Campaign Diary

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The Hon Michael Danby MP

The Hon Michael Danby MP

By The Hon Michael Danby MP

Continuing Instability is the outcome of this election: As well as the re-election of Senator Pauline Hanson; election of Senator Derryn Hinch;  (who is urging a vote against 18C  the anti -harassment provision- Racial Discrimination Act).

Even Malcolm Turnbull must have realized that only half the normal quota (of 14.6% of the vote) was required in any State to elect a Senator. The constitutional manoeuvre of a Double Dissolution was designed to see the Liberal Government add to the numbers in the Senate and House so as to pass legislation against unions at a joint session. In fact there not the numbers in a joint sitting of Senate/ House to pass the Libs anti- union bill about which the election was ostensibly called. So the raison de’tre of the whole election was farce.

Labor may not quite have the numbers in the H.O. R. Libs 90?76, Labor 55?69 (If the coalition doesn’t force a dodgy by-election in Herbert). Now the new Senate apart from providing “stable” government, will require 10 of the 11 non Labor, non- Green, Independent “fruit bats” to vote for any legislation to pass both Houses’. “Confusion to our enemies?”, the problem is that this confusion affects not our enemies, but the Government of Australia representing the people of Australia. Australia is more difficult to govern, as the result of Turnbull’s insistence on this Double D.

Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, after insisting on privacy and sunset clauses, will be called on in all crucial security issues to support the Government with the security of Australians. Labor will act, no Orlandos, no Brussels, no Paris attacks here in Australia. No thanks to the irresponsible Greens, who oppose all legislation affecting the security of Australia.

Tony Abbott making calls for Melbourne Ports Liberal candidate

Tony Abbott making calls for Melbourne Ports Liberal candidate

Locally, the 8 week campaign sucked me into a vortex. Dorothy arrived very quickly from Kansas. My year- long campaign against Victorian Liberal Party Chief Michael Kroger and his prospective deal to give the Green Party preferences ahead of Labor, was widely discussed around the country. Danby attack ads appeared on Kroger, linking him to the Green Party. Major Liberal donors were pressuring Turnbull, “to do a Howard” and overrule against preferencing the “far left” Green Party over the “centre left” Labor Party.

3 weeks of advertising pressured Kroger. My campaign culminated in an address to the Sydney Institute just before the cold wet weeks of pre polling commenced.

My speech catalysed the critique of Kroger’s plan to direct Lib preferences to the Greens. To a hall in Sydney packed with judges, business people, journalists and other Cognoscenti. I explained my purpose …” Surely, Liberal voters are diametrically opposed to the Greens Party on all matters political, socio-economic and national security. There must be some ethics in politics.”

I pointed out that the Liberal’s second longest – serving Prime Minister, “John Howard has been warning against such a deal since 2010”. Howard told me at the ASPI security conference in Canberra in April, that he opposed such a policy. Later he told Paul Murray on Sky, 25 May, “The Greens are the real extremists in this election… (They) are not in Australia’s interests……..” Malcolm Turnbull, “I told the Sydney Institute”, unlike Mr Howard, “Malcolm Turnbull is sitting on the fence”. Does Turnbull think so little of political beliefs and differences, that he would be complicit in this Green- Liberal deal? If Michael Kroger instructs Liberal voters to preference the far-left Green Party in Batman and Wills”, I told the Sydney Institute, “Mr Turnbull should follow the advice of his mentor, former Prime Minister Howard, and rule out this plan”.

“It is sheer Chutzpah for Malcolm Turnbull to rail against the prospect that Labor would agree to a Labor-Greens coalition in a hung Parliament ,(Bill Shorten has ruled it out),while his agents (Kroger) negotiate actual deals to give the Green Party a “ leg-up”, I urged.

A day and a half later, Turnbull in one of the few decisive actions he took during this election, ordered Kroger to stand down. No Liberal preferences in Batman and Wills would go to the Green Party. Peter Khalil and even David Feeney were saved. Who says individual members of parliament can’t affect the general course of events?

Back in Melbourne Ports, Owen Guest, heir to the Guest biscuit fortune was the latest absentee landlord with whom the Tory hierarchy tried to saddle us. The Victorian Libs hierarchy figure Ports is unwinnable, while I’m the member. Despite it being the wealthiest by per capita income seat held by Labor in Australia. Kroger and co usually outsource it to some rich bozo who can self- finance the campaign.

Firstly we had the famous Fiona Snedden, who told the first Gay Forum in Melbourne Ports that “her gardener was gay, her hairdresser was gay and her manicurist too”. We had the well-heeled David Southwick in 2004 subsequently given the consolation prize of the State Seat of Caulfield. More recently, we had the underwhelming heir, the Held Optometry fortune- Alan Held. This time East Melbourne’s heir to the Guest biscuit fortune was the pea, that the Tories got to run their formularic campaign, e.g. illuminated billboard on Kingsway (at $35,000k) a month – Feb, March, April & May.)

Guest’s notoriety is as the president of the Royal Tennis Association (as in the Tudors). He’s built and paid for a Royal Tennis court and advised the plebs in Ports, that the game is “vigorous” and “not to be played by sissies”. Kroger, like Julie Bishop, who turned up at the pre-poll, are both very angry with me because of my unrelenting expose of their policies. Polling shows the Green Party lost the local campaign when their candidate refused to speak at a Jewish forum. At previous similar forums, during the 2010 & 2013 elections, the Greens Party attended and the debates were unreported. No bad publicity.

Stephanie Hodgins-May Green boycott on front page fatal for Green Party?

Stephanie Hodgins-May Green boycott on front page fatal for Green Party?

Kroger turned up to the Jewish debate that the Green Party boycotted, which was hosted by the weekly Jewish News.” Kroger stood grimly at the back of the AJN forum, behind the two or three hundred audience watching his latest candidate parrot his rote speech. It was ugly. I said Guest’s Dad, a Vic Upper House MLC, was a nice bloke. The Liberal Candidates response was “Danby never achieved anything, he was insufficiently supportive of the 20% plus of the local Australian Jewish community”. Guest barked out his strictly learnt rave. People groaned. Even the Libs in the audience thought this was a bridge too far. However, Owen’s lowest point came later, at Pre-poll in East St Kilda, when he drew me aside and begged me to distribute the “How to Vote Card” where the Greens were preferenced behind the Liberals after people were asked to vote for me and Labor as Number 1.

The Green Party debated me at 2 further forums before the election which was unremarkable except for their poor attendance. Di Natale’s speech at the National Press Club became contentious at one forum. Di Natale said the Green Party would negotiate with the Liberals to participate in the Plebiscite on Marriage Equality. This was exposed by me to a small LGBTQI forum. Green Party supporters squealed that it was unfair to point this out. Unfortunately this Libs/Greens collaboration seems to have not been widely understood by local voters, who only read about it in a Candidate Survey published on election day. (see below)

The Green candidate this time was from Green Central Casting. She moved into a flat in Elwood from Daylesford and she insisted to voters running the gauntlet at pre polling, that she was “Local Green Candidate”. Even producing a Youtube, extolling the virtues of St Kilda Pier and other local delights, which the hipster colonists from across the Yarra and Daylesford had just discovered. All the double barrelled anglo names Hanson-Young, Whish-Wilson & Hodgkins-May used to be Tories, now they are Green Party. What is that? During the 3 grim weeks at pre polling, a large male from the Hodgins-May family, Daylesford, and attendant serfs would arrive each morning. Just like they were back at the family property, the imports came banging in stakes, advertising the wunderkind and the magic Green triangle, to help seize the electorate from the locals. It is annoying when an apparatus from across the Yarra tries to impose its alien culture. No local media, especially the hopeless Leader Newspaper chain, had the wit to report that the local candidate was actually a serial candidate previously from Ballarat at the 2013 election.

Ognjen(Ogi) Simic – Green Party hardliner running for council in Port Melbourne

Ognjen(Ogi) Simic – Green Party hardliner running for council in Port Melbourne

Far from being an environmentalist and lawyer, as she touted herself, Steph Hodgkins May was just off the staff of Green boss Senator Di Natale. But the oddest aspect of her campaign was her peculiar partner, Ogi. He kept taking pictures of Labor Party polling workers, even posting pictures of a senior citizen and Elsternwick Branch member on his Twitter. Strangely, Hodgins-May was anxious to announce that the Green Colonists were running Ogi & other Greens in the new (& idiotic) 3 by 3 Council Wards for Port Phillip in the upcoming November Council elections.

It’s now clear that the 3 feeder parties which preferenced the Greens Party were at least publicly staffed by paid polling booth workers, or by Green satellites. Few of the Marriage Equality workers were identified by members of the local gay community and some admitted to local LGBTQI community activists that they were paid to hand out pamphlets.  Animal Justice is another feeder party orchestrated to assist the Greens in Prahran and now in Melbourne Ports. As one of the leading activists in Parliament for Labor on Animal Welfare, local Labor was struck by the deceitful behaviour of the local candidate Rob Smyth who met with Labor both at a National and local level to negotiate preferences. Yet they already had a predetermined plan.

Sex Party Senate Candidate Meredith Doig- strangely no HoR candidate

Sex Party Senate Candidate Meredith Doig- strangely no HoR candidate

Strange political behaviour didn’t end there.

The Minor parties were very agitated about the Green Party’s collaboration with the Liberals to exclude them from the Senate. Strange isn’t it that, at the last election in Melbourne Ports, the Sex Party scored nearly 5% of the vote. (70% of their preferences came to me at the last Federal Election.) Yet this election there was no candidate in the seat where they polled the highest House of Reps vote! Perhaps it was because Meredith Doig their Senate Candidate was long ago a member of the Socialist Left and bitter about my preselection 20 years ago! It was clear to me from Doig’s close relationship with the Green Party candidate that something was afoot. Firstly, the inexplicable absence of a Sex Party candidate for the HOR in Ports undermined the vote for their own Senate candidate. Of course their absence did the Green Party a practical favour, seeing no protest vote came to me in Ports. To pursue such a tactic, to the extent of dragging down their vote for their own Senate candidate (who obviously wasn’t elected), is a new twist in politics.

I won’t go into the robo calling and push polling by the Greens Party & Liberals during the election. Except to say that twice the Age newspaper eagerly megaphoned their Green claims. First, during the election, the Age highlighted the Greens push polling. Then, after the election, the Age ran a story that Melbourne Ports was a “shock loss”. Explained by the Age journalist’s ethics in failing to contact me or the office to ask what was actually happening at the post- election scrutineering in Port Melbourne.  The post election “shock loss” story was given legs by both Michael Kroger and the Greens as both  were very angry with me for bringing undone their neat little plan in Ports, Wills and Batman.

Last point, unnoticed by most commentators is the sociological change that is right across the Labor Party towards the Green Political Party. At the 2013 elections, my expose of Green policies on the Death Tax, on closing Zoos and on Senator Rhiannon’s Stalinist past led to Bob Brown saying he would have me defeated and ”sent out to grow cabbages”. My tough attitude to what the German’s call “DIE GRUENEN” was not as extensively shared in Labor as it is now. Labor made a mistake under my friend Julia Gillard in entering into a pact with the Greens. But now my ideological & practical criticism of the Green Party’s role is widely shared. Embracing the extreme left” GRUENEN” is political death for Labor. The Green Party is practically our enemy as they spend all their resources in 20 seats in an effort to undermine the Labor alternative government.

The pervasive Labor attitude towards the Greens is now that of Paul Keating; who stated during Anthony Albanese’s campaign launch in his incisive manner , “They’re a bunch of Trots and opportunists, hiding behind a gum tree and pretending to be the Labor Party”. If they spend a million dollars at the next election attacking Labor in Melbourne Ports Ports, they will have the exact same effect they had in Higgins – driving voters into the arms of the Liberals.
Authoritative research by Uttings shows after 7 terms, I have a high profile locally, 43% positive, 28% negative, 20% undecided, only 8% never heard. Amazing only 28% bitter enders after 7 terms. I hope Labor can repeat the success in the future but one thing I know, the Greens will never win this Federal seat south of the Yarra.


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