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14 April 2018
By Matt Hrkac

'Leaks', investigations of leakers, 'leaks' of investigations

Another day, another post relating to the fall out within The Greens after their Batman by-election loss. They can't even keep the details of their own internal investigations on leaking from leaking.

From The Guardian:

The leaked terms of reference for the review, appear to assume that damaging leaks accusing the Greens candidate, Alex Bhathal, of bullying constituted a breach of confidentiality and widen the investigation to members’ public discussions of the issue. It will investigate how confidential information is provided to the state executive and “the impacts the breaches of confidentiality had on the candidate, other individuals, Darebin branch, Batman byelection results and [the Australian Greens Victorian branch] as a whole”.

... Also up for investigation is “public messaging” regarding the party dispute and whether members’ comments on social media constituted breaches of the code of conduct.

Of course, the Victorian Greens targeting members based on public discussions such as on social media is nothing new. They have been 'informally' doing that for ages, long before the Batman by-election. In fact, there were Greens members who were often targeted by a rather heavy handed Digital Communications Coordinator who was paid too much and who had very little to do, leading up to the last Federal Election.

The 'thought policing' within the Victorian Greens is still very much prevalent - particularly against those whom the party hierarchy don't like and it looks like they could be about to formalise it.

The Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, has suggested that those responsible for the leak should be expelled from the party, describing it as a “major factor” in the loss.

Only one major factor was responsible for the Batman by-election loss: Richard Di Natale and his last minute pandering to conservative voters.

Lastly, the co-convenors of the Victorian Greens (both from the party's centrist 'new guard'), Rose Read (a former 2013 federal Greens candidate for the seat of Goldstein) and Colin Jacobs (who had worked in Di Natale's office as a Senior Advisor for several years, briefly becoming Director of Policy and Strategy after he became leader), insist:

Members ... be sceptical of what they hear in the media or via third parties, to trust in party processes and give fellow members the benefit of the doubt.

Which is a laughable statement and deserves to be ridiculed.

Firstly, lets talk about the media: legally, journalists and reporters can't make stuff up else they would be liable to defamation suits. Different outlets have different editorial bents but they still have to report the facts. If the Greens claim that what is being reported is untrue, they should take them on in a lawsuit or challenge it through the Australian Press Council (they won't do either, because there is no case).

Second, any third parties, myself included, who are speaking up on this and other matters about the Greens are mostly those who were formerly involved in the party. Our unfiltered and frank comments about the Greens are arguably more credible than the controlled and filtered party lines that come from those in the party.

About the author:

Matt Hrkac is a writer and activist based in Geelong who regularly contributes to Green Left Weekly. He has particular interests in politics, elections and the trade union movement and has had extensive involvement in a number of local campaigns. He is a former member of the Greens.

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