Electorate sidelined

Is your MP loyal to you, or loyal to the people who chose him? (Or, occasionally, her.)

Tony Abbott, on the ABC Four Corner’s Man On A Wire:

Now, the difficulty at the moment ah is that because there’s a smaller, ah less representative party, ah it’s easily controlled ah by factional warlords. Some of these factional warlords have a commercial interest ah in dealing with politicians, whose pre-selections they can influence. Now, this is a potentially corrupt position, ah and the best way to see off the factionalists ah is to open up the party. The more members we’ve got the harder it will be for the factional warlords to control.

Here’s Brad Norington, author of Planet Jackson: Power, Greed and Unions:

A typical example close to the 2016 election was the result of an ALP preselection ballot for the seat of Fremantle in Western Australia. An official of the Maritime Union of Australia, Chris Brown (not the HSU’s Chris Brown) won the preselection. Amid protests that other worthy candidates were cast aside, the MUA’s state branch secretary, Christy Cain, declared Fremantle ‘a maritime union seat’. The voters of Fremantle seemed irrelevant in this culture. As it transpired, Brown’s candidacy was shortlived: the ALP’s national executive dumped him amid allegations he failed to declare an old assault conviction. Brown’s forced exit marked no meaningful rethink about the prevailing culture – in particular the common union claim to ownership of specific seats.

Chapter “Denial”


“Too many people are just waiting in the wings until it’s their turn to get preselected so they don’t want to rock the boat.”

David Mond, Victorian Liberal Party treasurer, after resigning, as reported in The Australian 12 December 2018.

But The Australian is reputedly biased-right, so lets hear from The Age 9 November 2016:

Some factional hard heads had warned that if his replacement did not hail from the industrial part of the Left, there would “be blood on the floor and heads will roll”.

MPs’ loyalty matters. Were you happy when Abbott rolled Turnbull? When Gillard rolled Rudd? When Rudd rolled Gillard? When Turnbull rolled Abbott? All votes in the party room, decided by MPs (and their loyalties).

What can you do?

It’s too late to vote in this election (for preselection). But if your party is in with a chance for the next election, join it. Join your party! Get a vote in who your candidate is.

Oh, and read Vote once Choose twice.

Written and authorised
by Guy Smith, Taringa.

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