Monday, June 28, 2010

Bowtell to be preselected to trim the Green vote

Cath Bowtell, wife of Local Government Minister Chief of Staff, is expected to be preselected for the Federal Seat of Melbourne to replace outgoing Member and Minister for Finance Lindsay Tanner.

Sources close to Lindsay Tanner's Office have indicated that Bowtell will be preselected unopposed with the united support of ALP right factions over left internal organiser, Andrew Giles, who was earlier thought to be odds on favorite.

Bowtell has strong credentials and is well suited to take on the Greens at the next Federal election expected to be held in late August early September.

Preselection for the federal seat of Melbourne is expected to be uncontested with the left fielding only one candidate. Left organiser Andrew Giles has been left out of consideration with many believing that Giles is not the right candidate for this seat. The ALP needs to preselect someone of high caliber who can take on the Greens and secure the seat against all comers. Cath Bowtell fits the bill.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Green Vultures salivating at Tanner's withdrawal

The Greens are political vultures, salivating at the mouth in the false hope that they will win the Federal seat of Melbourne following Lindsay Tanner's shock announcement that he is retiring from National Politics..

Talking up their chances the Greens claim that they will win 14% of the national vote and 24% local vote of the Melbourne electorate, securing Liberal Party preferences to win the seat of Melbourne from the ALP.

The ALP Federal Government, thanks in a large part to Lindsay Tanner, has steered Australia though the world's worst recession since 1930 and Melburnians will not put at risk the economic gains and security delivered by the Labor Government. Rational minded Melburnians, when faced with the prospect of a Abbott Liberal Government, will support a Gillard Labor Government and return the safe seat of Melbourne to the ALP.

Prediction: The Greens will not win Melbourne. They will not surpass the Liberal Party or secure sufficient number of Liberal Party preferences to take the seat from the ALP. The suggestion that Melbourne is a marginal seat is a fallacy that feeds the media hype.

Melbourne is not a close seat, as the media and the Greens would like us to think it is.

The Liberal party will secure more votes then the Greens relegating the Greens to distant third place.

Tanner to stand down at next election

Lindsay Tanner, the member for Melbourne and Federal Minister for Finance, has announced that he will stand down and not contest the seat of Melbourne at the next Federal Election.

Many commentators who attended last weekends State Conference were of the view that Tanner's speech was his valediction speech.

Tanners resignation has open up the possibility for a challenge for the seat of Melbourne with deals already in place to preselect his replacement, Andrew Giles.

Tanner has stressed in announcing his resignation that his decision has not been made as a result of Julia Gillard's election as Prime Minister. Those who have been involved in Melbourne's politics have been aware of ongoing friction and resentment coming from Tanner camp towards his former colleague Gillard

Gillard confirmed as Australia's prime-minister

I have known Julia Gillard for over 25 years and worked with her for 6 years as a member of the ALP Branch executive in Carlton. She is very impressive and has the ability to cross bridges and secure broad factional support. She is without any doubt more then capable to secure a Labor second term.

Her election to the leadership and Prime Minister of Australia is welcomed and will underpin and secure a number of ALP Federal seats not only in Victoria but across Australia.

In attending the ALP State Conference last weekend there was ongoing discussion and broad support for Gillard on the conference floor and in the corridors outside.

It also needs to be stated that Gillard did not seek to undermine Kevin Rudd and the change in leadership should not be seen as a power grab. Gillard has always placed the interest of the Labor Party ahead of faction and her own personal interests.

He ascension to the PM position was enthusiastically embraced and has already reinvigorated the ALP.

Gillard to strengthen Labor in Victoria

Julia Gillard's ascension to the Labor leadership and Australia's first female Prime Minister will provide a much needed boost to Victoria underpinning Michael Danby's retention of Melbourne Ports.

Gillard is without any doubt a very competent and outstanding political performer. Her contest of the ALP leadership against Kevin Rudd was not of her doing but a response to growing concern about Kevin Rudd's ability to take labor though to a second term in office. Her decision to challenge the leadership was not easy. The decision to oust Kevin Rudd was taken following a collapse in confidence in Rudd's caucus support most notably the collapse in support from Queensland Labor.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Convoluted accountability VEC missing from the Proust review

The Victorian State Government has released the recommendations outlined in the Proust review.

Elizabeth Proust, former City of Melbourne Chief Executive Officer, was engaged by the State Government to review Victoria's public accountability model. Elizabeth Proust has recommended a comprehensive yet convoluted system of accountability and review of the public sector. The main component of the Proust recommendations is the creation of a new 'Victorian Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission (VIACC). The Office of the VIACC and the Ombudsman will be overseen by a new Parliamentary committee of review.

One of the recommendations proposed by Proust is to significantly increased the powers and resources of the Ombudsman to address issues of maladministration and allegations of corruption in the public sector.

Missing from the Proust review, disappointingly, is that the Victorian Electoral Commission which continues to remain beyond account or review by the State Ombudsman. Only matters of serious misconduct and corruption will be subjected to review by the VIACC. What constitutes serious misconduct and corruption and who will decide is a question unresolved. Presumable the round table conference of integrity office holders will decide. Demarcation disputes or buck passing will inevitably weaken the new structure.

The powers of the Office of the Ombudsman recently have been watered down and are now run the risk of being limited even further.

The Government must review the Ombudsman Act to restore clarity, confidence and authority in the Ombudsman's office in fulfillment of the Proust report. Subjecting the Victorian Electoral Commission to oversight by the Ombudsman Act must be part of that agenda for reform.

Open and transparency review suppressed

The Victorian State Parliament following a complaint from the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Steve Tully, has removed publication of submissions made to the Electoral Matters Committee. The submission which is critical of the conduct of the 2006 Victorian State Election raised concerns that the Chief Electoral Commissioner may have mislead the parliamentary committee in his evidence and report where the Commissioner claimed that copies of preference data files were destroyed during the last election, with an allegation that the Commission is engaged in an cover-up and avoidance exercise to prevent proper scrutiny of the 2006 State election.

The State Parliament has been called on to initiate greater oversight in the conduct of public elections following the disastrous errors in the computerized counting systems that occurred in the 2006 State election and the 2008 Municipal Elections.

The submission outlined issues of concern about the lack of openness and transparency in the computerized counting system introduced in Victoria and the failure of the Commission to provide copies of the preference data files and its failure to reconcile the total number of votes with the information recorded on the voting centre return declarations. As a result of this ommission the total number of votes recorded for the Western Metropolitan Region had changed between the primary count and the second count.

‘The Parliament needs to make sure that the total number of ballot papers recorded are reconciled with voting centre returns to ensure that all ballot papers are properly accounted for and that there is no repeat of the situation where hundreds of ballot papers go missing between counts as was the case in the Western Metropolitan Region. The Victorian Electoral Commission must be required to produce a reconciliation report of the voting centre declarations outlining the total number of ballot papers that have been issued and returned prior to the commencement of data entry of ballot paper preferences. All votes should issued and returned be accounted for on Election night.

Further the Parliament needs to investigate the data management process of the Electoral Commission following evidence that copies of the detailed preference data files had been overwritten and were not available for independent review or scrutiny. “It is conceivable that the Electoral Commission did not maintain backup copies this crucial and important data. It costs Millions of dollars for the Commission to collate this information. Any professional IT management would ensure that all crucial data in the vote counting was backed-up as a matter of course as part of a disaster recovery plan. If backup copies were not made then there are major issues that need to be reviewed.”

The submission, which was pulled from publication on Friday, called on the State government to restore public confidence in the conduct of electrons in Victoria by ensuring that the public elections remain open and transparent and that crucial information is readily available and that the Victorian Electoral Commission is held accountable for its actions.

The submission also outlines a serious complaint of ongoing harassment and intimidation against witnesses to parliamentary inquiries by the Chief Electoral Commissioner and has called on the State Parliament to remove limitations in the Ombudsman Act that prevent the Chief Electoral Commissioner from being investigated by the Victorian State Ombudsman.

A complaint has been lodged with the chairman of the Victorian Parliamentary Electoral Matters Committee which will review the submission which has been removed from the parliament's web site.

The Electoral Matters Committee meets next Monday to consider this issue.