because of post getting too long) a caveat about how 20man isn’t necessarily All That. So, sorry for that cryptic remark, FX!] . I don’t really care if he’s Francis the Talking Mule really… the point is that he wasn’t defeated by fair means but by the Labor publicity machine’s dirty tricks.


    [FX is guilty of these two fallacies quoted by Ken in the Club Troppo post I cited:

    If you say you prefer option A to option B, you also prefer A to any option C.
    If you say anything nice (or critical) about anything associated with a group or person you are presumed to support (or oppose) them overall.


    And the person who did get in is not the wondrous alternative who made everyone reconsider their vote for Twentyman, but someone parachuted in by the right wing.


  • wilful says:

    S Newnham is a first class creep by all accounts – I once saw him on Stateline and he emanated evil.

    Mind you, with all the skulduggery, he was correct in claiming that the Greens are totally against selective schools and would have turned MacRob into an ordinary school. This is something that the voters of Albert Park were entitled to know – however for a ‘concerned citizen’ to do it rather than the ALP is just fraud. It wouldn’t be that hard to legislate against, make sure that a party logo was attached to this sort of stuff.

    As for why Labor should get Greens preferences, well in the preferential voting system that we all love, I still want my vote eventually ending up anywhere but the Liberals.

  • and you are guilty of those fallacies too. whilst i think an untrained rotty pig dog cross would be more use than twentyman I’d not want to suggest the other candidates were any more than marginally less useless.

  • Helen says:

    Wilful, you’re falling victim to the idea that “ordinary school” would mean “the typical underfunded school under the current Victorian labor and federal funding model”. That’s not quite what the Greens were on about. You shouldn’t have to have a tiny number of selective schools into which all the good kids are funnelled – it’s kind of OK for them (with reservations), but runs down the system for everyone else. The answer is to lift the whole public system.

    FX, you ignore the fact that the Labor candidate is part of the incumbent government, which is ignoring us (see education, above, see also, transport, forests, water, bicycle friendly roads, hospitals, etc, etc, etc….) Part of the problem is these rusted-on safe seats. If Francis the Talking Mule gets in, as I said, yeah he’s still a mule but it may go some way to mitigate that situation where the government just takes us mugs for granted.

    Also, it gives me some satisfaction to point out – if there should be any Labor people reading – that we mugs aren’t all oblivious to the underhanded methods that are going on, or accepting of it.

  • Helen says:

    ..I have a well-trained rottie Kelpie cross, maybe she’d do.

  • wilful says:

    So helen, now you’re arguing the line that the greens tried to trot out. Which is rubbish frankly.

    It’s pretty clear: will MacRob be selective or not selective? Yes/No
    Do the electors of Albert park deserve to know this? yes/No

    Was newnham an evil reptile for the manner in which he informed the electorate? yes/No

    No, yes, yes are my answers.

    Of course the wider debate should be about school funding, however that would require the Greens to identify just how much extra the education budget is going to get and just how much higher taxes will be to fund this wishful thinking.

    While we all want better schools, there are rather a lot of things that we all want.

  • joe2 says:

    ….Mr Newnham defended his record last night, telling The Age: “We had a good outcome compared to what it could have been in Kororoit — because we held Les Twentyman to account for his record.”….

    Just in case some people are not getting it, here you find the manipulative creep showing, that with him, it is all about winning and not about how you win.

    His total disdain for democracy is evident because the two strategies against Twentyman were not based on any fair representation of the facts.

    Twentyman, good or bad is not the issue here; it is about pretty blatant lies, to win electoral advantage, by someone with a senior position in a major party.

  • Helen says:

    Wilful (good choice of internet moniker), Newnham’s letter stated that the Greens were going to close Macrobertson. You also try to force me to endorse the selective schools system, and imply that I support some kind of tyranny-of-stalinist-mediocrity™ , when the point is that these selective high schools have mainly sprung up in response to State governments which have neglected and underfunded the rest of the Public secondary schools. As Barista said in 2006,

    If you read the whole policy, you discover that the Greens believe in funding State schools well enough so that the Mac.Robs of the world don’t need to exist as refuges for bright kids with anxious parents.

    At the moment, Brumby is busy saying that “We support an education system gives all students and their families’ choices on what education best suits them. [The apostrophe came with the text, by the way, which is not a good advertisement either]. It is one thing to tolerate the private school system as a necessary evil since it is too politically embedded to blast out; it is another thing to embrace it as a defence. You can lie down with fleas but you don’t have to like them.

  • wilful says:

    Helen, I don’t force you to endorse anything. But I do know that the good burghers of Albert Park sure do endorse the system. Bugger that, democracy.

    And since MacRob has been a selective school for a very very long time, I don’t think that’s been the reason for its existence.

    And they’re dreamin’ about the State secondary education budget

  • Helen says:

    Apologies everyone, that “poopy” comment was placed there by persons on school holidays. Measures will be taken.

  • Armagny says:

    Prefer good schools generally to selectives.

    Greens don’t ‘owe’ preferences to Labor, agreed, but any green voter who preferences Liberal (there are quite a few) is cutting off their nose to spite their face. Frustrating as I realise that may be.

    Don’t personally like the dirty tactics vs fellow left candidates.

    Think generally us lefties have less ability to compromise and be reasonable with each other for the common good than 2 hammerhead sharks eyeing off the same dugong.

    Appreciate the heads up on the arch right views of the new member there, citizen journo castiron =) Note taken, despair felt.

  • Nabakov says:

    “Apologies everyone, that “poopy” comment was placed there by persons on school holidays.”

    Well, if that person’s looking for some pocket money during the hols, I understand the position of State ALP Secretary may soon be vacant. The person in question has already demonstrated they have a good grasp of the kind of communication skills required for such a position.

  • joe2 says:

    “Measures will be taken.”

    Yes, good Helen.

    Presumably you are talking about gentle direction away from the use of the “poopy” word to “shit” or “crap”.

  • I wouldn’t be too worried about the Greens getting the required majority in the Victorian lower house to get the Education Ministry and close MacRob.

  • anyway – I’d like to see a bit more democracy in your household and empowering of youth on blogs. Let a thousand poops bloom…

  • Meself says:

    Helen, the Green Guide.

    At last Baden-Powell’s long lost environmentally friendly lovechild is unearthed.

    (Good stuff, Balcs.)

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