Where is there a spine to be found in NSW Labor?
Yesterday NSW Labor Secretary Jamie Clements walked out of court a happy man after an AVO application against him was dropped.
The AVO was applied for after a parliamentary staffer, Stefanie Jones, accused Clements of approaching her whilst she was alone in Parliament House, pushing her against a wall and kissing her in an unwanted advance. Although Clements has strongly denied these allegations some have commented that he must have attended the same charm school as Jamie Briggs.
Something that alarmed many was Jones’s choice of legal representation. Jones is a political staffer, former ALP candidate, and current Labor party member, yet she chose the Liberal Party’s former Attorney General, Greg Smith as her lawyer. Smith has a reputation of being so far to the right that even Cory Bernardi has difficulty seeing him without binoculars. Smith is notorious for his anti-choice stance regarding a woman’s right to choose, and sticking up for paedophile priests.
Jones’s partner, David Latham is a Labor Party organiser who works in the same offices as Clements. Despite his partner doing a deal with Clements, I’m sure this fact won’t make Latham’s life any more comfortable around the office.
I hope that Latham has the spine to continue in his position despite the pressure he is no doubt under.
It is no secret that I am not a founding member of the Jamie Clements fan club, and I remain without an opinion on the alleged incident that Jones claims took place, despite the fact that I am told;
“He’s got form…”
So what is this “form” I’m told of?
Last year on 11th August I reported on the curious circumstances of the Clements AVO and some of the coincidences surrounding it.
Upon this event occurring I received an excited phone call from one Western Suburbs MP whom I have helped campaign previously. This MP, whom I won’t name, was full of encouragement that I “nail the c**t” and was full of assurances that all of the allegations against Clements were rock solid. What heresay these assurances were based on I’m not sure.
This MP has also encouraged me to write on other allegations regarding Clements and his attitude towards women. I was told there were “several” other women who had worked at Sussex St who would come forward with complaints re Clements that may be willing to go on the record, as of today none have done so. I was also told of a union induction course from years back that Clements was thrown out of after his behaviour towards women was described as intimidating and derogatory, many were aware of this event. Alas nobody, not even one, was willing to go on record, and not one of those named recalled the events I was told they witnessed.
Yet I was supposed to stick my neck out and print this without evidence, or anything more than a hunch or heresay? That is not the business I am in and if someone has an axe to grind and seeks to do it in a manner that I find repugnant, I suggest they grow a spine and do it for themselves.
Don’t for a minute think I don’t want Clements gone.
Jamie Clement’s in my view is the anchor around NSW Labor’s neck, and the concrete boot that is seeing Federal Labor plummet towards unfathomable depths bears a striking resemblance to Jamie’s face.
I however believe he needs to go not for any rumours and heresay, but for his woeful performance and his support of allegedly corrupt members such as Noreen Hay.
However that doesn’t mean that we need to destroy our own integrity in order to remove him, all we need to do is find a few with the spine to stand up against him.
So what do our fearless leaders say amid calls for the removal of Clements?
NSW Leader Luke Foley “That is not a matter for me”
Federal Leader Bill Shorten “That is a matter for the NSW Branch”
Wow, there’s a pair of leaders who don’t like to lead by example.
Bill Shorten could pressure the National Executive to act, something I have called for many times in the past, but as yet no takers.
For Luke Foley, things must be a trifle awkward given he is reportedly only in his leadership role due to a deal done with Jamie Clements and Noreen Hay. Currently Foley is in a position where it would be hard to find three poker buddies let alone a crew to take on the State Secretary.
Foley however does appear to have some sort of plan. It has been speculated that he is looking to demote Michael Daley, his chief rival, and in his place promote Chris Minns to Shadow Treasurer despite him being in parliament less than a year, Minns however is the best mate of Jamie Clements and the man Clements wants to lead the Party. Foley’s desperate bid to save his own leadership seemingly involves sharpening the assassin’s knife and handing it to Minns.
My hope in all this is that Michael Daley decides he is sick of being screwed over, takes a slug of something strong, and starts kicking against the pricks. From what I can see Daley is the only one Labor has with leadership potential, however the Left seek to distance him to protect Foley, and the Right seek to install Minns, this leaves Daley the last single guy sitting on his lonesome at the school dance.
If Daley can summon the spirit to take on the Clements and Noreen machine he could be doing both himself and the Party the hugest favour, and displaying the leadership that the membership have been craving for what feels like an eternity.
Maybe that is hoping for too much, but at the moment hope is all we have to cling to while we wait for someone to grow that spine.
As for Stefanie Jones, although she has expressed relief that Clements must now keep his distance, it’s not all good news. The career she may have wanted to choose in politics will always be a vastly more uphill struggle than it should be, which is a shame.
It is a shame because she has stood her ground and backed both herself and her claims. If there is any element of truth behind her claims at all she is exactly what the Party needs, as in her course of actions in standing up against Clements she has shown more spine than the rest of the Party combined.
Although that’s not saying much.