Tuesday, September 26, 2006

 

Branch stacking? We love it. We're Labor (60)

This week I want to explore my favourite topic, branch stacking. This time I don't want to explore the fact that it is going on. We all know that it is going on, in serious proportions. That's a given. This week I want to explore the things we don't know about it. I want to try to extrapolate from the things we do know (ie. that it is going on in serious proportions) to try and uncover some of the unknowns.

It seems that many people have spent a lot of time and energy trying to gather evidence to prove that it is going on. A lot of good, dedicated Labor people have spent a lot of their time trying to catch the branch stackers out. Their focus has been on exposing it. Many are still hopeful that if they expose it to the upper echelons of the ALP hierarchy in Victoria, the leadership will be shocked into action and will then do everything in its power to solve the problem. After all, the ALP’s rules prohibit branch stacking.

But I want to start from a fairly safe assumption, and that is that the upper echelons of the ALP hierarchy in Victoria know that it is going on and choose to do nothing about it. You can read some of my previous posts and make your own mind up about whether this is a safe assumption. Branch stacking appears to be rife in the safe Labor electorates and it is particularly bad in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne. There is no question that this practice is going on and that the ALP in Victoria allows it to go on.

The average punter doesn't know what branch stacking is and, therefore, doesn't comprehend the serious impact it can have on a community. In effect, the practice allows corrupt individuals to buy their way into parliament. But these corrupt individuals couldn't buy their way into parliament unless the organisation (in this case the ALP) itself was corrupt, because there are rules in place to prevent the practice. In the face of strong evidence that the practice is rife, the rules must be deliberately disregarded by the organisation for an individual to get into parliament on the back of a branch stacking racket.

So why is it happening? How does a relatively unknown Labor shonk come out of nowhere to run a branch stacking racket—which ultimately becomes a key factor in the subsequent election of the shonk to parliament—and get away with it?

There are a number of possible reasons for why these shonks are getting away with their branch stacking rackets. I have already disregarded the first possible reason, which is that those people who have the responsibility for managing the party and upholding its rules, don't know that it is going on. We know that those in power do know it is going on. Their own reports has told them that it is going on. So if they know it is going on (which they do), there has got to be a reason for why they allow it to continue. One possible reason for this is that they don't think it is that serious.

I know some people within the ALP think this way. But of course Labor's own rules indicate that branch stacking is serious and prescribes quite serious penalties for it (including expulsion, suspension, etc).

Branch stacking is serious and that's why the penalties are serious. Taken to its extreme, branch stacking would allow anyone who has the money to buy their way into pre-selection. Sure, pre-selection isn't just based on member votes. The ALP's Executive Committee also have a big say in who gets pre-selected (I believe their input accounts for ½ of the final outcome). But if you have stacked the numbers really well, you may only need a small amount of support from the Executive Committee to get up.

So if you happen to be a rich shonk, you can pay for people’s ALP membership and pay them to vote for you.

Taken to the extreme (as it has been taken in some electorates), pre-selection no longer has any basis in democracy. The process becomes a joke. And what about those stackers that do it really, really well, the ones that are so good at it (or just willing to put so much money into it) that they can buy off or introduce large numbers of "Labor members” into several electorates. They wield so much power that they can become the ALP’s factional leaders.

Branch stacking is serious and Labor’s leadership group knows it’s serious. So we can disregard this as a reason for why it is going on. Tomorrow we’ll explore another reason for why Labor allows branch stacking to go on.

Monday, September 25, 2006

 

Labor sells Telmo a seat in Parliament (61)

It's old news now, but it's still interesting and relevant today. In 1998, Channel 9's Sunday program ran a story called Labor Seats for Sale. That's where yesterday's quote comes from. The story covers Labor's branch stacking antics in general, but a fair portion of it relates to Victoria, and the Western Suburbs of Melbourne in particular.

I am only vaguely familiar with the story and the fallout that followed it, so I would be interested in any insights people have on this.

The transcript to this story is very interesting with regard to what it says about Telmo Languiller. He's been stacking branches since 1998. Labor has known about it and has done nothing about it.

This is what the Sunday reporter had to say about Telmo at the time:

...Telmo Languiller is an unknown imposed on the electorate by the right wing of the party. Languiller featured in an earlier report on Sunday in which he was accused of branch stacking. Disturbing questions were also raised about the conduct of the pre-selection ballot in which he won endorsement.

At the pre-selection people were intimidated, they had cards ripped out of their hands and were told how to vote.

Pre-selection for the seats that take in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne was a joke back then and it's still a joke today. John Cain's report from 2004 also implicated Telmo Languiller in serious branch stacking activities.

This is just further evidence that Labor has a love affair with the branch stackers and that Labor's branch stacking rules aren't worth the paper they are written on. The branch stacking operations that occur in the west are blatant and rampant.

No-one should make the mistake of thinking that this is something that Labor doesn't know about. The ALP in Victoria fully understand that this is going on and allows it to continue. Effectively, by allowing people like Telmo to run a branch stacking operation in the Western Suburbs - as Labor has done for Telmo since 1998 - they are selling Telmo a seat in parliament.

So what's the trade off? What did the ALP get for the sale? Has Telmo guaranteed a few other MPs the numbers in their elecorates as well? They must have got something.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

 

What Labor thinks of the Western Suburbs of Melbourne (62)

This is what a former Labor Minister said back in 1998:

"The Western Suburbs of Melbourne has been used as a dumping ground (by Labor) for a number of thugs. Little better than that, a number of thugs who make no impression on the Parliament."

Ian Baker, former Treasurer of Victoria (1998, on the Sunday program)

It's no different today of course. Labor treats its heartland in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne with complete contempt.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

 

Labor's branch stacking shonks (63)

The following quote from the ABC's (March 6) World Today radio broadcast relates to a story on branch stacking in Victoria. But the quote comes from former NSW Labor Minister, Rodney Cavalier:

"I think Rodney Cavalier in New South Wales has a wonderful test. He says that when you see people coming into a Labor Party preselection room, you must ask them two questions - where are you and what are you doing?"

You can read the entire trancript here: Labor shonks. It's just a further insight into where Labor is at in Victoria.

You really have to laugh at Rodney Cavalier's suggestion. Labor has allowed the party to sink so low that a lot of people turning up to vote in the pre-selections don't even know what they are doing there. The anwer you'd get from a lot of them is "I just have to tick this box because the guy on the bus (of course they've been bused in, otherwise they wouldn't be there) told me to, then he's taking us all for a nice lunch." They're there either because they've been paid to be there or because they've been coerced by Labor's so called "community leaders". We'd call them Labor shonks, but I guess that's just a difference of opinion we have with Labor.

Friday, September 22, 2006

 

Resist until the death: Labor's approach to corruption (64)

Labor continues to resist calls for an independent Crime and Misconduct Commission. They have one in New South Wales and they have one in Queensland. Why oh why can't we have one in Victoria?

The Age ran a great article on the need for a Commission of this type a few years back (How we must fight organised crime), which is still relevant today.
Victoria did set up the Office of Public Integrity, which investigates allegations of corruption in the police force, but this doesn't go far enough and has been criticised for being under-resourced.

In Queensland and NSW, these commissions have had a major impact on reducing corruption, not just within the police forces in the respective states, but in reducing corruption in all of the the public sector institutions that come under their jurisdiction.

I guess the difference in Victoria is that in both Queensland and NSW these commissions were set up following recommendations that resulted from far reaching inquiries into corruption in each State.

Victoria needs a similar inquiry. In many respects Victoria today is reminiscent of pre-Fitzgerald Queensland, and that is saying something. The Fitzgerald Inquiry in Queensland was a watershed for the State, so much so that people today regularly refer to life in Queensland pre and post Fitzgerald.

Why is it that Labor continues to resist calls for an independent commission of this type? What are they scared of?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

 

Police out of control under Bracks (65)

Yesterday's report on police corruption, which appeared on the front page of the Age, was no surprise to many who live in the West. With the previous Police Minister Andre Haermeyer leading the way, is it any wonder that the police force is in the state it is in?

We can only hope that the Age continues to expose these corrupt practices. Maybe if enough pressure is applied to the Bracks government, something will finally be done about the illegal gambling houses in Sunhsine. God knows the local police have been asked to do something about these places for many years, but for some reason they seem to be above the law.

I know a lot of people think it's all a bit of harmless card playing for money, which is true enough. But it's still against the law. The bigger concern is the additional illegal activity that occurs within and around these venues in Hampshire Road. These venues appear to be the hub of various illegal activities, including drug deals that occur on a daily basis, often in broad daylight.

Various thieves also take their stolen goods up to these illegal gambling venues to sell to the patrons (and owners). Again this is done quite blatantly, and shop assistants in the area are often accosted by these theives and asked if they would like to purchase various stolen items.

We know that the complaints to the local police about this (by the local shop keepers) have been next to useless. The illegal trade continues, often blatantly, day and night.

So the past experience of many in the West shows that going through the proper channels is unlikely to get you anywhere with the Bracks government. We can only hope that the media pressure continues and the government is shamed into doing something about the corruption.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

 

Labor's numbskulls in Brimbank (66)

Labor’s councillors in Brimbank have gone and embarrassed the ALP again. It's becoming a habit with this dysfunctional mob, a habit that just can't be broken because they have the full backing of a dysfunctional Minister for Local Government, Candy Broad. These imbeciles on Council also have very strong connections to Labor’s Federal MP, Brendan O’Connor, and Labor’s do-nothing State MPs, Telmo Languiller, George Seitz, and Andre Haermeyer.

Make no mistake, Labor’s MPs and these councillors have a symbiotic relationship; they’re inseparable. These councillors are a true reflection of the state of the Labor Party in Victoria, and the reflection is not a pretty one.

As you may have read in one of my previous posts, Brimbank’s councillors failed to support a motion, moved by a Greens councillor, condemning Howard’s industrial relations (WorkChoices) legislation.

It is a bizarre turn of events, to have Labor councillors in Brimbank, fully endorsed and supported by Labor MPs, refusing to condemn Howard’s IR laws. It’s been so embarrassing for Labor that Brendan O’Connor has had to write to the Council offering to “educate” these numbskulls on the ramifications of Howard’s IR laws.

The whole lot of them should have been sacked a long time ago, we all know that. What we have with these councillors is a bunch of carcasses swinging in the breeze, but Candy Broad refuses to step in and cut them down.

They really are an embarrassment and, with such strong connections to Labor MPs, a sad reflection of the state of the ALP in Victoria. The effect they are having on Beazley is comical. Beazley is pinning all his hopes of re-election—and it is his only hope—on Howard’s atrocious IR Laws; it’s all he has going for himself and the Labor Party at the Federal level. It is his golden opportunity to become Prime Minister, not because of great leadership ability, but because Howard has ballsed this up big time. It’s his only hope and he needs everyone in the Labor Party, at every level, to be united on this issue, otherwise it could all start unravelling.

Without the IR laws and a united Labor Party at all levels, Labor at the Federal level will be mince meat at the next election, as it has been for several previous elections.

O’Connor’s offer to “educate” the Councillors is code for “pull your heads in you idiots. Just because you’re all nongs, don’t taint us with your idiocy (we've already been tainted enough by our own)”. It wouldn’t surprise me if O’Connor’s so called "education" program was a directive from Beazley himself.

To top it off, the unions have now written to the Brimbank Council, demanding that they condemn the WorkChoices legislation. The Australian Services Union are terrified of this rabid mob of councillors, led by Mayor Natalie Suleyman. They’re terrified that this loose cannon will have all the Council’s employees on Australian Workplace Agreements if given half a chance.

They’ve got to cut these carcasses down, for Christ’s sake.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

 

Western suburbs neglect (67)

The main reason to put Labor last on your ballot slip at the coming election is Labor’s blatant neglect in the safe Labor electorates. The people who live in these electorates are used, abused and taken for granted by Labor.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

Of course, all safe seats experience some neglect. It goes with the territory. But Labor has taken neglect to new heights in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Labor has been dreadfully neglectful in the following areas:

The really surprising part is that the majority of people in these suburbs continue to vote Labor. However, if the recent council election results in Maribyrnong and Brimbank are anything to go by, maybe people are finally realising that Labor only rapes and pillages in the safe seats. Maribyrnong elected a number of Greens and independent councillors, so that for the first time ever, Labor does not have a majority. And Brimbank now has a Greens councillor for the first time ever. So maybe people are finally waking up to what Labor is really about today.

We can only hope.


Monday, September 18, 2006

 

Broken promises (68)

Bracks sure has broken a lot of promises. Check out this website for 288 reasons why you should put Labor last at the coming election: www.bracksbrokenpromises.com.au


Sunday, September 17, 2006

 

John Lenders and the Cairnlea Park debacle (69)

It’s obvious that Candy Broad has a lot answer for. She’s clearly biased in carrying out her duties as the Minister for Local Government. She’s quick to intervene in the affairs of Liberal dominated councils, as she did with the Glen Eira Council last year, but for Labor dominated Councils it’s a free for all.
She allowed Mayor Natalie Suleyman to get away with the deal of 10 lifetimes, for the benefit of a soccer club with strong connections to the Mayor’s family. Everything about this deal is wrong. The Cairnlea community don’t want it. And of course, no other sporting club had the opportunity to be considered for the Suleyman special funding arrangement. It was a special funding arrangement available only to the Allbion soccer club.
Other sporting clubs in the same municipality have to put up with abysmal sporting facilities and are now wondering if they should pay Natalie’s father or brother to join their committees. That seems to be the answer to getting funding in Brimbank. If you can't beat them you've got to join them, or get them to join your club!

But as hopeless as Candy Broad is, she’s not the only one that has a lot to answer for in this debacle. John Lenders is the other Labor Minister who was also a key player in the Cairnlea debacle. John Lenders’ portfolio includes Vic Urban and Vic Urban promised prospective (now actual) residents of Cairnlea a multi-use sporting facility at Cairnlea Park.

John Lenders is responsible for this broken promise to the Cairnlea residents. And why did he break his promise to the Cairnlea community? Was he doing a favour for Brimbank’s Mayor?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

 

Labor sticks it up the Cairnlea community (70)

Following on from yesterday's post; the dust settled after this issue blew up in the media and was raised in Parliament. Candy Broad, the Minister for Local Government, dug her heels in and refused to act. If the saying "actions speak louder than words" is true, then according to Candy, Suleyman can do what she likes.

There was a flurry of activity, an outraged community appealed to the Labor government to do something about the blatant rorting, but nothing was done. The government and the Brimbank Council kept bleeting on about the Juniors being a totally separate club to the Rovers, which, to any thinking person, was preposterous. The application to Council for the Juniors' relocation was on Rovers' letter-head. Just weeks prior to this issue blowing up, Mehmet Suleyman was listed as a contact for the juniors and seniors of the one club. They even listed his phone number (ie. if you have any queries regarding the Rovers or Juniors, phone Mehmet - who was on the committee of management of the one club)!

"Totally separate clubs", they insisted.

Of course, eventually the dust did settle and everything went quiet on this issue. The Cairnlea residents, who had fought a tireless battle, were spent. That's when Natalie struck a final cruel blow to the Cairnlea community. At a Council meeting in May this year, the councillors - led by Natalie - voted to move the Albion Rovers to Cairnlea park, to join the Juniors. And those who had fought for so long for something to be done about this issue could only observe this peculiar development with despair; the travesty of the situation: for in this decision to relocate the Rovers, hadn't the Council just acknowledged what they, and the the Labor Government, had adamantly denied for months? This was just further proof that the Albion Juniors and Rovers were clearly one and the same club, not totally separate entities as they had insisted.

The fact that the Rovers still have outstanding debts of $14,000 (which Melton Council has given up on trying to recover), did not even register as an issue when this decision was made. By this stage the community had understood loud and clear that the Labor government was going to let Natalie do what she wanted, regardless of how shonky it all was. So you didn't hear a peep out of the community when this final decision to relocate the Rovers was made; they had been beaten into submission. Just the way Labor likes it.

Natalie has won. The Cairnlea community lies defeated, just another Labor casualty. And of course, the Labor government has given Natalie the right to gloat about how she stuck it up the Cairnlea community for years.

To those connected with her family, Natalie has delivered the deal of a life time. Council and Government will tip in almost $1 Million dollars, to a disreputable club with strong connections to Natalie's family, to develop club rooms and soccer fields for the exclusive use of a club that has no connection whatsoever to the Cairnlea community.

Friday, September 15, 2006

 

The soccer rort develops nicely (71)

So, following on from yesterday's post, Brimbank's Mayor, Natalie Suleyman votes to move the soccer club without declaring a conflict of interest. Then a reporter sticks his nose in and all of a sudden everything starts blowing up in Natalie's face.

Mehmet Suleyman’s name disappears off the soccer club's committee of management register, within day’s of this story breaking in the media. Natalie is adamant that the Rovers and Juniors are totally separate clubs, despite the soccer club's president contradicting her in the local media. It really was a farce and Natalie's insistence that the club's were separate was an insult onany thinking person's intelligence.

It was clear that the Albion Rovers Soccer Club and the Albion Juniors Soccer Club were one and the same organisation. Everybody knew it and everybody still knows it. Only Candy Broad didn't want to believe the overwheming evidence.

A number of residents wrote to Candy Broad, requesting that something be done about this. After all, the Cairnlea community didn’t want the club. They were promised a multi-use facility, not a facility provided for the exclusive use of a soccer club that the community had no relationship with. It was a bizarre decision by the Brimbank Council and it was also a broken promise by Vic Urban.

Of course, Cairnlea residents were furious about this decision. How could the Mayor get away with this? "We’ll write to Candy Broad", they thought, and "surely she will correct this injustice".

So Candy Broad received a number of letters from concerned residents, who were hopeful that the Minister would intervene. After all, the rort was as obvious as the nose on Candy’s face. But she did nothing, absolutely nothing.

Candy Broad is an absolute disgrace. There was overwhelming evidence that this was a rort, plain and simple. But she chose to turn a blind eye to it.

So in their desperation, the community turned to the opposition – remember many of these community members have been long term Labor voters. They were shocked by Candy Broad’s inaction. Many began to speculate that maybe Candy was in on the scam. Or because Candy was part of Labor Unity, maybe the whole of Labor Unity was rotten. All the signs were there. What else could people conclude? It was such an obvious rort by Natalie Suleyman, for the benefit of a soccer club with a strong association with her family. How could Candy, the Minister for Local Government, do nothing???

So the community turned to John Vogels, the Shadow Minister for Local Government and to his credit, Vogels took up the cause and raised the matter in parliament, on two occasions. In fact, he was so disgusted by Suleyman’s blatant rort, that on one occasion he spoke for almost 20 minutes on this matter in parliament. No doubt, the Brimbank community are very appreciative of his efforts to help sort out this sordid mess. Increasingly, traditional Labor voters are giving up on Labor as they come to understand what this Party has become.

But Candy just dug her heels in, insisting that the Albion Juniors and Albion Seniors were separate clubs, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

It became quite a hysterical situation for those in the know, because they knew the “Juniors” was just a front for the Albion Rovers. Because the Rovers had such a disgraceful history and such a strong connection to the Suleymans, the club had to use trickery to build some distance between the Rovers and the Juniors in people’s minds. But the intention always was for the Juniors to get the approval (including funding by Council and Vic Urban) and then for the Rovers to follow, after all they are one and the same club.

Here’s the hysterical part. As this blew up in parliament and in the local media, Suleyman had to strongly insist over and over that the two clubs were separate. Meanwhile the Rovers were becoming furious with the Suleymans – their deal with the Suleymans was for both the Rovers and the Juniors to move, but now that it was a political hot potato, it started to look very difficult for the Rovers to relocate with the Juniors. Because if they did, everyone would know that the separation between the clubs was just a scam.

Candy Broad continued to do nothing. The dust settled after a few months. The community was worn down – all their efforts had been unsuccessful. Despite their letters to Candy and the assistance of John Vogels, Candy resisted all attempts to do anything about this rort. She was a real Labor Unity trooper throughout all this. She weathered the storm, and secured Natalie’s family their nice little soccer club.

And the best part to this whole cruel joke? After the dust had settled, what do you think Natalie did? Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

 

Labor dominated Brimbank Council screws the community (72)

Yesterday, I gave you some initial insights into the decision to relocate the Albion Rovers soccer club to Cairnlea Park. Today I continue down this path of intrigue.

The Albion Rovers’ history is not pretty. Given the club's appalling history, even the Brimbank CEO didn’t want to support the club's request for relocation to a permanent site in Brimbank. In a memorandum from the Chief Executive Officer, Marilyn Duncan, to Councillor Natalie Suleyman (dated 23 September 2003), Ms Duncan clearly outlines her reluctance to support the Albion Rovers Soccer Club’s request for relocation. The request came from the Albion Rovers, on Albion Rovers letterhead, but the request was for the relocation of the Albion Juniors, which adds a strange little twist to this tale.

Marilyn's memo had a report attached, providing justification for why the Council should not support the Albion Rovers application for relocation. There are two things that stand out in this report. The first is the dreadful history of the Albion Rovers Soccer Club—whatever name it has been known by. The Council’s own assessment of this club is that it was a “bad tenant”, and that it owed money to the Brimbank City Council for outstanding debts relating to the club’s previous use of Selwyn Park.

The report also indicates that Melton Council had written off a debt of $14,000 as a result of its tenancy arrangements with the Albion Rovers Soccer club.

The second thing that is notable in the report is that the Albion Rovers Soccer club has a history of changing its name, not unlike a phoenix company (you know the ones; they do something dodgy, then fold, only to rise again as a new company, but with all of the same dodgy directors). And, interestingly, Council officers were very concerned about this.

The report states:
Recent correspondence from the club is on Albion Rovers Soccer Club letterhead and the Victorian Soccer Federation website’s 2003 details for the Junior Soccer Club list the same secretary and mailing address as for the Albion Rovers Soccer Club but different Presidents and Liaison Officers.

The report goes on to say:
There is a need to identify whether the Albion Rovers Soccer Club and the Albion Rovers Junior Soccer Club are in fact two different bodies wanting to remain separate or if they are effectively one and seeking a new home for the whole club or one seeking a new home for its junior activities only.

What appears to have happened is that the Albion Rovers, knowing that they had a bad reputation, tried to make out that the Albion Juniors was a separate entity. This was something that council officers themselves clearly didn’t believe, as they questioned the legitimacy of the separation between the Juniors and Seniors.

Marilyn Duncan herself expressed concern regarding this matter. But later she changed her tune, but there is no clear reason as to why this happened. Maybe Natalie had a few words to her…..

Anyway, Natalie voted, along with other Councillors, to move the Albion Junior Soccer Club to Cairnlea Park. And this vote also included a commitment of $650,000 to redevelop the Park, with new soccer fields and club rooms. Of course, at the time of the vote, she didn’t mention the fact that her brother was on the committee of management for the Rovers. And the Rovers openly acknowledged that the Juniors and Rovers were one and the same club.

When the pressure hit Council about this issue, after a nosey reporter started asking questions about this, Natalie dug her heels in and swore black and blue that the Rovers and Juniors were separate clubs.

But why was the club itself claiming that both the Albion Juniors and Rovers were one and the same club?

Of course, it was in Natalie's interest to claim that the clubs were separate, because if they were one and the same (which they actually were, and continue to be), you'd have to question why a Council was bending over backwards to provide them with such a lucrative relocation deal. After all, wasn't this a club that still owed $14,000 to a sister Council?

More about this tomorrow. Tomorrow, you can find out how the Cairnlea community, in Labor's heartland, had to turn to the Opposition for assistance with this. There was no way Labor was going to do anything about this. Complaining to Candy Broad, the Minister for Local Government, was a futile exercise, something the Cairnlea community understands only too well now.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

 

Labor's favour to the Albion Rovers (73)

The move of the Albion Rovers Soccer to Cairnlea Park is a fine example of the injustice perpetrated on Labor’s heartland by a Party driven by self interest.

Cairnlea is a new suburb (near St.Albans) that has been developed by Vic Urban, and Cairnlea Park sits within this new suburb. When residents bought into the area they were conned by Vic Urban’s promises that the park would be developed into a “multi-use sporting complex”. The Vic Urban promise would have been factored into their decision making process when they bought into the area. The promise of a multi-use sporting facility would have been a nice bonus to buying into this new suburb.

Unfortunately, the new residents would have known little about the deal making that Labor was doing behind the scenes.

So what about the Albion Rovers, the other part of this equation? The Albion Rovers have a disgraceful track record. For example, information obtained through an FOI request shows that the club had a lease arrangement with Melton Council in the late 1990s. This lease was terminated when the club decided to relocate back into Brimbank. Melton Council had to write off an outstanding debt by the club for thousands of dollars. In addition, Melton Council had spent more than $400,000 developing the ground at Melton, an investment they made to accommodate the Albion Rovers as a long-term tenant.

Of course, the Melton Council was not to know that the Suleymans were intricately involved in the soccer club, and also intricately involved with the Brimbank Council. The Suleymans wanted the Rovers back in Brimbank. And what they want, they usually get, with the full backing of the State government, it would seem.

So how are the Suleymans involved with the Albion Rovers Soccer club? The Suleymans have tried to distance themselves from the club now, but Hakki Suleyman was previously the Public Officer of the club, and Mehmet Suleyman (Hakki’s son) was also a Committee of Management member of the club. Mehmet was removed as a Committee of Management member when this issue blew up in the local media. The Suleymans clearly have a strong association with this club.

The Suleymans are are intricately involved with the ALP in Victoria. Hakki Suleyman works for Justin Madden. Natalie Suleyman, when she is not being the Mayor of Brimbank, works for Andre Haermeyer. And Mehmet Suleyman also works for Labor MPs. The Suleymans are also intricately involved with the Brimbank City Council (for example, it’s common for Hakki to coach Natalie from the public gallery during council meetings), and they are intricately involved with the Albion Rovers Soccer club.

When the Cairnlea community became aware of the proposal to move the Albion Rovers to Cairnlea Park, they rallied and obtained more than 700 signatures from Cairnlea residents, objecting to the move. That’s a lot of signatures for a small community in a new suburb. But the petition was next to useless. The Suleymans had decided what was going to happen and nothing was going to stop them. With the full backing of the Labor government, including Candy Broad and John Lenders, they could get away with murder. And they did.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you more about this, including the public money involved in helping the Suleymans get what they wanted.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

 

The Community Destroyer visits Sunshine (74)

The Community Destroyer, Bruce Mildenhall (the current MLA for Footscray) visited Sunshine last Saturday morning for a number of pre-booked meetings with residents at Cafe 0ne24. His replacement for the seat of Footscray, Marsha Thomson, tagged along with him.

The Destroyer sent out letters to residents a couple of weeks prior to these cafe confrontations and invited them to book in for a chat over a cafe latte. Most of the residents who wanted to speak to Bruce couldn't get a meeting, as all the available timeslots were taken up in no time flat by residents who were desperate to give the Destoyer a piece of their mind.

Apparently, the Destroyer listened to resident after resident telling him what they thought about the dreadful state of public transport, pokie machines, and of course, the sorry state of the Sunshine Pool, with water space set to be halved under Bruce's leadership.

Bruce started the meetings with all smiles, but after copping this barrage, apparently, he looked noticeably unnerved by the end of all these meetings. And apparently, Marsha sat there the whole time bearing a close resemblance to a mullet that has been stunned by a whack over the head. The look on her face said it all. It was like, "what the F$%^ck have you done to these people, Bruce?"

It wouldn't surprise me if, after hearing the horror stories, Marsha wanted to scream out at Bruce herself, "you are a Community Destroyer! What sort of god damned legacy are you leaving me with, man."

Of course, Bruce doesn't care. He's done the job Labor asked him to do and that's all that matters to him. They told him to keep the community at bay, while Labor went and spent the money on the marginals. On that account he can be proud. He's done a sterling job. Now he can jump off the sinking ship knowing that someone else will have to clean up his trail of destruction.

Monday, September 11, 2006

 

What a Broad (75)

Of course, Municipal Councils throughout Victoria could not get away with the shenanigans they are getting away with if they didn't have a broad like Candy to support them. That is, unless the Municipal Council is dominated by Liberals.

The Liberal dominated Glen Eira Council was sacked last year, just months prior to the Council election. All the Councillors were removed from their positions following an investigation into their inappropriate phone usage.

But if you are a Councillor in a Labor dominated Council, you can sleep easy. Candy Broad, the Minister for Local Government, has set the bar far higher for Labor dominated Councils. Phone discrepancies in Liberal dominated Councils can bring the whole house down, but not so in a Labor dominated Council.

We all know that Mayor Natalie Suleyman of the Brimbank Council has been getting away with whatever she wants to get away with, with the full blessing of this broad. Candy must be sick of the letters she receives from the Brimbank community, because she gets plenty. There are the ones she gets about Natalie's extroardinarily high mobile phone bills (the highest of all Councillors in Victoria). No need for an investigation into this, according to Candy.

Then there's the regular letters she gets about Natalie doing a deal for a soccer club associated with her (Natalie's) father and brother. This was a real Suleyman special. Natalie voted to move the Albion Rovers to Cairnlea Park, with the Council agreeing to tip in more than $650,000 for the development of new club rooms and soccer grounds. Natalie's brother Mehmet was on the Committee of Management of this soccer club when the vote was taken, but of course, she did not declare a conflict of interest. And Natalie's father used to be a Public Officer of the same club, some years back. But it's all good according to Candy.

Then of course, there's the Council owned property in Biggs Street, St.Albans, which was used rent free for 4 years by an association linked to Natalie's father. The circumstances are all very peculiar, but again, it's all good according to Candy.

The Brimbank Councillors must love this broad. She really is something. She'll go to great lengths to protect her mates.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

 

Disadvantaged communities forced to unite against Labor (76)

It would seem that disadvantaged communities are beginning to unite together to fight Labor's blatant discrimination against them. They have no choice.

For example, Footscray, Sunshine, and Oakleigh are joining forces to fight the blatant discrimination that occurs in Labor's heartland. These communities have joined forces to form the Melbourne Pools Alliance. They could just as easily have formed an alliance to do something about the atrocious situation with Pokie machines, or public transport in their communities.

Why is it that Labor is so hell bent on closing community pools in disadvantaged areas? Where's the logic? As previously reported, Footscray's pool was closed down and sold, using the combined forces of a Labor dominated Council, and Bruce Mildenhall's failure to properly represent the community he was elected to represent. Of course, in Sunshine there's a similar story. Using the combined forces of a Labor dominated Council, and Bruce Mildenhall's failure to properly represent the community, Sunshine has been fighting a losing battle. Labor is giving this community no hope of ever replacing the water space it has lost. Labor has made a choice to downgrade the aquatic facilities in this community to a wading pool, which will amount to less than 1/2 the water space the community lost 14 years ago. That's when the outdoor 5o metre pool was closed, with promises by a Labor Council and Government that it would be fixed and re-opened.

And Oakleigh, another Labor stonghold is fighting a Labor dominated Council and the Labor government, to stop them closing down their outdoor pool complex, forever. They're currently going through the shock and disbelief stage in Oakleigh, as they come to grips with Labor's community pool destruction program, specially designed for disadvantaged communities; a real Labor special.

Labor has forced the hand of these communities. Labor wants to give them nothing. That's obvious. They want to continue their practice of spending the money in the marginals. That's obvious, too.

It's only by fighting harder than they've ever had to fight before, against Labor's tacit discrimination policy, that these communities will get the services and facilities that other communities take for granted. That's also obvious.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

 

Rumours are rife that George Seitz will go (77)

Apparently, rumours are rife throughout the Labor Party that George Seitz will be dumped in the next few weeks. If this happens, it will not happen because of Labor's abhorrence for branch stackers; we know the dominant Labor Unity faction loves them. If it happens, it will happen because Labor is dragged kicking and screaming to find a solution to all the unrest within the Party over this issue.

They will hate doing it, with a passion, because they love branch stackers, with a passion. But if they have to do it, they'll do it, in the interests of protecting all other branch stackers. They'll sacrifice one for the good of the others. Bracks and Shorten will probably have a bit of a cry together and console each other after the decision's been made. Shorten will say, "oh well, we had to sacrifice one of our own, for the good of the Party". And Bracks will reply, " yes, it's very sad, but at least we've still got Telmo. He'll just have to step up to the plate."

Seitz should have been dumped years ago. Everybody knows that. To dump him because of internal pressure, rather than because it is the right thing to do (and has been for many years) will only serve to confirm what a basket case this Party now is.

This is just another reason to put Labor last.

Friday, September 08, 2006

 

Labor Council gets away with murder (78)

Brimbank City Council is at it again. This time, as reported on the front page of the Brimbank Leader (5 September 2006), Council employees have racked up $90,000 in credit card bills for the month of July.

In most responsible organisations, credit cards are only provided to a select few managers and employees. But we all know this Council does things differently; every man, woman and their dogs have credit cards in this organisation. Brimbank provides its employees with 84 of these credit cards, and my god, don't they like to use them!

They're having a wonderful time going to aerobics, the movies, buying fast food, flowers, and of course, plenty of grog.

This Council is an absolute disgrace and certainly provides a compelling argument for the re-introduction of commissioners.

Of course, as par for the course, the community will write letters to Bracks, to Candy Broad (the Minister for Local Government), and the local do-nothing MPs. They always do. And what will be done? You know the answer, nothing of course.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

 

Christmas comes early for Seitz, very early (79)

George Seitz, the Member for Keilor is getting in early for Christmas, very early!

In an undated letter Seitz sent out to his constituents, which was received by some people on 5 September, almost 4 months prior to Christmas, Seitz states:

"As the festive season approaches and 2006 comes to an end, Elenor and I wish you and your family a happy Christmas and all the best for 2007."

Maybe Seitz is celebrating Christmas 4 months early because he can't believe his luck. Despite all the publicity he's received about his branch stacking racket, he's escaped unscathed and will once again contest the coming election as the ALP endorsed candidate for the seat of Keilor.

Of course it helps to have friends like Bill Shorten, who chaired the meeting of the administrative committee, which decided to exempt Seitz from Labor's rule that requires MPS to retire at 65. This rule would have prevented Seitz from contesting the coming election, but he's been looked after nicely by his mates, Billy Shorten and Steve Bracks.

No wonder he's celebrating early. He gets away with the biggest branch stacking racket in Victoria, details of which were plastered all over the front page of the Age in May. And he gets an exemption from Labor's rules, which would have prevented him from contesting the coming election.

Merry Christmas Seitzy.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

 

Why is everybody up in arms about Melbourne 2030? (80)

In the last post we discussed the Labor government's Melbourne 2030 policy; today we continue this theme.

The Labor government explains that Activity Centres will be "linked by an improved and expanded public transport network".

In many of the Principal Activity Centres throughout Melbourne, communities are having a major problem preventing high-rise developments, as these developments are being approved under the guise of Melbourne 2030. When planning approvals are opposed at the Council level, developers are applying to VCAT and in many instances VCAT is approving the developments, in the interest of Melbourne 2030.

In effect, Melbourne 2030 is a green light for developers to build high-rise residential towers in the Activity Centres. Basically, for the developers, it's a free for all. They're loving it! Local Council's might do everything they can to prevent the developments, only to have their decisions overturned by VCAT.

So the developers are getting these controversial approvals through VCAT now. Today. It's been happening for a long time now, ever since the introduction of Melbourne 2030 about 3 years ago.

In many of the communities where these developments are being proposed they are highly controversial, because in many instances the communities don't want them. And it's not uncommon for Councils to oppose the developments, consistent with the community sentiment. But the developers are getting their approvals through anyway, through VCAT.

From VCAT's perspective, their decisions have to be consistent with the policies and legislation of the government of the day. And right now, Melbourne 2030 is one of the government's major policy initiatives. So in Victoria the legislative framework is supporting the development of residential high-rises, high density living, approvals for 2nd houses on small house blocks, etc, all in the interest of achieving the Melbourne 2030 objectives.

As I said, this is happening now. Today. But where's the public transport infrastructure to support the high-density living? That's not there now. In many cases, the plans for public transport insfrastructure to support all this growth are vague or non-existent.

The Sydenham train line is a good case in point, as it winds its way through a number of these Activity Centres. This line is at bursting point, now. Today. And apart from 2 additional train services in the short-term, any upgrade to this line is planned for the long term. In fact, it's so long term that, with this government's track record, many wonder if it will happen at all.

So what's the story? Why's the government allowing all these highrises to be built in our suburbs, without adequate infrastructure? Why is the government allowing all these additional people to be crowded into these centres, when the infrastructure has not been developed to support them?

Is it any wonder that people across Melbourne see red when they hear the term "Melbourne 2030"? They've had enough time to digest what Melbourne 2030 is really about.

Let's be fair! If you're going to screw us by taking away our rights to veto all this development in our neighbourhoods, at least give us the other part of the equation. Give us the infrastructure to go with the development. It's only fair, isn't it?

Where is the fairness in the way Melbourne 2030 is being applied currently?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

 

Melbourne 2030: Just another Labor recipe for disaster (81)

Is it any wonder that the Labor government has created another policy debacle with its Melbourne 2030 plan? As has become the norm with Labor, their spin on this is so different from reality, you have to engage in some serious “spin decoding” to understand what they’re really trying to achieve with this.

On their Melbourne 2030 website, the Labor government states that “In the next 30 years, Melbourne will grow by up to one million people and will consolidate its reputation as one of the most liveable.” Fair enough. So what to do?

According to the Labor government:

Melbourne 2030 is a plan for the growth and development of the metropolitan area. An important objective is to ensure that Melbourne retains the qualities that people enjoy about it. Despite a slowdown in population growth, Melbourne will grow substantially over the next 30 years. It is appropriate to plan for the capacity to comfortably absorb up to 620,000 extra households over that time while protecting and enhancing our existing suburbs.

So what’s the answer?

A whole lot of Principal Activity Centres and regular Activity Centres have been targeted to become high-density accommodation zones throughout Melbourne. Basically what this means is a lot more highrise living throughout Melbourne.

It’s clear that the green space in Melbourne will be reduced under this plan. Much more of the currently available land in Melbourne will be taken up by buildings (a process known as "in-fill"). For example, two houses on fair sized backyards, with trees, etc., might be torn down to make way for apartments, with the majority of the previous green space being taken up by buildings, concrete driveways, and pathways (ie. much reduced green space). Multiply this affect across Melbourne and imagine the sort of city it will create: progressively less green space, less trees, less open spaces, less parkland.

And there is growing evidence that VCAT believes it has a mandate (as a consequence of Melbourne 2030) to approve high density building developments in Activity Centres. There are plenty of examples of building developments being opposed by local Councils, which are then overturned by VCAT, based on its Melbourne 2030 mandate.

But the really sad part, the part that is lost in all of Labor’s “spin”, is that Labor’s plans for these “Activity Centres” contain no concrete commitments for improved government facilities, services, and infrastructure, to cope with all the extra people living in these Activity Centres.

The approvals for highrise accommodation are very concrete. Communities can’t stop this. Their attempts are overturned by VCAT. Communities throughout Melbourne are experiencing these “Melbourne 2030” affects on a weekly basis. The affects are very real, and very concrete. We feel them in our communities. We read about Council decisions being overturned by VCAT all the time. Highrise approvals in the suburbs are being approved all the time, and no-one can stop them. It’s all part of Labor’s grand 2030 plan.

So this part of 2030 is very clear. We all know that highrises are coming to our neighbourhoods, soon. So that’s clear and concrete and we can’t stop it. The Labor government has made that clear.

But ask the government about what it plans in terms of infrastructure to support all of these additional people, all these extra people living in the highrises in our suburbs. It’s quite a contrast. In comparison to Labor’s concrete plans for more and more highrises in the suburbs, Labor’s plans for the infrastructure to support all these extra people is vague, and uncertain at best. Nailing them down on what they’re going to do to support all these extra people is like nailing jelly to the wall. Try and get some concrete information about the additional money Labor is going to put into recreation, public transport, health, and education, to go with all their lovely highrises, and see how far you’ll get. You’ll get nowhere. Because Melbourne 2030 is truly a farce; it’s just another Labor government farce.

Their wonderfully colourful documents on Melbourne 2030 (you know the ones, the standard Labor government spin) have been designed to placate the Victorian community. Minus the spin, they mean: highrises coming to a neighbourhood near you; more and more people; less and less services.

Melbourne 2030: just another Labor recipe for disaster.

Monday, September 04, 2006

 

Labor's accusations (82)

A number of Labor MPs, such as Noel Pullen the Victorian MP for the upper house seat of Higginbotham, have been emailing Put Labor Last, accusing us of peddling lies and bull dust.

People like Noel Pullen are part of the problem. They stick their heads in the sand while their Party collapses around them. Branch stacking is going on in serious proportions within the Labor Party. People like Noel Pullen can stick their heads in the sand and pretend it is not going on, but it is.

You're a parasite, Noel. Labor's rules prohibit branch stacking and prescribe serious penalties for those who engage in it. But the practice is rife and everybody knows it. Labor conveniently ignores the problem. People like you are only adding to the destruction of the Party by sticking your head in the sand and attacking those that would seek to have something done about the problem. You are a disgrace.

Why are all you MPs strangely silent about the major branch stacking problem that Labor has? Don't be a parasite, Noel. Fight to change the rules and allow branch stacking as a legitimate practice. Or, fight to stamp out the problem. Don't stand on the sidelines and attack anyone who tries to do something about the problem, you parasite. Are you benefiting from branch stacking, Noel? Is that why you've been strangely silent about it?

Branch stacking is going on in serious proportions. John Cain has highlighted this as a major problem and people like you stick your head in the sand about it. Why do you side with the branch stackers? If you like the practice so much and think there is nothing wrong with it, tell us. Campaign to change the rules. Don't attack people like us who are trying to clean the Party up.

Not only did John Cain say it, the Administrative Committee has also presented some damning findings on branch stacking in Victoria. And of course, Craig Otte has revealed some home truths about it as well. It's strange how the story coming out is so consistent, yet you think it's all bull dust. It's all true Noel. It's not bull dust. And nothing is being done about it. That's true too, Noel, and you know it.

The situation at the Furlong Road crossing is also true. It's a Labor Party disgrace.

The so called "Labor" Councillors in Brimbank that refused to condemn Howard's IR laws, even when given a second chance, is also true and real. And their strong connections with Victorian MPs is also true. That's not bull dust either. Who the hell knows what the ALP really stands for anymore, Noel?

For Christ's sake, Noel. We have to rely on Baillieu, the toff from Toorak to advocate for cuts to pokie machines in Victoria. Labor refuses to cut Pokie machines even though they're destroying our communities. That's true too. What the hell is going on with this topsy turvy Party, Noel?!

Instead of standing on the sidelines attacking people for telling some home truths about Labor, why don't you stand up and be counted, Noel, you parasite?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

 

Newsflash: Labor to change its rules to allow branch stacking (83)

Sorry, I’m only joking! It’s not true. It’s just a joke, just like the Victorian ALP's rules which prohibit branch stacking and prescribe severe penalties for those who engage in it. In fact, the entire Victorian ALP is a joke, a cruel joke.

It really is farcical because we know no-one complies with the ALP's rules. Branch stacking is rife in Victoria's ALP and the Party has no desire to fix the problem, that's clear.

Unfortunately, the joke’s on us. Despite repeated efforts from within the Party and from outside the Party, the ALP vigorously resists every attempt to fix this problem. Obviously, too many of the current Labor MPs have benefited from the practice.

Fine. So why not change the rules to allow branch stacking? Let's legitimise the current situation by changing the rules to reflect what (almost) everybody in the ALP wants anyway: a free for all on branch stacking. It's happening anyway. It's embraced at every level within the ALP, so what's the difference? Change the rules to reflect the desire of the Party and current reality.

You know it makes sense.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

 

The Toff and Footscray pool (84)

While Labor is advocating for the closure of pools, especially in its heartland, again, it’s been the Toff from Toorak who has been advocating to save community pools. Why do disadvantaged communities have to rely on the Libs to advocate on their behalf now? What the hell is going on in the ALP?

Baillieu attended a Save Footscray Pool rally a number of years ago. He was fighting alongside the Footscray community to save the pool from closure. Why is it that traditional Labor voters now have to rely on the Toff to advocate on their behalf? Meanwhile, Labor MPs like Mildenhall continue to wage their war against communities they are meant to represent, by fighting all attempts to save the pool.

Why is it that Labor’s out closing pools down in disadvantaged communities, like Footscray and Sunshine (with thanks to destructive MPs like Mildenhall)? Meanwhile, disadvantaged communities are having to rely on the likes of Baillieu to advocate on their behalf.

What the hell has happened to Labor?

 

The Toff from Toorak fighting for disdvantaged communities (85)

It's ironic, isn't it? The so called people's Party, "Labor", a traditional advocate for the disadvantaged, is now addicted to pokie revenue, which largely comes from the most disadvantaged people in our communities, thereby creating further disadvantage.

Disadvantaged communities are suffering terribly from the devastating effects of pokie machines. The Labor Government skirts around the edges, pretending to be responsible, by spending a tiny fraction of its pokie revenue on a "responsible gambling" advertising campaign. Meanwhile our most disadvantaged communities continue to suffer from the effects of pokies. Labor refuses to do anything about this glaring social problem.

Strangely, it's the Liberals who are now advocating to cut pokie machine numbers, which are disproportionately located in disdadvantaged communities, in Labor's heartland. The Toff from Toorak, of all people, is now advocating for those in Labor's heartland! There's nothing in it for him in the safe Labor seats where all the problem gambling occurs, but he's doing it anyway.

Labor's created such a gaping whole in the heartland it has deserted. There are no policies to fix the problem; instead there's plenty of neglect and plenty of money going from the pockets of the disadvantaged into Labor's coffers. So it hasn't been hard for the Toff from Toorak to come in and fill the gaping whole left by Labor. He doesn't have to do much, but the little he does is a stark contrast to Labor's nothing.

It really is a bizarre turn of events. The Toff from Toorak is now advocating for the disadvantaged, while Labor continues to rape and pillage in the safe Labor seats.

Friday, September 01, 2006

 

Defections to grow (86)

Labor will continue to experience defections, particularly in its heartland. The ALP in Victoria is a basket case.

Increasingly people are realising that the Labor Party has morphed into something grotesque. It no longer represents what it used to represent. It is no longer the people's party.

The ALP in Victoria is trading on its historically good name. People will keep voting Labor only as long as this goodwill holds out. The irony is, the goodwill was not created by those running the party now. All they are doing is eroding it. They're parasites, surviving on the goodwill created by others. By the time they've finished sucking the life out of the party all that will be left is a corpse.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?