On Friday I wrote about the personal vendetta’s being waged on Labor’s new Senator Kimberley Kitching by Fairfax journalists.

This attack has continued with an opinion piece by Ben Schneiders published October 14. The piece attacks Kitching and also heavily attacks her husband Andrew Landeryou.

It is my humble opinion that when opinion pieces like these are written that if there are any elements that may cause the author bias then they should be included.

On that part I should point out that I do know both Kitching and Landeryou. I have actually credited Landeryou as the first person to publish the real story behind Kathy Jackson and her faction within the HSU. I am not a member of his, or any faction of Vic Labor and if anything, I am considered a lefty within the Party. As for Schneiders I have never had anything against him and have in fact often praised his work.

However Schneiders and Andrew Landeryou have a history which Fairfax rightly or wrongly have neglected to inform their readers of.

Ben Schneiders - Bearing a grudge? Image - Twitter

Ben Schneiders – Bearing a grudge?
Image – Twitter

During the Victorian 2010 State Election campaign it was discovered that the Labor database full of confidential correspondence and personal details of voters had been illegally accessed and voter records illegally viewed or copied.

A Labor laptop was stolen during the campaign by someone impersonating a Labor volunteer. That laptop then ended up in the hands of former Greens councillor and Greens endorsed State candidate Fraser Brindley.

From there the login was used from the offices of the Age clearly supplied by Brindley or an associate.

The information gathered from this criminal act was then illegally used in an article written in the Age in order to assist the Greens State campaign in the inner city.

Four people were charged and in court admitted criminal behaviour over this matter. They were the Greens Fraser Brindley, and from Fairfax Royce Millar, Nick McKenzie and Ben Schneiders, author of this piece.

The reason these charges were laid was because the story of the illegal theft and cyber-crimes was broken on the website Vex News and written by Andrew Landeryou.

My view is that Fairfax should have disclosed that information to allow its readers to make up their own minds as to how much of this column was based on fact and how much was based on a personal grudge that has appeared on Fairfax pages in the past.

You know the Schneiders column in question is going to be full of exaggerations and distorted viewpoints when it starts out claiming

“most Labor politicians, even the good ones, get their start through an ugly factional knife-fight”

Schneiders may not know much about the political parties he seeks to be an authority on but even most casual political observers will tell you that factional infighting over Senate or Upper House positions is not unique to Labor. Liberal Party behaviour in this regards is usually far uglier than Labor’s just ask Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. If Labors is a “knife-fight” the Liberals could be described as wielding machetes. The Greens are even worse, in NSW the death of John Kaye MP sparked factional brawling that could be described as using battle axes and spiked balls on chains. I can’t think of anything uglier in politics than this high point in the Greens history. Things are so bad in the Greens they don’t even have a NSW party leader. I guess Di Natale dosn’t have a brother-in-law in NSW.

Schneiders goes on to mention Kitchings apparent;

“contribution to the ongoing factional abuse of the disgraced Health Services Union.”

Published was an old photos of Kitching with Kathy Jackson as Schneiders desperately seeks to tar them with the same brush, despite the fact that nothing could be further from the truth.

Jackson and Kitching - I'm surprised this didn't end with a glassing Image - Fairfax

Jackson and Kitching – I’m surprised this didn’t end with a glassing
Image – Fairfax

Just as you can find photos of Shorten and Turnbull together, or Trump and Clinton together, one photo does not an alliance make.

Kitching’s “factional abuse” was to aid in the bringing of Kathy Jackson to justice. Since then the union has boosted its membership and has actually started working for the membership in the first time for years. Maybe Schneider’s would prefer Marco Bolano running things again?

This factionalism Schneiders seeks to crucify Kitching for, he should actually be praising her for. This fight has ended up with one party becoming a Senator and the other facing a prison sentence for allegedly spending over $1.4 Million of union members money.

Schneiders continual commentary implying that the HSU #1 Branch was being used to stack branches of the ALP while Kitching was General Manager is ridiculous because the union is unaffiliated to Labor which means it has no sway whatsoever in regards to votes on the floor at Labor conferences or branches.

The continual misleading commentary from Schneiders around stacking is perhaps a sure sign that he is attempting to conjure controversy out of fantasy and thin air.

Yes the Trade Union Royal Commission that sought to clear the name of Kathy Jackson and brought itself into disrepute in its often desperate attempts to protect her made some recommendations against Jackson’s factional opponent Kitching regarding Right Of Entry exams, however it would seem these recommendations have been filed in a dustbin due to the conflicting evidence. Nevertheless Schneiders reports on them is if they are proven allegations.

Turning his attention to his real target Kitching’s husband, Schneiders starts out with this pearler;

“Landeryou lurks in the nether regions of the internet”

I wonder where these “nether regions” are?

Andrew Landeryou heads for the nether regions Image - Arsineh Houspian

Andrew Landeryou heads for the nether regions
Image – Arsineh Houspian

I find Schneiders lurking in all the same places, these being Facebook and Twitter. Landeryou’s articles were also published on the same internet as Fairfax’s publications.

Schneiders seems to be insinuating that those of us who use Facebook and Twitter are some kind of nether region loiterers. Are we all meant to feel dirty or perverted for checking our news feeds and updating our profiles?

Schneiders goes on to say

“He is both influential within Labor circles – a key figure in its poisonous factional  culture – and so loathed that an application by him to rejoin the party has remained unprocessed for months.”

OK then, let me get this right, he’s not even a member of this party he apparently wields so much factional influence over? Hmmm

Once again Schneiders with his subtle dig at the “poisonous factional culture”. As shown previously Labors factional culture is a “Beware Poison” sticker on the side of a biological weapon used by other parties. In fact as mentioned earlier it was in the aid of one of these other parties that saw Ben in court admitting to criminal behaviour.

Schneiders writes a lot about Andrew Landeryou defaming people online and in articles. In a piece last week that was supposed to be a news article devoid of opinion Schneiders spoke of Landeryou’s former web site Vex News as being “highly defamatory”.

Perhaps fact checking is not big with Schneiders or Fairfax but here’s a fact, Landeryou nor Vex news have ever been pursued for defamation. Never. Not even once. Let alone had a finding against him in that regards.

With most regarding the reporting and commentary from News Ltd as being biased and often incorrect it is now more than ever vital that Fairfax be seen to be diligent in its fact checking and open and transparent with its readers. It should avoid personal grudges at all costs as they are an open display of the poisonous culture that they accuse others of.

The irony and arrogance of bringing up defamation in this article is gobsmacking.

We can all see who is being defamed here.

4 thoughts on “Grudge Match – Fairfax airs its dirty laundry, once again

  1. This is first-class investigative journalism, Peter. Unlike those who defame others, your conclusions are based on concrete evidence, not hearsay.

  2. Top investigative work Peter, once again you expose the incompetency of a tosser calling himself a journalist, but reveals himself as a vindictive unprofessional fool.
    The pool of good writers within Fairfax continues to diminish with speed, they are quickly gaining on the News Corp lot.

  3. Thanks for this. The feature of ABC news in the Guthrie era, apart from the unceasing monotony of the war on terrierism,has been Murdochised hit pieces on Labor.

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