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Zed grills Simon Sheikh on Labor membership

By johnboy - 17 April 2013 35

Liberal Senate candidate Zed Seselja is stamping his tiny feet at Green candidate Simon Sheikh over exactly how long Simon was in the Labor party before transitioning through “progressive activist” to Green:

Today’s edition of The Australian shows that there are serious conflicts between Mr Sheikh’s account of his previous Labor Party membership and Labor’s membership records cited today by NSW Labor General Secretary, Sam Dastyari .

The Canberra Times yesterday reported Mr Sheikh as saying he joined the Labor Party on 1 November 2004 for one year. However Mr Dastyari today states that Mr Sheikh joined the Labor Party on 2 April 2004 and that he renewed his membership on 1 November 2005 – apparently for 3 years.

Yesterday the Canberra Times also reported Mr Sheikh alleges he resigned his Labor Party membership on 5 September 2008, 10 days before starting at GetUp! Mr Dastyari however states that Mr Sheikh resigned his membership on 26 November 2008 – which was 2 months after Mr Sheikh started at GetUp!

These inconsistencies show that this issue is about Simon Sheikh’s credibility.

What’s Your opinion?


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35 Responses to
Zed grills Simon Sheikh on Labor membership
NoImRight 4:45 pm 17 Apr 13

Are the Libs really that scared of this guy?

schmeah 4:20 pm 17 Apr 13

I’m not sure what the issue is – Costello was a member of Unity Labor during university and Abbott was a member of the DLP. Andrew Bartlett was also a Democrat and now he’s a member of the Greens .. Get over it Zed and stop wasting out time with this small fry rubbish.

dungfungus 4:11 pm 17 Apr 13

Matt_Watts said :

From today’s Crikey.com.au:

The Australian vs Sheikh. Readers of The Australian have no doubt been transfixed by the torrent of articles claiming ACT Greens Senate candidate Simon Sheikh was a financial member of the Labor Party for four years, from 2004 to 2008, and this makes him a “turncoat”. Here’s today’s effort:

Sheikh hasn’t disputed he was a financial member of the ALP, but he maintains it was for a shorter period of time than four years (the reason for the interest in exactly when he stopped being a financial member of the ALP is that he went to work at GetUp in September 2008). The Australian can’t be accused of burying this story — it’s written on “Sheikhy Truth” and the “flaky Sheikh”, and there’s this opinion piece.

In Tips last week, Crikey dared to question whether The Australian had it right that Sheikh was a financial member of the ALP for four years. This earned us the full coverage in Cut and Paste the next day.

Just in case you’re interested in the truth of the story, Crikey has been unable to find evidence that Sheikh was a financial member of the ALP from 2004 to 2008. It’s known that he signed up in 2004 and renewed in late 2005; the issue is whether he renewed in 2005 for one year (as Sheikh claims) or three years (as The Australian reports). The records are contained on an old and not-very-complete ALP database, which does not show whether he signed up for one year or three. The entry says in December 2005 there was a credit card rejection from Sheikh’s bank, and subsequently a “resubmission letter sent”. That’s the final entry until Sheikh’s resignation was processed in November 2008.

The Labor figures who want to prove Sheikh wrong are saying he “must have” signed up for three years, but they are yet to provide Crikey with evidence that he actually did so.

Sheikh contacted the NSW ALP, which confirmed in writing his last payment was for $20 in late 2005, so his financial membership lapsed in late 2006 (we’ve seen the emails). Sam Dastyari, general secretary of the NSW ALP, maintains Sheikh contacted the wrong person and the response was unverified.

Perhaps the take-home message in this not-terribly-interesting story is: don’t join the ALP, because someone in the party might leak your membership details.

More concerning is the statement that there was a credit card rejection from his bank.
The guy must have been seriously skint to be denied $20.00 credit.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 4:06 pm 17 Apr 13

Really, who cares. Maybe zed, instead of muckraking and trying to make a issue of something that is not one, worry about yourself and what you can propose to help Canberra.

Moron.

Roundhead89 4:04 pm 17 Apr 13

Why is the Canberra Times protecting Sheikh? I sure hope we don’t see a repetition of the 2010 election where the Crimes campaigned relentlessly for The Greens.

pepmeup 4:00 pm 17 Apr 13

It’s strange that Labor are the ones on the attack, can they possibly believe that Kate Lundys senate spot is in doubt? I cant see the status quo changing at all 1 lib 1 labor in senate in Canberra. I can see why some might move from the libs to Labor or the Greens as the possibility of APS cuts becomes more likely. I don’t work in the APS but I do understand just how important it is to all business in the ACT so I for one don’t want to see an Abbott Gov having control of both houses, which they probably will, and feeling free to do what every they want to the APS in Canberra. As someone who has never ever thought about voting green. I may Vote for Simon Sheikh, I think he may stand up for Canberra a little more than Zed.

jasmine 2:58 pm 17 Apr 13

That was meant to read ‘I never ate small children’.

jasmine 2:57 pm 17 Apr 13

Why is this even an issue? So what! Someone was once a member of another party. People change and parties change. The LNP and ALP are not what they used to be 10-20 years ago. When I was young I was a member of the Australian Democrats and thinking about it now realise I never resigned, but now they don’t exist so I guess there is no need. What if I were to join the LNP or ALP and some tosser brings out the ‘oooh aaaah you used to be a member of the Australian Democrats’. Well yes, but I never ate small children or caused the economic downfall of a small country.

This is basically a non-story made out to be a great saga.

Matt_Watts 2:28 pm 17 Apr 13

From today’s Crikey.com.au:

The Australian vs Sheikh. Readers of The Australian have no doubt been transfixed by the torrent of articles claiming ACT Greens Senate candidate Simon Sheikh was a financial member of the Labor Party for four years, from 2004 to 2008, and this makes him a “turncoat”. Here’s today’s effort:

Sheikh hasn’t disputed he was a financial member of the ALP, but he maintains it was for a shorter period of time than four years (the reason for the interest in exactly when he stopped being a financial member of the ALP is that he went to work at GetUp in September 2008). The Australian can’t be accused of burying this story — it’s written on “Sheikhy Truth” and the “flaky Sheikh”, and there’s this opinion piece.

In Tips last week, Crikey dared to question whether The Australian had it right that Sheikh was a financial member of the ALP for four years. This earned us the full coverage in Cut and Paste the next day.

Just in case you’re interested in the truth of the story, Crikey has been unable to find evidence that Sheikh was a financial member of the ALP from 2004 to 2008. It’s known that he signed up in 2004 and renewed in late 2005; the issue is whether he renewed in 2005 for one year (as Sheikh claims) or three years (as The Australian reports). The records are contained on an old and not-very-complete ALP database, which does not show whether he signed up for one year or three. The entry says in December 2005 there was a credit card rejection from Sheikh’s bank, and subsequently a “resubmission letter sent”. That’s the final entry until Sheikh’s resignation was processed in November 2008.

The Labor figures who want to prove Sheikh wrong are saying he “must have” signed up for three years, but they are yet to provide Crikey with evidence that he actually did so.

Sheikh contacted the NSW ALP, which confirmed in writing his last payment was for $20 in late 2005, so his financial membership lapsed in late 2006 (we’ve seen the emails). Sam Dastyari, general secretary of the NSW ALP, maintains Sheikh contacted the wrong person and the response was unverified.

Perhaps the take-home message in this not-terribly-interesting story is: don’t join the ALP, because someone in the party might leak your membership details.

Deref 1:29 pm 17 Apr 13

Being grilled by Zed would be like being slapped around with a strand of limp spaghetti.

chewy14 12:02 pm 17 Apr 13

HiddenDragon said :

Nice to see Zed following Eric’s inspiring lead on this subject….. Do they really think that the people who might vote for SS read or care about this stuff? Are we going to hear anything about policies which might be of interest and concern to the people of the ACT, or will it just be “Simon’s a turncoat who tries to get people to work for peanuts” and “Zed’s an arch-conservative who will do nothing to stop the decimation of Canberra” – only 150 more days of this, oh dear.

Anyway, if, as the experts say is likely, SS falls short, might Mayor Rattenbury be tempted next time around???

I think it’s more the undecided voters they’re going for. And really because we’re woefully under represented with regards to politicians, policy discussion isn’t going to make any difference here.

Grail 11:55 am 17 Apr 13

PM said :

I don’t know Twitter speak. What does this mean?

That is a message to Simon (his Twitter address is @simonsheikh) from Sam (Twitter address @samdastyari) referring to Simon calling up the Labor Party office to ask for records of his membership.

Sam is referring to it as “bullying” because this is an opportunity to make a political statement. I guess the receptionist didn’t like having to do actual work (thus Labor party, not Labour) and complained to Sam about having to recover records from archives. One person’s “standing up for oneself” is another person’s “bullying”.

The Labor Party has a reputation for holding members on the books for many years after they have ceased to be financial. If the number of members has some impact outside bragging rights, it might be time to conduct an audit of the Labor Party register. To be fair, the same will have to be done for the other major parties of course.

HiddenDragon 11:54 am 17 Apr 13

Nice to see Zed following Eric’s inspiring lead on this subject….. Do they really think that the people who might vote for SS read or care about this stuff? Are we going to hear anything about policies which might be of interest and concern to the people of the ACT, or will it just be “Simon’s a turncoat who tries to get people to work for peanuts” and “Zed’s an arch-conservative who will do nothing to stop the decimation of Canberra” – only 150 more days of this, oh dear.

Anyway, if, as the experts say is likely, SS falls short, might Mayor Rattenbury be tempted next time around???

Grail 11:43 am 17 Apr 13

I would take Simon’s word over the membership register for the Labor Party or any other organisation for that matter: membership registrars often batch their work, and in some cases find it beneficial to keep unpaid members “on the books” for a month or two. In some cases people change their minds and it becomes easier to re-subscribe a non-financial membership rather than start a new membership up.

As usual for the Liberal party, they are going to worry at every story like that little yappy dog next door that can squeeze his snout through the hole in the fence: “hey! I am here! Pay me some attention! Don’t ignore me like my owners do!”

PM 11:31 am 17 Apr 13

I don’t know Twitter speak. What does this mean?

“@simonsheikh what kind of a creep harangues a receptionist, constructs a half-truth he thinks is believable and then puts them in the paper.

— Sam Dastyari (@samdastyari) April 16, 2013″

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