Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu denied temptation today, by declining to schedule elections in the troubled municipality of Brimbank, in Labor’s heartland.
Many assumed – not necessarily correctly – that a new election in the Brimbank area would create chaos if some of the old – and in some cases harshly derided – figures from the past council were elected.
We’ll never know. And while most political hacks were relishing the looming vicious election, perhaps the final test of colossus ex Labor MP George Seitz’s organisational strength, and prospective carnage on the sometimes acrimonious council, it appears the council’s bureaucrats and commissioners thought the time wasn’t right.
Much of the adverse publicity attracted by the council was initially due to discord between competing council groups but then from a clueless and vicious Victorian Ombudsman report that didn’t find any corruption or serious wrongdoing anywhere. Despite the council being covered in infamy, no-one was ever charged as a result of its then sensational findings. It was a massive beat-up, partly aided by the nasty ginger group “SunRRA”.
The notoriously racist, anti-democratic and lunar Sunshine Residents and Ratepayers Association, will be pleased, mainly because they are incapable of ever actually winning an election against the rival Labor-linked groups in the West. This weird and sinister group, which spans from far-left, occasionally violent militants to Liberal-leaning Bernie Finn fans, has been the subject of Police complaints, VEXNEWS understands. They have a Mussolini-level of interest in the democratic process but their perpetual opposition to elections was probably correct in this case.
Less racist, but no less zany, are the local Greens, so few in number out west they ought to be known as the Green. The last genius they had on the Brimbank council spent much time calling for the appointment of Administrators, then expressed puzzlement and grief when they were appointed, disappointed at her loss of honorarium.
There were reasonably well-advanced plans within Victorian Labor to use the mechanism of endorsements in Brimbank to prevent George Seitz from running, or at least forcing him to give up his long-term ALP membership if he insisted on running against an endorsed Labor candidate. A brutal way of putting the crafty old bloke in his place but the fact it was being considered shows that his star has fallen quite a bit, mainly because he is thought to have been actively undermining his highly-regarded successor MP, Natalie Hutchins. Those underestimating George, in his decades of ALP involvement, have almost always come a cropper, his genteel and polite ways masking a man of steel and zeal in multiple recruitment of the kind that could single-handedly push Labor’s membership into the stratosphere.
The deferral of elections til 2015 was the decent thing to do. Setting up Labor’s heartland in Brimbank for failure and political catastrophe must have been sorely tempting…