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Peter Adamis 26 June 2014.    The following articles are but a roundup of online media reports that continually spew out their points of view and trying to keep a story alive by attacking and displaying information on the BaillieuGate leaked tape by it is now believed to be rogue Liberal party members.
A complete copy of the article may be downloaded by clicking on: BAILLIEUGATE3

Surprise surprise, we all say, but why the surprise when it is well known that the current leadership and management of the party has alienated much of the Liberal party grass roots. A perfect example is at the last state Council election  where on one two thirds of the delegates did not attended. They decided it was best to remain at home rather than waste their time when their voices would not be heard but was only a platform for politicians to rub shoulders with the ‘mere mortals’ they are supposed to represent.  This in itself is not a good thing and many of those that did attend did so in order to see that the system operates in democratic and impartial manner. 

As one who attended, it was disappointing to see less debate, selective topics being aired and others being dismissed for one reason or another.  Many left disappointed while others were enlighten by the strong messages sent by Tony Snell of being united in order to return a Denis Napthine government and this was certainly the right thing to do under the circumstances. Denis Napthine spoke about the Liberal Party priding itself on selecting local community candidates at preselections to represent their electorates.

On reflection and in  light of the Mary Woolridge/Tim Smith Battle for Kew, The Northern Metro preselection sham battle between Mathew Guy and Ted Baillieu, The ‘Pyrrhus’ Yan Yean battle where Frank Greenstein’s protégé was selected over a local candidate are but some of the bungled preselections based on numbers and not merit of local candidates being selected.  This in effect means that candidates have been selected not to win the electorate but rather to lose it by having been handed a poison chalice that is full to the brim with seductive promises.   

Many of these young hopefuls have been privately counselled and supported to ensure that they are not taken in by promises that cannot be kept or sustained. However despite all the good intentions the allures of political promises are far too seductive to refuse.  All of these nefarious preselections only went to eroding the inspiring messages of Tony Snell and Denis Napthine and leaving a sour  and bitter after taste to many long time Liberals. Suffice to say, many have indicated that their were reconsidering the membership at the next State election.

One hopes that this will not be the case and that Denis Napthine is able to bring about a political miracle, one that addresses the rot within the parliamentary wing. While Tony Snell the current President finds the courage to make the appropriate decisions to quell, calm or make comprises with grass root members and obtain their support for a Liberal party victory.

Another myth that needs to be exposed is that of “never run against a sitting member”.  What a complete facade, lie and joke on all new members and those who don’t understand the party structure well enough to understand that it is all abased on fear, intimidation and harassment. One excellent example is where one Upper sitting member attempted to put the fear of God, was called being disloyal, creating disunity and creating problems for the party.  

All these accusations and intimidation were designed to deter the long time member from contesting a vacancy in his electorate. However the long time Liberal and his team had decided that enough was enough and that the electorate was not going to be taken for granted or that a candidate who did not deserve to be representing the electorate was selected. It just so happened that there was vacancy which had come about due a change in circumstances and the position was open to all and there was no running against any local member.

What is so ironic about all of this is that this very same upper house member was instrumental in being behind the scenes to remove a sitting Victorian Senator some years ago and replacing them with one of their own. This caused much embarrassment, humiliation and unrest within the Liberal Party that it almost brought it apart at the seams. Suffice to say cooler heads prevailed and the matter was dropped but never forgotten. If we are to use history as a guide to all of this we only need to be reminded when Bill Forward stood against sitting member, John Miles in Templestowe province, Nicholas Kotsiras against David Perrin in Bulleen, Carlo Furletti against Bruce Skeggs in Templestowe province are but some examples to indicate the fallacy and myth of not standing against a sitting member. 

Constitutional amendments, red tape regulations, procedures and practices are also another myth needs to be exposed. There are so many examples within the current constitution that go towards supporting an elite group within the parliamentary wing comprising a of a small group of individuals who are ‘feel’ that they and they alone are the only ones in a position to dictate policy and who should be selected for a seat to representative of an electorate, If one of the many candidates considering a challenge or seeking preselection is not of their choosing, this same group of parliamentarians would pool their resources inn order to scuttle or reduce a members chances of ever coming close to be selected. There are many examples of this and yet new members are not aware or prefer to disbelieve that such practices occur.

There have been candidates in the past who have performed brilliantly but failed to be selected, because either they were not known, had not worked within the party, were new members, were enticed to stand not knowing that had no chance and/or were promised a political return.  There was a  time where a candidate who stood against Russell Broadbent some years ago and spoke brilliantly may I say (one of the best speeches I have heard even to this day).

This member answered all of the questions at the round tables in the correct manner, presented and dressed well, had the life experiences on the board, was an affable and compassionate person, but failed to win preselection. Why one may well ask, it’s because all the numbers were stacked against him. This a lesson that did not go unnoticed. The good news is that this same member has gone onto to become an influential member within the party structure. All that the author can say is that they missed out on a excellent candidate.

John Roskam was another member that stood for a seat and  failed to achieve his objectives but it was not for the want of trying. John Roskam was one of those rare individuals that you could meet in the street and take an instant liking to. John was not only brilliant at this particular preselection but highly thought of in political and academic circles that should have got him over the line. John unfortunately came close based on his performance and his due diligence to lobbying delegates, but again it was not enough and in the end he was defeated. Another loss and political opportunity to the Liberal party at a time when they could not afford to waste.

Another monumental blunder which cost a high profile candidate his seat was carried out either on purpose or by misadventure was when the secretariat in its wisdom sent out the wrong ‘How to vote cards’ a few days prior to the date of the Federal election and bingo, the result was that the member lost the seat by an extremely small margin that his defeat could be attributed directly to the Secretariat. this member took it in good grace and did not lash out but went on with his life to a successful law carerer.

One could say that the conduct of the Liberal party preselection is a fair system if it is based solely on performance, ability to win over sufficient delegates as well as being a local , but unfortunately the system has been hijacked by recalcitrant members seeking political returns and favours and not about selecting the best candidate for the electorate. This system require a thorough review and overhaul to return it to its former credibility and status.

One way of overcoming all of these blunders and righting the wrongs of the past is to allow new blood into the ranks of the hierarchy and at all levels of office bearers and provide them with realistic goals and objectives that are achievable and that they all acknowledged for their volunteer work. (By new blood, I mean a generational changed sprinkled with the wisdom of party elders who can act as mentors.)

These positions should not be based on friendships, alliances, allegiances, perceived elite status, the right school tie so to speak or to the length of time that a member has been in the party.   It should all be based on merit, competency, credibility, commitment and the ability to follow through with projects. Remember no matter what academics may say, leaders are never born but they are developed according to their environment and circumstances.

Leaders within the party that lack credibility should be weeded out and replaced by competent men and women who are capable of carrying their assigned roles. Suffice to say, the Secretariat did not follow up their err ors or even own up to the fact that they were at the centre of the defeat of a seat that was in the bag so to speak. Still like all loyal members they move on but they never forget.

All of the above  re but mere symptoms of what is currently ailing the Liberal party and t is in the opinion of this author that there are members waiting in the parliamentary and hierarchy wings for the fall of the Denis Napthine government. There are members who profess intense loyalty and yet conspire behind the throne to topple the leader. These members and their sycophant collaborators are extremely clever at hiding their tracks and only time will tell once that battles have been fought.

The leaking of the Ted Baillieu tape is but one devious method to effective reduce or destroy another members capacity of ever gaining the leadership mantle of responsibility.  The removal of Ted Baillieu only leaves two possible contenders that may be considered suitable, that is Matthew Guy and Michae O’Brien, both of who are not ready to take on the responsibility until after the State election.  You have to give credit where its due and that credit must go to Denis Napthine who is currently doing a sterling job in maintaining the status quo and focusing on winning the next State election.

The other member that should be given the credit is Damien Mantach whose job is being made harder by these side shows that have deflected him from his core responsibility and that of winning elections. Damien Mantach reports directly to the President, Tony Snell and that of the Administrative committee and nobody else. He is also responsible for the management of the Liberal Party secretariat in order to ensure that administrative and logistic practices are maintained at their optimum level of efficiency. Damien Mantach does not report to Denis Napthine or to the Parliamentary wing without the express authority of Tony Snell and the Administrative committee.

Those with management experience know full well if the head of an organisation does not have the credibility, the vision, the communication skills, relationship building skills, and a good team of individuals (not sycophants or yes people) that organisation is doomed to fail. Readers can make their own judgement in this case as to what ails the Liberal party at this point in time and what should be done about it to clear the toxic elements within the party so that it can move forward with some degree of confidence.

Alas with only five months to go, it is hoped that those who are in influential positions look beyond their own needs and take a longer view of the challenges facing the Liberal party. this author is always of the belief that the Party as a broad church (Ecclesia) is bigger than any individual and as such it will continue to survive. What it look like after the State election is something yet to be determined.

Ted Baillieu in the eyes of the author deserves better than the current derisive media comments and that those who supported him in the past should be castigated for driving the nail of disunity even further. Bernie Finn to his credit has moved on and is reluctant to strike back, which a positive reminder to all parliamentarians and Liberal party members that dismembering and cannibalising  one of its own is not the Australian way. in fact what is occurring is very much un Australian, that of kicking someone when they are down. 

The problems are not with Ted Baillieu and readers need to be on the lookout by searching elsewhere to find the culprits responsible. Recent media reports which indicate that the leaking of the Ted Baillieu tape originated from the electorates of Menzies, Kooyong and Higgins is also an attempt to hide the truth from the general public and that of party members. It is the authors opinion that the lawmakers who have been elected on a Federal and State level are responsible for the dirty tactics now being aired in public via their recalcitrant and sycophant supporters who are ready and willing to do the work of their political masters.

Their aim is to bring the Denis Napthine government down and create a new political sphere at the expense of the Denis Napthine conglomerate, the Coalition of the willing, Peter Costello/Michael O’Brien, Ted Baillieu/David Davis mob and the Scott Ryan/Matthew Guy. With a mere five months to go, it is anybody’s guess what will occur and the author shudders whether we are to witness further exposures, battles for influence or plain anarchy. All that remains to be heard now is for ‘a Caesar’ who ever that may be is to say, ‘let the games begin’.

Peter Adamis Australia Day iconThe Voice from the Pavement – Peter Adamis is a Journalist/Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum.  He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News.  He holds a Bachelor   of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health  & Safety, (Monash),  Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Contact via Email: [email protected] or via Mobile: 0409965538

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