Broadmeadows by-election: February 19

Friday, January 28

The Victorian Supreme Court has rejected the attempt to force a normal preselection process, clearing the path for Frank McGuire’s endorsement. The ABC reports Justice Tony Pagone “found that the internal party rules used as the basis for the unions’ case were not legally enforceable”, while VexNews says the applicants’ failure to pursue the matter through the party’s disputes resolution processes was a “big factor” in the decision. Andrew Crook of Crikey wrote yesterday that the challenge threatened the unintended consequence of a party investigation into local preselectors’ bona fides, which Yigit’s opponents claimed had the potential to expose a “ghost branch” of 200 members where “a mysterious anonymous benefactor services most of the membership fees”. Crook also reported that the local balance of power was finely poised between Yigit in central Broadmeadows and the Socialist Left around Craigieburn and Sunbury, where federal Calwell MP Maria Vamvakinou wields considerable influence.

Thursday, January 27

Evening. VexNews reports the Supreme Court is today hearing a challenge being pressed by HSU national secretary Kathy Jackson, who has engaged Minter Ellison to pursue a strategy that most likely involves seeking an injunction or application to conduct a local vote. Given that nominations for the by-election close on Monday, this would not allow time for local preselectors’ bona fides to be checked. The site tells an intriguing tale of the NUW/SDA bloc of the Right being desperate to remain on side with Burhan Yigit owing to his standing in the local Turkish community and consequent ability to deliver it votes at State Conference. VexNews appears to think a legal challenge more likely to succeed than I suggested in my previous entry, given the disconnect between “the rarefied air of the Practice Court of the Supreme Court” and the “real-world issues and problems” facing a functioning political party. However, it is suggested that the challenge might be a token effort to keep Yigit on side, given that it is being pursued so late in the game.

Morning. As reported by Richard Willingham of The Age yesterday, Labor’s administrative committee has voted 18 to 13 to fast-track Frank McGuire’s preselection by referring the matter to the national executive, while also waiving the usual requirement that candidates be party members of over a year’s standing. David Rood of The Age today reports that the elements who favoured Hume councillor Burhan Yigit, namely the SDA, NUW and HSU on the right and the CFMEU on the left, have threatened legal action to enforce the normal procedure in which preselections are jointly determined by local members and the Public Office Selection Committee. A case brought by former South Australian deputy leader Ralph Clarke in 1999 established the power of the courts to rule on internal party matters, but the effect of this was to overturn a crude branch-stacking operation: what the aforementioned unions appear to be hoping for is a highly prescriptive intervention into the way the party organises its affairs, which would not seem to be promising ground. McGuire’s backing comes from the Shorten-Conroy axis on the Right and the Socialist Left, the latter of which is identified as accusing Yigit of having “effectively killed local activism” through branch-stacking.

The Richard Willingham report also tells us that Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka and Joseph Kaliniy have nominated as independents, while the Moreland Leader relates that hardy perennial Phil Cleary is considering once again throwing his hat into the ring.

Saturday, January 23

The by-election to replace outgoing former Victorian Premier John Brumby has been set for February 19. Labor’s state administrative committee will meet next week to select a candidate, having chosen to circumvent the normal process where the vote is jointly determined by local branches members and the party’s Public Office Selection Committee. This decision has presumably been taken to smooth the path for Frank McGuire, a property developer and former journalist best known as the brother of Eddie. Although he has not been a member of the party (and served a decade ago as a strategist for the Australian Democrats), McGuire has in his favour a lifelong family association with an electorate which – with all due respect to it – would count few likely ministerial contenders among its residents. Royce Millar of The Age reported that possible rivals with more current links to the area included Hume councillor Burhan Yigit, a member of the NUW/SDA sub-faction of the Right, and Mehmet Tillem, a convenor for the rival Bill Shorten-Stephen Conroy group. Also hoping for the latter’s support were Nathan Murphy, who lost his Northern Metropolitan upper house seat at the election, and Danny Pearson, a “former Bracks adviser turned lobbyist”. However, Millar also wrote that it was this group which first floated McGuire as a contender. More recently, but The Age’s Richard Willingham wrote that McGuire was “believed to be enjoying growing cross-factional support as the preferred candidate”. State party secretary Nick Reece was believed to have been Brumby’s choice, but he met resistance due to his lack of connection with the area.

The Liberals will not be fielding a candidate at the by-election, which even after a 10.8 per cent swing at the recent state election has a Labor margin of 21.0 per cent. It would thus appear that only the emergence of a strong independent candidate between now and the closure of nominations on February 1 offers the chance of a serious electoral contest. VexNews believes the Greens candidate is likely to be Graham Dawson, a City of Hume librarian who ran for the seat of Yuroke at the state election.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

70 comments on “Broadmeadows by-election: February 19”

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  1. Call me old fashioned but I find it bizarre that a non-member of the ALP is even under consideration as a candidate.

    The ALP does have rules about pre-selection. They should be followed.

  2. The New ALP
    It is now possible for a rich property developer to be Labor candidate for a safe seat and not even be a member of the party…WOW !!

    This could put the Liberals out of business.
    Property developers used to be their kind of people,but Labor will now take over this whole area !

    It’s makes the Greens look a pretty good bet as the only party on the left….
    What a shame GG is away in Tasmania or he could explain all this and tell us how clever it is of the ALP to nominate people who are not even members …to be candidates….and reprimand we cynics !

  3. The local ALP from what I recall has been a mass of factional and personal bunfights. I remember reading about problems with Hume council and with preselection for the federal seat of Calwell.

    Maybe an outsider is the best thing that could happen for them.

  4. MDM Connell @ 3

    The local ALP from what I recall has been a mass of factional and personal bunfights. I remember reading about problems with Hume council and with preselection for the federal seat of Calwell.

    Maybe an outsider is the best thing that could happen for them.

    I believe it is also heavily branch stacked too.

    An ALP member from outside would be OK.

  5. I see property developer and former journalist wants to become a member of parliament – obviously trying to improve his public image and status, if only slightly.

    Not a member of the ALP? what actually join the party and have to go to all those branch meetings on a tuesday evening?

    The entire episode makes it clear why party membership, with the exception of the Greens is in decline.

  6. Now call me precious but I remember once a Greens candidate who was form out of town.. Well he was a long term party member, and a leading intellectual but fair enough he was out of town. Out of State, lets face it he was from Canberra,.
    But Haaaaa Haaaaa HAAAAAA, A property developer, Eddie’s Brother, Barking Haaaaa Haaaaa.
    Don’t get me wrong, He is probably a great bloke and will lift the talent of the ALP backbench, and well its great to see that when there is a bit of factional shite and branch stacking going on the ALP have decided on the Property Developer technique., Hark Haaaaa. LOL
    Hummm, Ok, so the Libs are not running cause they wanted to run the property developer and if the ALP are going to pinch their bat, they are not going to play,.. Haaaa Haaaa. OMG.
    Now I wonder if Vex will run the Millionaires club thingo, let me see… NO.

  7. No response from the likely suspects, taking the people of broady for granted.
    The ALP have lost their soul, partly from their own success and partly because they have been sucked into the vortex of power by the elites.
    Originally they were to represent the unionist and those who weren’t even in unions, the poor, the exploited, the abused and those who had no OH&S.
    The workers are now middle class, the poor are unemployed. So who do the ALP represent. Well maybe its the donors.
    Broady will return anyone the ALP puts up but the trouble of this drift is that they have deserted their core. This was drilled home to me in a shouting match with one of the back room boys during the last State election. “You need to return to your base, look what rabbit is doing”. The reply says it all. “Oh that easy but what is our base?” End of story. If the brains don’t know what their base is well good luck with that one.

  8. The ALp has now become a private club for carving up access to the allocation of political places. Seeing that it has a duopoly with the Liberal party on the access to such power then the rules related to the governance and public accountability of the political parties ought to be tightened up.

    How about a productivity commission inquiry into how to improve governance and competition in the political process.

  9. Re McQuire and the By electuion

    Oddly,if he had ambitions why didn’t he simply join the ALP six months ago…the reason is of course that NOBODY saw a defeat for Brumby or a by-election in Broady…so why bother!!!
    McGuire lives in a huge mansion in up market Brighton,and might need a map to find his way to run-down old Broady…but that the Vic ALP for you.

  10. Now I wonder if the Greens would preference Phil or their the “lets put Country Alliance second’ mates down there at developer, shooter, climate joker central.
    Ummmm I wonder?
    Madcyril, a simple q for you.
    How many Greens have been elected to anything on ALP preferences, and how many ALP hacks have been elected on Greens preferences?
    The Preference genie is out of the bottle and Lets just count how many ALP members will be desperate for Greens preferences in 2014, and the Federal election.
    I have never understood the antagonism of the ALP to the Greens. The Fibs court, support, rumour has it even help finance the array of right wing preference machines, but the short sighted ALP continue to try and smash the Greens with ever dirty trick they can get.
    The Green vote by any estimation keeps going up and the ALP will need every one.

  11. [
    I have never understood the antagonism of the ALP to the Greens.

    The Greens and their fellow travellers constantly whinge about mean old Labor attacking them, when all they do is attack Labor as sell outs who have lost their souls. Some hightlights from this thread so far

    The ALp has now become a private club for carving up access to the allocation of political places

    McGuire lives in a huge mansion in up market Brighton,and might need a map to find his way to run-down old Broady…but that the Vic ALP for you.

    The ALP have lost their soul

  12. Gusface

    Apart from being a Broady boy, maybe William is on the money

    Although he has not been a member of the party (and served a decade ago as a strategist for the Australian Democrats), McGuire has in his favour a lifelong family association with an electorate which – with all due respect to it – would count few likely ministerial contenders among its residents

    Who knows if he will even run, it’s all speculation at the moment. I’m hoping he runs so as to annoy a few people around here 👿

  13. Gusface

    Labor can’t win. The get criticised for selecting too many unionists and professional party hacks. Then they get criticised for selecting blowins who aren’t steeped in ALP tradition. Whichever way they go they cop criticism

  14. Re Broadmeadows and the ALP in Vic
    Prior to the 2006 state election in Victoria, Simon Madden then an upper house member from the Western suburbs and Minister for Sport,decided he wanted a lower house seat(he apparently had delusions of grandeur and hoped he might one day be Premier!…and he was Minister for Sport..God Help Us !)

    He opted for Bundoora(in the Bundoora/Greensborough area)despite the fact that most ALP branch members there hoped that the retiring member’s secretary Colin Brookes would succed to the seat, having been an outstanding local councillor.
    There was much angst over this … but then the seat of Essendon became vacant and that suited Madden better as he ,lived in the area.

    It was a classic case of the party bosses ignoring local feeling. I know because I was then a member of a local ALP branch.!..

    Brookes won the seat and is a great member.
    Madden won Essendon and later became Minister for Planning and did his share to bring down the Brumby Govt,going on to annoy voters all over Melbourne with his high-handed policies,which may have helped to lose several inner seats…certainly Prahran amongst others.where local community groups reacted angrily against Madden…who had a dismissive style,which people hated. He had a big swing against him in his seat of Essendon….
    It will be interesting to see how this choice of a man who is not even an ALP member
    will sit with the voters of Broadmeadows..whom the ALP machine-men obviously hold in contempt,,,but Phil Cleary may be an interesting candidate if he stands and would get the Green prefs…and there is no Liberal standing…so who knows..?

    Voters may react to the millionaire Labor candidate in an unfavourable manner
    we are a long way from Chifley’s”..”.Light on the Hill ” ..

  15. The above post is quite incorrect.

    Justin Madden was only elected the Member for Essendon in November 2010. Previously, he was still the Labor member for the Western Metropolitan Region.

    Can someone please inform Judy Maddigan (Member for Essendon, 1996-2010) that she had an impostor for four years?

  16. Labor to nominate Frank McGuire!

    FRANK McGuire is set to become Labor’s candidate for the Broadmeadows byelection, despite still not being an ALP member, after the party’s national executive was called in to run preselection.

    Victorian Labor’s administrative committee met last night and voted 18 to 13 for the national executive to invoke the ”plenary powers” to preselect the candidate, bypassing the normal local vote.

  17. Re by-election in Broady!!
    What does a rich Brighton man do…who wants a seat in parliament (for what reasons we don’t know.!!)..who has no links with the Labor movement. nor ever has…..but has lots of influence and lots of money and a millionaire brother??????????
    Guess what he has to do ????????????????!………………..


  18. F@$%%^&*&*

    F%^%^&&**itty F!#$%^&

    [FRANK McGuire is set to become Labor’s candidate for the Broadmeadows byelection, despite still not being an ALP member, after the party’s national executive was called in to run preselection.]

    lord why do they test me so


  19. Found this over at the Boys Blog at Voxpox.

    Frank the Brother has been working with etc, the ALP, Pro Bono. I just love that word, Pro Bono, I wonder how many factory workers can work Pro Bono. Why mention it other than to mention it,. Is there browny points, I wonder if the ALP hacks will attack him for being a millionaire. Not.

  20. Gusface
    Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    F%^%^&&**itty F!#$%^&
    “lord why do they test me so”

    Gusface, I’m an ex ALP member, there are lots of us, just let it go,. THe day i First meet shorten in a student union faction I thought if that is the future of the ALP well sorry I’m not going there much longer, he has proved to be everything that I expected and so much more, that they are so keen on this short term big end of townism is just breathtaking, . Remember it was Pratts plane that delivered the Shorter one to the Mine disaster.
    Anyway, Gusface maybe you can tell us less think skinned why do the ALP workers remain, what is actually in it for the rank and file, the old true believers, I get that and god bless they have a great support friendship thing and really only go for the scones anyway, the unionist, OK its about self promotion etc, get that, don’t agree but get it. But for the non aged, non union party member, how many times do people have to be bent right over before they say, . Billy boy, you’ve broken the party up real bad.

  21. A decision on the Broadmeadows biffo is due at 9:15 AM this morning

    LABOR’S selection of a candidate for the Broadmeadows byelection has been thrown into turmoil with the Supreme Court to in effect rule on how the party should choose who should run.

    The court this morning will rule on whether local members should be given a say in choosing who will contest the February byelection for former premier John Brumby’s safe Labor seat

  22. Be interested to see the judgment. So the ALP has internal rules that are not enforceable. A game of scrabble is more watertight than a political party!

    Landeryou’s insights:

    The “plenary powers” of the National Executive are designed as the ultimate problem-solving mechanism for a party riddled by rules it doesn’t observe, local memberships with more irregularities than a judge would tolerate and many other real-world issues and problems that seem very foreign in the rarefied air of the Practice Court of the Supreme Court

  23. Vexnews take on the decision

    The decision goes some way to validating the so-called supreme“plenary powers” of the ALP National Executive to solve problems that arise from time to time.

    It will have the effect in the internal workings of the Victorian branch of making threats of litigation over preselection and procedural matters much less likely to be taken seriously, observers say. It has also greatly diminished the perception of the splinter group in the eyes of the National Right faction that was mostly appalled at their attempt to challenge the plenary powers that are routinely used to clean up internal messes in many other states and address issues like branch-stacking.

    A big factor, we understand, in the judge’s decision (written reasons will follow soon) was that the applicants had failed to use the ALP’s elaborate internal Disputes resolution processes.

  24. Just back from Tassie, so have only heard bits of this on the news.

    Still, interested by some of the comments above.

    One of the first things I was taught in the ALP was that Admin exists to over rule the party rules.

    Having been the victim (in an unwinnable seat, so it was all a bit weird) once of a similar overriding of the rules (when the Left was in power with the ‘independents’, so don’t anyone run away with the idea that it’s the norty Right wing’s sole perogative) my only concern would be whether the person being parachuted in would or would not make a good local member.

    Don’t forget, Brumby was also ‘parachuted’ into this seat (although obviously he was an ALP parliamentarian!). He didn’t live in the electorate, and I certainly remember once him having to ask an aide which branch he ‘belonged’ to.

    Often HO gets this right and the locals get it wrong…which is why Admin exists…

    This is by no means a new or unexpected move by the party – it’s what they do with safe seats. Anyone who is aghast obviously hasn’t been following preselections over the last twenty years.

    It only goes wrong if the person selected either doesn’t put in the work or is promoted too quickly.

    Given the party doesn’t have many seats to throw around at present, then it’s likely that there’s been some long hard thinking about this and careful selection of the candidate for the conditions.

    And why the double standards, any way? The Liberals do this all the time. The Greens as well – if they have a local selection process which goes beyond ‘anyone up for it?” I’m unaware of it.

    At least Labor is transparent about it. People know when the rules have been broken and thus get an opportunity to question why. They don’t get that with the Libs and I don’t think the Greens have ever been tested in this area.

  25. In which case I fail to see why anyone would want to join the party. doesn’t matter about rules – members can have no influence on choosing candidates.

    What does concern me is that the two major parties are able to access large amounts of public funds but have less accountability and are less transparent than any similar sized incorporated bodies.

  26. Zoomster says “At least Labor is transparent about it. People know when the rules have been broken and thus get an opportunity to question why.”
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha h ah ah ah ha h ahahahahh OMG, cracker.
    Now who wants to guess what the vote was, Brumby lost 10%, 7 % were informals and no one was paying the slightest bit of attention. I wonder fi the fibs wish they had run,. but they seem to be so close(to the ALP) at the moment that its all getting a bizarre. Just seen a whole lot of leaked ALP/Lib emails divying up a council in Greens heartland,. You have this seat we’ll have that one and we can knock the Greens out by not having to preference them before each other as we’ll only turn up in half the seats each. WOW. names dates etc, bit of a laugh, especially when it leaks after about 5 mins.

  27. Labor Party is a most democratic run Party , whereas th liberals and Greens practise double standards daily as part of there DNA so there hypacritical bleets on this Thread can be ignored

    All 3 Labor leading candidates were backed by factions which is why th Labor party is democratic and th liberals and Greens Partys is not Factions is democraticly in effect shop stewards representing th mass Labor members so Party can efficent functon Naturally when you’ve got humans involved then human flaws do arise from time to time but thats h price of being democratic , some errors

    Also given all candidates backed by such democratic sytem , then it would NOT hav mattered who th labor candidate was , th Green hypocrits anti Labor bile brigade here wuld STILL hav blogged false anti labor faction Greens talking points

    I note there some Q’s over membreship roll of big incr in local concession members , and Nat Exec will over ride a locl branch suss of Branch staking

    Furthermore safe labor seats has always been ritely used by Labor period over many yrs to attract a potential future high qual Minister , a goal only those not intersted in getting skilled future Cabinet Ministers to actualy govern complex portfolio s do not ‘get’

    PS/ Bemused , your neg contribution is no suprise , and i doubt your member

  28. Its footsoldiers like Ron that give me great heart that I’m in the right party.
    “Now Ron, I know its a machine Gun, and I’ll be back here behind the lines, but the Party needs someone to take one for the team. Bill and Steven are too important, the rest of the boys are busy, would you mind. Oh and we couldn’t have a vote but the National Exec agree as long as its not them.

  29. Dr Strangelove
    Posted Friday, January 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
    Hey Barking

    You got a link or something for those leaked emails? Sounds interesting!

    They are between various players and would be impossible to disguise, I’ll think about any way to do it though. Good old boys the Libs and the ALP, they know how to play the game.

  30. Bilbo

    i am just so damned dissapointed that labor has gone the celeb path

    and yes I know eddies bro is the epitome of saintliness

    but by gawd the local peeps have been sold a pup

    I really worry sometimes that the ALP is selling its soul for some misguided short term gain

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