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Looks like Gazza sleep walked into an ambush

By 9 February 2013 19

Two moderately illuminating stories in the Canberra Times today on the Liberal Senate seat stoush.

The first is Gary Kent (former party president of the Gazza school) fulminating on all the things he coulda shoulda woulda gone and done, and still might if he had the numbers which he probably doesn’t.

This bit is worth repeating though:

There are also claims from members of the Young Liberals that Mr Seselja’s supporters were given advance notice of his plans to challenge Senator Humphries before the general membership was informed, and were asked to attend those final meetings.

The issue is Senator Humphries moribund support base hasn’t been to party meetings in the last six months to qualify themselves for the preselection vote.

The other story outlines the dreamy way gazza wandered into his own execution:

Senator Humphries has cried foul over the process, saying he was led to believe Mr Seselja would not challenge him.

He said he was only informed otherwise the night before nominations closed, which did not allow time for many party members to qualify to cast votes in the preselection. ”I’m just concerned that the very late announcement of the candidacy has effectively meant that many people have been caught unawares and can’t vote at the preselection,” he said.

So a few things that strike the neutral observer.

    1) Zed’s people have been systematically taking over the party for some time. Many suspect he’s more a sock puppet than the architect of this move.

    2) Gary Humphries’ supporters having not turned up for a meeting in over six months (despite an election campaign held last October) hardly seem any more legitimate as pre-selectors than the Zeddites who have been bothering to turn up.

    3) Therefore when Humphries’ advocates (anyone got a catchy name for them? “Beard Enthusiasts”? Let’s go with Beard Enthusiasts) complain of branch stacking their complaint seems to be that the other side is better at it (which is usually the way).

    4) What the Zeddites want from a sitting Liberal Senator in an Abbott Government is intriguing. Mental flights of fancy turn to the National Capital Authority which can certainly get quid pro quo development outcomes from the ACT Labor Government that an opposition leader cannot.

So here’s a prediction for you. Zed to get up barring nuclear warfare from the Beard Enthusiasts. Then the National Capital Authority under an Abbott Government to more closely align to the interest of the Zeddites.

If the Beard Enthusiasts do go nuclear in the courts there won’t be much of a party left by the time the smoke clears.

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19 Responses to Looks like Gazza sleep walked into an ambush
#1
Tetranitrate10:49 am, 09 Feb 13

A couple of points:
-not all meetings are qualifying meetings, it’s pretty much just branch meetings. A fund raiser doesn’t count, meetings around campaigning don’t count. It has to be a general meeting of one of the electorate branches. (also young libs)
Just because someone hasn’t been a formal meeting doesn’t mean they’re not active, and in practice no decisions are made at meetings, they’re all made by Branch Executives and Management Committee so it’s actually pretty normal practice only to rock up in order to qualify (usually for AGM’s rather than preselections though). Massive fail on Gary’s part for preparing though.

-there are not actually all that many branch meetings per year, I don’t know what it’s meant to be, but from what I remember it would be ~4 per year including the AGM for each electorate branch. Given the timing there may well have only been only one meeting that would qualify people to vote in the pre-selection in each of the Branches.

-stupid games around giving 3 days notice when 7 are required are par the course for a lot of these guys. They did the same sort of thing back at uni. Except there it got them into a year long conflict with the senior party that wasted an enormous amount of everyone’s time and effort, whereas now they’re playing with adults and it threatens to send the ACT liberals all the way back to the days of 06-07 when the party was at its own throat. Good job guys.

Gary’s gone, there’s no doubt about that, and I really doubt that he’d have held up against a challenge even totally above board, but setting up such an underhanded execution is going to completely alienate the losers. It wouldn’t surprise me if it did go to the courts – giving less than constitutional notice for those final meetings has created a legitimate complaint about the process that the losers can pursue.
(and they’d have probably still lost anyway!)

#2
Mr Evil11:33 am, 09 Feb 13

So, we may end up with one lazy Senator being replaced by an even lazier Senator, who just happens to have slightly more organised backers.

Awesome!

#3
HiddenDragon11:39 am, 09 Feb 13

Court action aside, Gary may well be done for, but I am intrigued and tantalised by Mr Waterford’s observation: “Zed, who has yet to learn that Humphries always repays debts with interest”. Sounds like there’s plenty of fun and games in store.

Your theory about the true motivations of the Zeddites could actually win some votes – particularly if it meant that there might be some convenient, and not overly vulgar, development in the commercial wasteland which is the Parliamentary triangle. The thousands (I am not one of them) who spend many of their waking hours in that blandly attractive limbo-land might be rather happy with the idea of not having to travel to Civic/Kingston/Manuka quite so often. Of course, the retailers and landlords of Civic/Kingston/Manuka might see things a little differently.

It also occurs to me that there may be a need for the feds to review some of the details, if not the fundamentals, of ACT self government in the event that large numbers of Canberra-based APS jobs are either cut or transferred elsewhere. Rather than being ACT Opposition leader for life, Zed might be quite attracted to the prospect of having significant input into any such review.

Finally, a pogonophile is “one who loves or studies beards”, so let’s call Gary’s supporters the Pogos (nice mental image, when you think about it)

#4
Alderney11:52 am, 09 Feb 13

Tetranitrate said :

A couple of points:
-not all meetings are qualifying meetings, it’s pretty much just branch meetings. A fund raiser doesn’t count, meetings around campaigning don’t count. It has to be a general meeting of one of the electorate branches. (also young libs)
Just because someone hasn’t been a formal meeting doesn’t mean they’re not active, and in practice no decisions are made at meetings, they’re all made by Branch Executives and Management Committee so it’s actually pretty normal practice only to rock up in order to qualify (usually for AGM’s rather than preselections though). Massive fail on Gary’s part for preparing though.

-there are not actually all that many branch meetings per year, I don’t know what it’s meant to be, but from what I remember it would be ~4 per year including the AGM for each electorate branch. Given the timing there may well have only been only one meeting that would qualify people to vote in the pre-selection in each of the Branches.

-stupid games around giving 3 days notice when 7 are required are par the course for a lot of these guys. They did the same sort of thing back at uni. Except there it got them into a year long conflict with the senior party that wasted an enormous amount of everyone’s time and effort, whereas now they’re playing with adults and it threatens to send the ACT liberals all the way back to the days of 06-07 when the party was at its own throat. Good job guys.

Gary’s gone, there’s no doubt about that, and I really doubt that he’d have held up against a challenge even totally above board, but setting up such an underhanded execution is going to completely alienate the losers. It wouldn’t surprise me if it did go to the courts – giving less than constitutional notice for those final meetings has created a legitimate complaint about the process that the losers can pursue.
(and they’d have probably still lost anyway!)

Any of the 60 – 70 meetings (electorate or interest branches over three electorates) which is properly constituted qualifies one to vote at divisional meetings and pre-selections.

If you can’t show up to one of those every six months you got to take what’s coming to you I’m afraid.

If Kent wasn’t such a tosser over the Mulchay period there might be a lot more moderates still left in the party; me included.

#5
BerraBoy6812:30 pm, 09 Feb 13

I was more annoyed by Humphries comment that “I now have to fight for my job”.
He appears to display a great sense of entitlement to the position.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at their meeting at the Mawson club though, which reportedly lasted only 10 minutes and ended with Humphries giving Zed a piece of his mind.

All in all, great entertainment for labor votes!

#6
dungfungus12:42 pm, 09 Feb 13

The Liberals should have outsouced this matter to the Labor Party who are the experts in branch stacking and crunching numbers.

#7
Tetranitrate1:49 pm, 09 Feb 13

Alderney said :

If Kent wasn’t such a tosser over the Mulchay period there might be a lot more moderates still left in the party; me included.

Yep, me too. It’s amusing to watch it implode all over again from the outside though.
Didn’t realize special interest branches(or whatever they’re called) counted.

#8
Mr Evil1:51 pm, 09 Feb 13

dungfungus said :

The Liberals should have outsouced this matter to the Labor Party who are the experts in branch stacking and crunching numbers.

Eddie Obeid could have a new future in Canberra!

#9
caf1:52 pm, 09 Feb 13

Unlike state Senators, territory Senators have terms tied to that of the House of Reps – so if the Beardies reckon they can rustle up the numbers, at worst they’ll just have to wait about three years to knock Zed off again.

#10
LSWCHP2:54 pm, 09 Feb 13

Given Zed’s very evident lack of anything at all, I suspect that the “sock puppet” comment is pretty close to the truth.

I wonder who’s pulling his strings.

#11
milkmanjack9:00 pm, 09 Feb 13

Registered to ask this and this is directed towards Tetranitrate and Alderney as they seem to be ACT Liberals (or ex-?) Who is this elusive management committee? Canberra Times keeps referring to them but I don’t actually know anything about them. It appears that they are the head honchos for everything that happens in the party, or goalkeeper, so to speak. Very secret society seeming.

#12
Tetranitrate11:15 pm, 09 Feb 13

milkmanjack said :

Registered to ask this and this is directed towards Tetranitrate and Alderney as they seem to be ACT Liberals (or ex-?) Who is this elusive management committee? Canberra Times keeps referring to them but I don’t actually know anything about them. It appears that they are the head honchos for everything that happens in the party, or goalkeeper, so to speak. Very secret society seeming.

From memory it consists of:
Party President and Vice President
any elected Senator or MP
any elected MLA’s
Presidents of each branch (Northern, Central and Southern Electorate branches, and the Young Liberals, maybe Womens council too if it still exists)
Probably a couple of others (Secretary, Treasurer)
Honestly I can’t remember and it’s not like I have a copy of their constitution lying about.

Basically it’s the executive committee. The ALP would have an equivalent, as would most organizations all the way down to a body corporate or university club.

#13
Madam Cholet7:53 am, 10 Feb 13

So, Alderney and Tetranitrate, are you both wondering who the other person is?!!!

#14
Tetranitrate12:22 pm, 10 Feb 13

Madam Cholet said :

So, Alderney and Tetranitrate, are you both wondering who the other person is?!!!

Not really. Could think of half a dozen people but it doesn’t much matter.
Who I am is pretty obvious if you know/knew me though.

#15
Alderney4:38 pm, 10 Feb 13

Tetranitrate said :

milkmanjack said :

Registered to ask this and this is directed towards Tetranitrate and Alderney as they seem to be ACT Liberals (or ex-?) Who is this elusive management committee? Canberra Times keeps referring to them but I don’t actually know anything about them. It appears that they are the head honchos for everything that happens in the party, or goalkeeper, so to speak. Very secret society seeming.

From memory it consists of:
Party President and Vice President
any elected Senator or MP
any elected MLA’s
Presidents of each branch (Northern, Central and Southern Electorate branches, and the Young Liberals, maybe Womens council too if it still exists)
Probably a couple of others (Secretary, Treasurer)
Honestly I can’t remember and it’s not like I have a copy of their constitution lying about.

Basically it’s the executive committee. The ALP would have an equivalent, as would most organizations all the way down to a body corporate or university club.

Not quite. Although i also do not have a constitution in front of me.

From the parlimentary party the MC is made up of the Assembly parliamentary leader and deputy, also the federal representative. Not sure what happens if there is ever more than one fed rep.

From the lay party (in order of seniority to the best of my recollection).

President
Vice President
Policy Convenor
Treasurer
(can’t help but think there might be another one)

Then the elected branch representatives. Seniority is listed by who has sat on MC longest.

Presidents of northern, central and southern, women’s council and young Libs.

It’s basically the Canberra Libs board of directors.

Like a lot of meetings, the minutes are pretty much written before the meeting takes place.

@ Madam Cholet, no, not really.

#16
IrishPete7:32 pm, 10 Feb 13

LSWCHP said :

Given Zed’s very evident lack of anything at all, I suspect that the “sock puppet” comment is pretty close to the truth.

I wonder who’s pulling his strings.

That’s a really stupid question. Sock puppets don’t have strings. They have a hand up their arse.

IP

#17
poetix9:28 pm, 10 Feb 13

So it’s Humphries G Beard v Stacky’s Whacky Sock Puppet. Or ‘What a funny old fellow is Humphries’ v Big Zed, in a fight to the death over the honeypot.

All we need is Little Ted and Jemima to join in the rumble.

Nice article, incidentally.

#18
LSWCHP10:26 pm, 10 Feb 13

IrishPete said :

LSWCHP said :

Given Zed’s very evident lack of anything at all, I suspect that the “sock puppet” comment is pretty close to the truth.

I wonder who’s pulling his strings.

That’s a really stupid question. Sock puppets don’t have strings. They have a hand up their arse.

IP

Wow. How incisive. I’m really impressed. Such insight. Such keen analytical thinking. :rolleyes:

#19
buttermaker7:05 pm, 12 Feb 13

There are two key things here.
1) Zed is in it for himself. Why move in the local electorate to win and then decide to go to the senate.
2) Zed and his boys don’t appear to have even got the constitution right. Not a very smart bunch.

From what I’ve read the two Gary’s don’t have issues with the challenge as long as its done in accordance with the constitution. The Zeddites have now got stroppy because they know they have stuffed up.

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