Matt Hrkac's Blog

There is not too much in the way of news relating to preselections this week. The major parties have seemingly entered into a lull, with candidates preselected for the seats they are targeting and with minor parties likely not preselecting their candidates until closer to the election. The major parties also likely won't preselect candidates for the other seats (mostly the safe seats on either side of the pendulum) until closer to election day.

The latest bits of news:

  • - It has been reported in the Herald Sun that City of Moreland Councillor Oscar Yildiz is tipped to announce his candidacy as an independent for the seat of Pascoe Vale at a June 16 fundraiser. Yildiz is a former member of the Labor Party.
  • - There is also speculation abound that the Victorian Socialists are preparing to broaden their electoral presence beyond the Northern Metropolitan Region, with the party expected to run tickets in several other upper house regions - something I had always expected to happen, just not so soon. The party is also eying lower house seats within the Northern Metropolitan Region, with Brunswick and Richmond so far said to be seats where the party is keen to stand candidates. I am unaware of any possible candidates at this stage. Support for the Victorian Socialists campaign continues to grow, with the National Union of Workers (NUW) donating $5,000 to the party this week.

Just as a closing note: my guide to the Victorian state election can be found here.

There is now half a year to go until the next Victorian State Election and the major parties are already in election mode. For all intents and purposes, my guide to the election is now 'complete' - view it here.

In state preselection news, which will be a weekly feature (if applicable) on this blog from now on to cover preselection developments from all parties:

- In terms of numbers of seats where the main parties have candidates preselected, the Coalition has candidates preselected in 67 out of 88 seats including incumbent MPs, Labor have candidates in 58 seats including incumbent MPs. In both cases, candidates have been preselected in mostly marginal seats - though interestingly the Liberals have candidates in seats such as Altona and Tarneit and Essendon, in Melbourne's western suburbs, despite their status as safe Labor seats. No Labor candidates have been announced in any safe Liberal seats as of yet.

- The Greens are also steadily rolling out their candidates across a range of seats. So far, they have preselected in 29 lower house seats including incumbent MPs, mostly in safe seats for both main parties and in metropolitan Melbourne, and only a handful in marginal Liberal vs Labor contests so far.

- The Animal Justice Party have preselected the first of their candidates across a handful of lower house electorates and three upper house regions. The AJP is aspiring to have candidates in every lower house electorate as well as every upper house region. Andy Meddick, who has stood for the party on numerous occasions at the state and Federal level, is leading the Western Victoria Region ticket; Bruce Poon, president of the AJP and former Melbourne Lord Mayoral candidate, is leading the AJP's Northern Metropolitan Region ticket and Ben Schultz who stood for election to Port Phillip Council in 2016, is leading the party's Southern Metropolitan Region ticket.

- Two independent candidates have also announced their intention to run in the election for lower house electorates: former staffer to Federal MP for Indi Cathy McGowan, Jacqui Hawkins, in Benambra and Ballarat-based drug and alcohol worker Brendan Eckel in Buninyong.

I also maintain a database of candidates, which is regularly updated when new candidates are declared.

July 28 has today been announced as the 'Super Saturday' of Federal by-elections, triggered by the resignation of four lower house MPs who were implicated in the duel citizenship crisis following the High Court's ruling that Katy Gallagher was ineligible to sit in Parliament due to her not renouncing her British citizenship in time. These by-elections are as follows:

These above by-elections, along with Perth, will take place on a single Saturday.

Guides for all of these by-elections have now been posted. Follow the links above to each of the guides.

More than 100,000 union members and supporters marched the streets of Melbourne on the 9th of May in the campaign to Change The Rules. View the full photo album.

Crowds stretch as far as the eye can see.

Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) Luke Hilakari fronts the media

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary, Sally McManus, fronts the media

View the full photo album.

A by-election in the Federal seat of Perth is imminent following the retirement of incumbent Labor MP Tim Hammond, citing family reasons. The seat covers the central suburbs of Perth and extends into the north eastern suburbs.

It is a seat that has been reliable, albeit marginal, for the Labor Party over the last few decades. The Liberal Party have however been chipping away at the Labor vote in recent elections and are within striking distance of taking the seat. However, the Liberals are generally on the nose across the board and polling has shown that they are tracking particularly poorly in Western Australia. This by-election will be a test of just how on the nose they are.

View the guide.

Is Pauline Hanson struggling to find candidates to stand under the One Nation banner? She sent the following letter to, it appears, all local councillors across Australia. Yes, even the Greens and other left wing representatives:

Dear Mayor/Councillor,

As you may be aware, the High Court of Australia has ruled Councillors and Mayors no longer need to resign from their respective roles to nominate for federal elections.

As such, I invite all sitting Council representatives throughout Australia to consider lodging an expression of interest with Pauline Hanson's One Nation to nominate for your respective federal electorate.

Our party has started to transform the way Australian politics is conducted. Australia no longer has the luxury of living off the sheep's back or hoping the two established parties will ever get their act together.

I will continue to fight for those things we all hold precious: the family unit, the sovereignty of our country and our children's future. We can no longer risk losing our great country's advantage over the rest of the world. We have been sold out by wishy-washy, fence-sitting politically correct politicians who put their interests above the interests of the public.

If you (or someone you know and respect) would like to be part of a team that has already made real change to Australia then I ask you to consider putting your name forward.

Of course, some local Councillors were all to keen to poke some subtle fun at the idea of Pauline Hanson 'inviting' them to run as a candidate for her party:

...Just about what any reasonable person would say in response.

In response to the criticism that Kathleen Maltzahn has been facing from within the Greens, combined with the heat that the young Greens are copping over their reluctance to publicly come out against Maltzahn, the Victorian Young Greens made a post to their Facebook page in which they claim to stand up for the rights of sex workers:

We recognise sex workers as workers, and that they have the same equality of labour as other workers. We're proud of Greens Policy which is "Decriminalisation of consensual adult sex work." [...] We need to stand with sex workers as we would with any worker whose right to livelihood and safety was impacted by unfair policy.

Mind you, nowhere in this frankly poorly formatted post is there any condemnation of Maltzahn over her views regarding sex work. One person was quick to point out this contradiction:

Maltzahn's views now not only contradict the Greens policy, but are actually supported by sections of the Victorian Liberal Party, who are going to attempt to get it adopted as formal Liberal policy:

Liberal Party conference motion support for Nordic Model

Could they be banking on the Greens support, knowing full well that Maltzahn has a real chance of getting elected come November, especially given that Maltzahn herself is on the record to say that she would "vote with her conscience" against the Greens established policy regarding the decriminalisation of sex work?

Definitely not all smooth sailing within the Victorian Young Greens. They are trying to play both sides of the fence, keeping one foot in the door, and people are clearly seeing through their charade. They need to decide, firmly, which side they stand on: do they stand with the Liberal Party? Or do they stand with sex workers - an extremely marginalised group in our society?


Given it is me who the above anonymous page admin is referring to, I only felt compelled to respond. Since I have published those comments, which have been attributed to the Victorian Young Greens, I've had several members of the Young Greens from other states clambering over each other to get to me in order to work who the source is (sorry, I don't give up the identity of my sources). Also given that I'd be liable to defamation by making up comments and falsely attributing them to a specific source; it's not exactly within my best interest to be fabricating quotes and falsely attributing them to specific sources, is it?

Nice try, though.

Update - 9.34PM April 22, 2018

It appears that the Facebook post (along with the associated comments) has been removed.

Photos: March on Esso
17 April 2018

Following a huge mass union delegates meeting which saw attendance in excess of 2,000 delegates; the unions marched on the Esso Australia offices in Southbank, Melbourne to stand in solidarity with picketing workers participating in the Esso Longford UGLy dispute. As of publishing, this dispute has been ongoing for more than 300 days. Here are some photos from the march and rally:

View full photo album.


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.

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