Thursday, April 28, 2005

Victoria Under Bracks: Factionalism, Corruption, & Violence

Banyule Council is a perfect example of what has happened all over Victoria under the Bracks government, as councils' have become the play things of the ALP factions and State MPs.


Banyule Council is divided, not between the ALP Left and Right factions, but between two micro factions within the Bracks' ALP Right. The councillor's are fighting it out in farcical circumstances with anonymous "dirt sheets" being posted about each other, some revealing very serious allegations previously kept as factional secrets.


Claims have been forwarded to the Victorian Police about a councillor receiving bribes and favours in return for planning approvals and council contracts.


However, now that the allegations have gone public, the source, Councillor Dale Peters, denies knowledge. It would appear that the councillor's are out to silence Bill Forwood and the truth, with his office broken into and a laptop computer containing work files for the past several years stolen.

Banyule Council - Just another example of Bracks' Government hard at work making Victoria "The Place To Be" . . . if you are factional, corrupt, violent.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Bracks' Racial And Religious Tolerance Act - Inciting Religious Vilification And Tarnishing Our Courts

Mark Durie has a brilliant essay at Online Opinion which shows how the Bracks' government's Racial And Religious Tolerance Act 2001 incites vilification and asks Judges to take sides in incredibly complex debates of comparative theology and scriptural interpretation, in effect inserting courts as the arbiters of what religious views are deemed relevant and credible in the eyes of the law, and thus what will receive it's protection.

What is sadly ironic about the Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act (pdf file 118KB) is that it incites vilification. A complainant will seek to show that the respondent’s conduct has threatened religious harmony, that they have vile intentions, that they are inciting hatred and are dishonest. In this respect, and to this point of the legal proceedings, the Islamic Council has succeeded in pursuing just such a case against Pastor Daniel Scot.

It is abundantly clear that such proceedings do not promote religious harmony. In the case of the ICV v Catch the Fire Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot, incompatible religious world views have been in collision. There were theological sparks flying all throughout the case. In the end, Judge Higgins came to his decision in part by finding one side not to be credible, and in part by declaring aspects of the Koran to be irrelevant to 21st century life. However, in the manner of reaching this conclusion, his rulings raise more questions than they answer, closure has not been achieved, and further damage has been done to religious harmony. It seems inevitable that the decision will be appealed . . .

It is high time for the Victorian government to review the religious aspects of this Act, and to consider whether they could be removed altogether, making it simply a Racial Tolerance Act
- Mark Durie

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Why Did A Key Member of Bracks Faction Flee The Country?

Many of you may have heard of the case against Andrew Landeryou, a prominent member of Bracks' Labor Unity faction who fled the country in December last year. He is in trouble in relation to both corrupt dealings with Melbourne University Student Union (detailed accounts from the perspective of an independent left leaning member of the Student Union at the time can be found at Melbourne Scribe) and also a debt owed to Solomon Lew.

Andrew Landeryou left the country just days before he was due to give evidence in the Supreme Court of Victoria about his involvement with the Melbourne University Student Union. He has left a father, and a wife, holding the bag for his debts. And yet what was this over?

Andrew Landeryou is portrayed as the mastermind of the scheme to defraud Melbourne University Student Union who fled the country because of his involvement with the Melbourne University Student Union. However judgements against corporate criminals in this country aren't known for being particularly onerous, and besides that, Labor Unity hacks however are not known for their thin skins.

Fleeing the country is an excessive reaction to the problems we are told were facing Andrew Landeryou, a reaction that has burnt his bridges behind him and dramatically escalated the price he may one day have to pay for his actions. The assumption must be made that Andrew Landeryou is worried about more than a cross examination with the administrators of a student union and a debt to Solomon Lew. The question this begs is: What else does Andrew Landeryou have to fear?

Andrew Landeryou's father Bill was once a prominent member of Steve Bracks' Labor Unity faction, as Andrew was more recently. Throughout the 1990s, Andrew Landeryou was an important man within the Victorian Labor Unity universe, working amongst the same mix of union and ALP factional leaders that keep the Bracks government in power today with their control of stacked ALP branches throughout the State. It has been alleged that money gained from Andrew Landeryou's dealings has been used in factional battles for control of key unions around the State. Given patterns between Andrew Landeryou's dealings with Melbourne University Student Union and his dealings with IQ, it is hard to believe that the corruption didn't stretch even further, into the heart of Steve Bracks' Labor Unity faction.

Steve Bracks' and his factional friends need to come clean and reveal how much money they have received from Andrew Landeryou and associated companies, individuals and fictional identities.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Bracks Government's Religious Vilification Disaster

One of the greatest disasters of the Bracks' government has been the Racial & Religious Tolerance Act, which by placing onerous restrictions on religious speech, is destroying the freedom of Victorians to engage in religious discussion and debate.

The Alpha Course has been taken by 5 million people in 150 countries around the world, and it's materials have been translated into 50 different languages.

When a convicted sex offender and practicing witch complained about the course being offered in Ararat Jail, the Equal Opportunity Commission at first rejected the complaint as lacking substance. However now, Robin Fletcher has gone straight to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal, causing onerous expense and legal trouble for the Victorian distributor, the Salvation Army, and Corrections Victoria.

Even if this complaint is thrown out by the court, (as it should be) it will have generated a nuisance level which will discourage churches, media outlets and public institutions from allowing religious debates and education. It is just another one of the ways in which Bracks is making life harder for all Victorians.

A prison inmate has taken CMC Australasia (Australian distributors of the Alpha Course), the Salvation Army (the prison chaplain who delivered the course was from the Salvation Army) and Corrections Victoria (for allowing Alpha into the prison) to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, alleging religious vilification.

The prisoner voluntarily attended an Alpha Course run in the prison and took exception to verses from Deuteronomy and Leviticus regarding witchcraft. The prisoner is a Wiccan (practices witchcraft) and is serving his sentence for paedophilia. His defence in his trial was that his activities were part of his religion. He has called for Alpha to be banned from prisons and throughout Victoria generally.

Alpha has applied to have the case summarily dismissed, but even this will most likely involve significant legal expenses . . .

Some who support the legislation claim that Christians should not worry because frivolous claims would not be allowed. This recent case shatters that idea.
- Robert Law

Check out Alpha Australia.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bracks Flees The Bad Vibes As Factional Hacks Run Amuck

With Bracks overseas getting his photo taken with school kids, where his image can't be hurt, the factional machine has gone into over drive.

Vandalism gives us an insight into the way the factions work. Who else would paint "RAT" across the front of her office, the Liberals and Nationals, who suddenly love her? The people of rural and regional Victoria, who are bouyed to know she really does care about them? Or one of the members of the reportedly only two ALP branches in Ballarat who risk losing some of their power if Dianne Hadden wins re-election as an Independent? Yet no one can prove it, and so the intimidation goes on, with ALP Legislative Council President Monica Gould gagging her, so she can only speak once every four weeks.

Within the ALP, an attempt is on to ignore and silence real members while Steve is out of town and doesn't have to cop the flak for it. Whereas the Victorian division of the Liberal Party has close to 20,000 grass roots members, recent divisions in the ALP reveal that possibly half the 14,500 Victorian ALP members are stacks, i.e. there are at least twice as many Victorians in the Liberal Party than the ALP.

ALP State Secretary Eric Locke, who represents the broad majority of real ALP members, has been forced to resign, leaving the ALP in the position of being a left wing party run by factional hacks who are neither left nor right, but merely self-interested and self-glorifying. As Eric Locke and Kimberley Kitching have learnt, you never win when you get into bed with the amoral, self-interested politicians of the Labor Right.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Found On The Web - Vocabulary Of A Bracks Hater

"Brackflip" for his continued promise 'backflips' on some major construction projects.

"Brackswards" where our state is going under his governemnt.

"Brax Tax" a phrase seen on the billboard of a business crippled by Brack's bloody land tax.
- Do you Dislike Steve Bracks?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Bracks Commonwealth Games Hysteria

If government exists to serve the people then government instigated major events like the Commonwealth Games should only be promoted as long as they work to benefit the people. In the past, there have been governments of all colours which have been blinded by the glitz of major events and large scale building projects, to the detriment of the people they were supposed to be serving.

The Bracks government has fallen into the same trap. A reader has written to alert us to the Bracks government plan to shut down all competing sporting events on Crown land during the Commonwealth Games, even local cricket:

Here's a story for you. With the wonderful Commonwealth games coming next year the State Gov wants to shut down ALL sport in the month of March. I'm the Secretary of a Cricket Club and were were discussing it at our last association meeting.

Cricket season usually goes all the way to the last weekend in March, yet they want to ban it, as well as netball, basketball and all other sports that are played on crown land. So we can all go and watch some exciting water polo.

Recent articles also highlighted that real Victorians will be locked out of Commonwealth Games venues for six weeks to allow for set up (most private sector events manage to do set up for major events in less than one week) and that a small business running balloon flights over Melbourne is being forced to get new (blank) balloons or shut down for the Commonwealth Games period as a result of strict anti-ambush advertising laws.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Dianne Hadden - Bullied But Unbowed By Bracks Government Bullies

Dianne has updated her website to declare that she is now the "Independent Member" for Ballarat province and to remove the previous references to "the Bracks Labor Government's achievements". You can see the old site here.

Dianne's hard hitting truthful style must have been ruffling feathers for a while, back in February The Age reported that:

Dianne Hadden is spreading a savagely worded message throughout the state: the Bracks Government has lost touch with country Victoria.

"I think we've become complacent - far too complacent," the former lawyer says . . .

"We're starting to get - like we did under Kennett - protests at Parliament with thousands of people coming from country Victoria, bussing themselves in, whether it be over logging, channel deepening, wind farms. That should be alerting the ministers to the fact that something is terribly wrong," Ms Hadden says.

Not bowed by the pressure from the party, she has continued to explain her reasons for leaving the party:

She [Dianne Hadden] said the Bracks Government was obsessed with social engineering and the removal of individual liberties and rights, and had introduced ill-conceived, ill-advised legislation. - Herald Sun

Her courageous actions certainly ruffled some feathers last night, with her office graffitied last night with the word "RAT", Ms Hadden suggesting that the Member for Ballarat East, Mr Howard, was responsible for the attack and promising to report it to the Police.

However at the end of it all, Dianne Hadden is still at work, with the Stawell Times-News reporting today on her attempts to restore blood bank service to Stawell and Ararat.

"I was not prepared to compromise my oath of office or my obligations to my electorate for the sake of the ALP party machine and warlords," - Dianne Hadden, in the Daily Telegraph

"I think I'll have a greater chance of winning (the next election) without those constraints of a Labor Party that's broken its promises to country Victoria.

"It's like a big noose around my neck - believe, me everywhere I go people are so disappointed but the party machine in city-centric Melbourne is not listening."
- Dianne Hadden, in the Ballarat Courier

The only thing the Bracks government is good at is spin, and so it is that their solution to this problem is to try and spin this as an unstable MP quiting because she wasn't going to win her next pre-selection.

However nothing will get them off the hook for the fact that now they have a disillusioned ex-ALP MLC who can use her parliamentary privelige to highlight the real failings and weaknesses of the Bracks government.

Having lied to their voters over Scoresby and squeezed every cent possible out of them through fines and taxes, the Bracks government is now being shown more and more for what it is, weak, divided by the factions at whose mercy it governs, and ineffective.

The people of Victoria need a real government, willing and able to make tough decisions and stick to them, but humble enough to realise that they are not omniscient gods who know best how to spend our money, use our land and educate our kids.

Instead, we have a government which seems convinced that the best use of Victorians hard earned money is more civil servants in Spring Street and more Treasure Island style white elephant like projects for their Union buddies at Trades Hall.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Rotten To The Core

After whispers of rebellion back in February, Dianne Hadden has quit the ALP declaring:

"I think we have got a lot to hang our heads in shame over . . . Decent, self-respecting people would not believe what goes on within the Labor Party." - Ballarat Courier

Reportedly she phrased it differently this evening on Channel Seven News, declaring the ALP under Bracks to be "rotten to the core."

The renegade MP listed a series of grievances with the state government, including the over-budget fast rail project, water and planning issues, the delayed connection of natural gas to Creswick and land tax. - Herald Sun

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Bracks' Robbery Of The Poor

Northcote Knob and The Age draw attention to Steve's broken promise to act to reduce the toll of problem gambling in Victoria. The Age is editorialising about it, and now Bracks' own grass roots, people like Northcote Knob, are getting angry about it. Rolling in GST revenue and property boom windfalls, you would think Bracks could afford to cut the addiction of the State government to problem gambling. However, beholden to the branchstackers who got him elected, Steve can't dare to take on powerful interests like the gambling lobby.

The locals may not have cafes, bookshops, or quirky little bakeries, but there on display was the heartbeat of Summerfield, the wellspring of joy the government run by my fucking party provides to the poorest, the most downtrodden of its masses.

A huge, carpeted, welcoming dirty poor-taxing pokie venue, sucking profits out of the most god-forsaken people in Melbourne.

Just after 10 in the morning!

No person who supports the ongoing state of the pokie industry in Victoria is fit to call themselves a Labor party member. Andrew Bolt has a higher moral stance on this issue than the government I'm working to keep in power. And that makes me sick.

It is akin to peddling heroin, and arguably just as destructive. And it is difficult to see how anybody from any of Labor's disparate limbs, from hard-headed tradesmen to socialists to inner-city Traminer Trots, could find this situation anything other than repulsive.

There is no left wing argument for the retention of pokies.

Go Bolt, go the Age, do whatever needs to be done.
- Northcote Knob

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Bracks Stops Charity With Fifteen-Fold Rise In Land Tax

Bracks' land tax grab, which has seen land taxes triple under his watch, continues. The Herald Sun reports that Hambleton House, a facility that houses 31 elderly and mentally ill residents, faces a fifteen fold increase in it's land tax from $2700 two years ago to $45,000 (almost $1500 a resident) this year.

Surely the Bracks government can see that the costs to the State of caring for these 31 high needs individuals elsewhere will make $45,000 look like a drop in the ocean? However it would seem not, apparently until two months ago private aged care facilities were exempted from the tax, but are now subject to it thanks to a "policy shift".

All the government could do when it hit the media this weekend was to roll out spokesperson Brent Hooley. When the rubber hits the road, you aren't going to see Steve getting up and explaining the government's decisions, he'd rather greet Princess Mary, go to the Grand Prix or daydream about opening the Commonwealth Games.

Rolling in money taken from Victorians, the Bracks government is still obsessed with revenue, gutting our small businesses & charities with exhorbitant increases in land tax and bickering with the Commonwealth about GST revenue. Are they just trying to overcompensate for the Cain/Kirner years, or is there more to this? What do they need all the money for? What dirty little secrets don't we know about, that require all this cash?