Bill Shorten was the guest on the ABC’s Insiders this week, and he spoke well on a number of issues, however something surfaced when he was queried on Party reform that I wanted to delve into today.

Shorten told viewers that he was taking measures to bring the Party into touch with community expectations by increasing rank and file participation within the Party. However the most important thing Bill repeated several times was about having the best candidates possible.

On that note I’m sorry to say Bill the exact opposite is true.

In fact there are factional players who are seeking to ensure the worst candidates are promoted as they will be the easiest people to control.

Here in NSW we are going through the often entertaining and usually ugly process of pre-selection, this time for the upcoming State Election.

Some of you may recall an article I wrote regarding the candidate for Seven Hills Susai Benjamin. The article went into some claims that have been made about the finances of his Toongabbie Legal Centre and others regarding his comments and alleged actions surrounding domestic violence.

Most agree that this is a candidate that will see Labor lose the seat that it has held for over half a century. However given that he is alleged to have the branches stacked full of supporters who only appear at pre-selection time nobody had enough backers to stand against him.

This article saw me receive a bit of grief from Federal Labor member Laurie Ferguson who is the man backing Mr Benjamin for the Labor candidacy despite the outcry from the public, the members, and some within the Party. Mr Benjamin is such a poor candidate that it took over four months for him to get through the Candidate Review Committee, a committee whose recent final decisions have been incredibly questionable.

Maybe next time after Mr Benjamin loses the Seven Hills seat, Laurie Ferguson will put another puppet in place to have another crack, perhaps even his long time close family friend Fiona Field whom Ferguson’s branch members have claimed to have met at a Ferguson Christmas function.

Ferguson has also put the considerable weight of his ego and support behind Julia Finn for the seat of Granville. Julia Finn is a councillor on Parramatta Council that has so far done an exceptional job at being completely unimpressive.

Ferguson likes these candidates because they are easy to control and will always back his point of view and vote in the manner he suggests.

One problem with a Party full of puppets is we will end up a Party without a decent leader.

Laurie "puppeteer" Ferguson Image Fairfax

Laurie “puppeteer” Ferguson
Image Fairfax

Branch stacking is a plague that is acting as a cancer in our Party and it is a practice that Laurie Ferguson would appear to be taking full advantage of.

I find it ironic that Ferguson would claim that I am against democratic rank and file process, given that he was initially parachuted into his Federal seat without the member pre-selection he now apparently holds in such high-esteem.

I am not against rank and file democracy, I am however against branch stacking.

Over the weekend it was reported in Fairfax that the long time and well-respected Member for Auburn Barbara Perry was in trouble as it has been alleged that another of Laurie Ferguson’s puppets has been busily stacking the local branches to oust her.

Barbara Perry is a member who would fit under Bill Shortens “best possible candidates” category. She is well-respected and works hard for her community and is a Former Minister and current Shadow Minister.

Unfortunately for Barbara though, she does not have Laurie Ferguson’s strings attached to her.

Barbara Perry - no strings attached

Barbara Perry – no strings attached

It is understood that complaints re the branch stacking allegations have been made to Sussex St regarding Hicham Zraika’s supporters which rose to around 300 all of a sudden in the Regents Park branch.

Many of these supporters live with Hicham Zraika according to Labor Party records, and many others live in houses that must be overflowing with member’s families. Nine members are even registered as living at a business address.

Just as he has done with the numerous complaints regarding Susai Benjamin’s branch stacking that have gone to Sussex St, NSW Labor Secretary Jamie Clements has dismissed all the complaints involving Hicham Zraika.

Jamie Clements is reported to have said this at the State Labor conference.

“no more ethnic branch stacking”

Branch stacking is branch stacking, the word ethnic should not come into it, but I’ll put that aside for the time being.

Fortunately for Mr Ferguson’s friends this new rule of Jamie Clements’s does not seem to apply, in fact given recent goings on it would even appear to be encouraged.

The number of questionable candidates with Clements blessing and Ferguson strings attached has some members questioning the closeness of the relationship of Ferguson and Clements.

Jamie "Can I phone a friend?" Clements  Image - News Ltd

Jamie “Can I phone a friend?” Clements
Image – News Ltd

The branch-stacking behaviour of people like Susai Benjamin and Hicham Zraika should see them kicked out of the Party, not chosen to represent it.

For NSW Secretary Jamie Clements it is about time we saw some action around this issue, not just hollow words. Why is this a debate that has to be pushed aside and done with factional leaders behind closed doors while telling the rank and file they are going to have a bigger say? Why is it that whenever I have a conversation with someone in a position to do something regarding party reform it always starts with the immortal words

“This is off the record”?

It’s about time we had something other than spin and lies were actually put on the record as the membership expects and deserves better.

Jamie Clements, I hope you are up for the task.

Maybe you’d better check with Laurie.



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18 thoughts on “Bound To Fail – The battle for bad candidates

  1. I couldn`t agree more Wixxy and Lauri Ferguson is the strongest remnat of this disease in the HoR for Labor-Bullock has the Senate`s distinction as rwnj union branch stacking creep.
    Laurie like his brother Martin have used the fathers vehicle and run amok.
    Feeney is another who Labor can do without and for mine you can chuck in a Conroy as well.
    Shorten is full of shit and paying lip service whilst all that can be done to thwart R&F having a say is going on behind the closed doors.
    Faulkeners vision in his Revesby address if the way to go.

  2. The problem with the Greens is they won’t even acknowledge their issues.
    At least in Labor we can air our grievances so they can be debated.
    The Greens attitude is that none of their members can ever do anything wrong so they will defend something ridiculous to the death like a bunch of Hill$ongers defending their masters interpretation of the bible….

  3. When head office deals with it by placing membership freezes in areas that are being stacked, they are only closing the gate after the horse has bolted. This acts as a veiled attempt to pretend they are acting upon it, when really they sanction it. A few people pull the strings and the sycophants all fall into line.
    It’s bleeding obvious when they all regurgitate the same lines in the mistaken belief that it is good to “stay on message” and all “sing from the same song sheet.”

    If you have principles and adhere to those principles “daily talking points” are not necessary. Great men do not need cue cards or daily texts to help them conjure their words.

    You are right. The Labor party has been consumed with PR double speak.

    Poor candidates can be relied upon to regurgitate the mantra of morons.

  4. I have herd of their link to each other ages ago. Filed was sprewking all over town about how good mates she is with Laure . Just ask the locals at the local. What a set up. I’m voting for none of m

  5. Until Labor smartens up I’m with Lord Barry Bonkton, Greens 1, Labor 2. After all the reminders last week of Gough and what Labor can achieve and what a true Labor leader looks like, this is particularly disappointing.

  6. I don’t quite get this. How are these new recruits able to vote for candidates if they haven’t been a member of the labor Party for the 12 months (no vote period)? It wasn’t like that in Victoria when I joined the party. Couldn’t vote for a candidate for last election because I hadn’t been ‘in’ long enough. Which was fair enough.

  7. Good point, Heather. I couldn’t even join the ALP because when I applied I hadn’t been ‘out’ of the Greens for a full two years.

  8. Yep, same for me. Greens 1 and Labor 2 until some things are sorted out.

    ……and with the pathetically bad Government we have at the moment, I still can’t help feeling that Shorten has been a bit of a dud.

    Whenever there is anything bad coming out of the Abbott Government, like a potential $51 Billion deficit, there’s nothing than a whimper from Shorten and more Labor dirty laundry rises to the surface.

  9. it’s not better elsewhere. Here on the Central Coast, we have had a former PUP (I hear – not proven) candidate imposed on us for Gosford, an attempt to do the same in The Entrance, and a recycled candidate for Wyong. David Harris is a nice bloke and lost to a corrupt candidate in Wyong, so perhaps he should get another go. David Mehan in The Entrance had to beat a ‘preferred candidate’ who had her lack of membership overlooked. And as for Gosford, all they wanted to do was make sure Belinda Neal would not win. Thing is they have short memories as Belinda lost a R&F vote to Deb O’Neil (herself now a recycled candidate). These branch stackers play the long game. I spoke with the wonderful Barbara Perry years ago, not long after she won the pre=selection and she said the hardest part of being the local member was the local party not the Libs!

  10. Sadly, the once powerful Worker’s party has been taken over by Power Hungry Wanna be’s & career politicians. I’m sure Both my father & grand father turned over in their graves the day my whole family resigned from this power hungry party who has lost their social justice vein & now seem to be more about individualism these days!

  11. This is a war that has been going for the last 1000 years. Now is the time, for the Christian world to reflect on the last almost one thousand years of carnage that has dogged the human race in the name of religion and loving gods.
    When Pope Urban urged Holy war he spoke in these words:
    “O race of Franks! Race beloved and chosen of God… From the confines of Jerusalem and from Constantinople a grievous report has gone forth that an accursed race, wholly alienated from God, has violently invaded the lands of these Christians and has depopulated them by pillage and fire… Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulchre; wrest that land from a wicked race, and subject it to yourselves.”
    In his call to war, he promised that the sins of crusading soldiers would be wiped out “by the power of God vested in me.” His strongest enticement was the promise of plunder and rapine: a new territory was being presented to be carved up, to the glory of god.
    Along the road to Palestine, the crusader mob burned Jews alive in their houses and temples, forced them to baptism at sword point, raped and committed other atrocities against young and old. In Prague alone they murdered several thousands Jews. [Poliakov I, 42-45] They did their blood work to a fearsome cry: Hep! Hep! This shout has a clerical origin, abbreviating the Latin phrase: Hierosalyma est perdita, “Jerusalem is lost.” It survived as a pogrom chant into the 20th century across Russia and Europe
    The Crusaders battle cry of Hep, Hep, was added to as they moved through Hungary. In Hungary they saw executioners taking off heads by having the victims kneeling, hands tied behind their backs with head up. So when the sword came horizontally from behind, the heads would pop up in the air leaving a geyser of blood to leap momentarily into the air.
    The executioner dispatched his victim with a cry of “To Paradise” which sounded like ‘Hooraah’.
    When Jerusalem fell to the Christian armies, the crusaders slaughtered the city’s inhabitants: Muslims, Jews and Christians, men, women and children. The Franks’ own chroniclers admitted to killing 10,000, the mounted knights splattered in blood up to their hips. One wrote, “We slaughtered without regard for age or sex.” [Gontard, 250] Muslim sources wrote that the crusaders killed 100,000 people. Their violence shocked the Muslims, who had peaceably allowed Christian pilgrims to visit Palestine for several centuries.
    And to this day, we god loving, church going, hypocrites, celebrate happy times, by crying “Hip, Hip Hooray” and throwing our hats into the air to simulate heads flying into the air.
    Yet, we still don’t seem to understand how Muslims might find us hateful? Or why the ISIL call our troops in Iraq Crusaders?
    Finally, from Palestinian poet and eyewitness Mosaffer Allah Werdis, a survivor of the 1120’s equivalent of our 9/11:
    We have mingled our blood and our tears
    None of us remains who has strength enough to beat off these oppressors;
    Oh, that so much blood has to flow,
    that so many women were left with nothing save their bare hands to protect their modesty!
    Amid the fearful clashing of swords and lances, the faces of the children grow white with horror.”
    Will we ever learn a peaceful way, to live together?
    When the crusaders smashed Jerusalem, they behaved exactly the same a ISIL does today.
    An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.
    Think next time you call for three cheers.

    Keep this war in context, when we stack branches, to stay a right wing toy.

  12. Great news Dez, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for a conviction.

    In that article it says KJ has been on sick leave for 2 years. Does that mean she’s still being PAID? !!!

  13. We can only hope it might lead to a conviction, but given the Victorian Police cancelled a previous investigation…….who knows.

    No, from what I can understand, it’s unpaid sick leave……….unlike her idiot ventriloquist dummy Bolano, who I think is still being paid for feigning a mental illness.

  14. Interesting to note that despite his many attempts to enter Parliament, Laurie’s brother Andrew has neither local branch support (in Laurie’s former seat of Reid) or Head Office Support.
    Labor has many issues to contend with regarding membership and preselection
    i) They need people stupid enough (I was one of them once) to pay membership fees and then do free volunteer work for these hacks who get preselected from Sussex St.
    There has been a mass-exodus of people leaving the party due to being used and abused time and time again from Head Office hacks and long-term members who expect continual donations and yet offer nothing in return.
    This is the reason for branch stacking. If you have enough money, and friends to join the party you can circumnavigate the career hacks and take over a branch.
    ii) The flipside is of course mass nepotism and the advent of wannabe political dynasties like the Fergusons, Fitzgibbons, Whans, etc… who inherit the seat from their relatives and dine out on nepotism.
    For the average member who does not fall into either of those categories, what is the point of staying a member of a party like this or even joining it in the first place.
    To be honest, I think branch stacking is the lesser of 2 evils, as I think the system of N40 and indeed political cronyism that has seen the rise of pimply-face apparatchiks with no life experience rise through the ranks of unions and the ALP, has been far more toxic than paying a few relatives to join a local branch.
    All things being equal we should have candidates who can fund their own campaign and use the Senate and Upper House for more high profile candidates, who have a broader/mass appeal.

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