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Local Government

CUNNING STUNT: Liberals in Melbourne inner-city run anti-development front group “Unchain” in alliance with Greensparty

PeterdegrootThe imminent Port Phillip Council elections will witness the transformation of a progressive St Kilda action group “Unchain” into a shrewdly organised Liberal front-group, political insiders have explained to VEXNEWS.

The group ‘Unchained’ began as a group of local St Kilda voters opposed to what they argued was the over-development of the St Kilda Triangle site.

Amused Liberal whistle-blowers have told VEXNEWS that Peter de Groot and Richard Roberts were both very active within the Liberal party, only recently resigning their membership so they could contest Sandridge Ward and Emerald Hill Wards as anti-development “Unchained” candidates giving the impression they are lefty independents.

One of their candidates is a “spiritual healer,” no less, who promises to bring “soul singing” to her ward. In keeping with the values of free enterprise, Mary Gallic knows what the herbal hipsters of the St Kilda region want and is not afraid to – as it were – give it to them:

A June workshop, priced at $160, promised healing of “cellular tissue where memory is stored” and “deeper integration of your soul”, with a promotional flyer advising: “You may experience a truly spiritual orgasm.”

Despite this herbal connection with local orgasmic spiritualists of the enviro-kind, VEXNEWS has obtained photographs of cunning Unchain council candidates socialising and campaigning for the cause with Kevin Sven Ekendahl and upper house Kroger faction titan and stylish Irish baroness Andrea Coote. de Groot and Roberts were an imposing and impressive presence distributing HTVs for Kevin Sven Ekendahl and other Liberal candidates in past election.

The best part of the background of this sneaky story is that “Unchain” started out as a group organised by the friendly and frenetic photographer Serge Thomann to oppose the destruction of the Palace Night Club on the now-vacant St Kilda Triangle site (St Kilda Police had often identified the Palace as a downmarket entertainment site known for its distribution of a variety of illicit narcotics).

Clem2The Port Phillip Council’s plans for an extensive development on St Kilda Esplanade was opposed by many locals living in the Catani (seaside) ward of Port Philip and subsequent Council elections saw one or two key identities associated with the development, like Councillor Dick Gross, defeated. A number of the council staff involved with the development was replaced when the new Council was elected.

The Unchained group is directed by Peter Holland, who was, 10 years ago, a Labor member and supporter of barrister turned Labor minister and ski enthusiast John Thwaites. These days, he is a wealthy local property owner and developer in St Kilda and his political metamorphosis seems to have mirrored, indeed predated, the ‘Unchain’ group’s transformation from anti-development people power militant group to Liberal front-group.

Subsequently the ‘Unchain’ group put up Councillor Serge Thomann against Labor’s Martin Foley at the recent state elections. Thomann, polled 9%, an impressive number most would think but disappointed him as his group’s cunning plan was for Thomann to poll more than the Greensparty and potentially get in front of the Liberals to knock off Foley, aided by Lib preference flows. A clever plan, but didn’t quite come off.

In this election, the alliance with the Greensparty continues with the supposedly leftist environmentalist party delivering preferences to ‘Unchained’ despite its increasingly strong Liberal orientation. Some of Unchained candidates did not even supply the Victorian Electoral Commission or journalists with their own contact details. All contact is through the property developer Peter Holland.

The Liberal strategy in Port Phillip and Albert Park seems to be to use this anti-development group as a front as they know an openly Liberal Candidate would not be successful. Some believe Holland plans on running as a Liberal preference feeder in Melbourne Ports as well.


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  1. I understand that Macquarie Dictionary has decided to remove the word ‘honest’ from the next edition as it is a word that no longer has any meaning!

    Posted by deknarf | October 18, 2012, 9:01
  2. The Macquarie Dictionary has also agreed, at Wayne Swan’s request, to redefine “deficit” as meaning a surplus.

    “Misogyny” is to mean “anyone who disagrees with Julia”.

    Posted by Anonski | October 18, 2012, 10:36
  3. The Macquarie has also decided that from now on the word hyperbole will now be phonetically pronounced ” hyper bowl.

    Posted by Oxford Macquarie | October 18, 2012, 10:55
  4. I offer spiritual enlightenment courses as well. But only for those flexible enough to stick their heads up their own bums.

    Posted by H the B | October 18, 2012, 14:45
  5. I understand that Macquarie Dictionary has removed the word ‘garbage’ and replaced it with ‘Vexnews’

    Posted by Ox Mac | October 18, 2012, 16:10
  6. What a load of absolute rubbish, Simon. You are a nasty piece of work.

    Vex, it seems you’ve been had by Southside Labor, the local branch of the Labor party. They’ve been spreading this WRONG material around in order to discredit their opposition.

    unChain should perhaps send you a piece on them and their libellous and illegal antics.

    unChain does not like both the Liberal party and the Labor party – for good reason, as we see – and is not even remotely associated with either.

    Richard Roberts left – resigned – from the Liberal party in the 1990s – Peter de Groot pointedly resigned more recently. Neither likes or has anything to do with the Liberal party.

    Posted by Sigmund Freud | October 18, 2012, 17:22
  7. Check out the http://www.unchain.org.au website. It has dozens of pages of policies, endorsement from a diverse group of people like Ron Barassi and others as well as what the candidates stand for.

    CAPP (ALP) hardly have any coherent policies and their website is full of vague statement or statements with double meanings.

    The ALP must be worried if Andrew has to write a piece in VEXNEWS but perhaps Danby or Foley wrote it.

    In Junction Ward Liberal John Webster is preferencing the ALP’s Dick Gross. Webster is is Gross’s brother in law.

    In Catani Ward so called “independent” Jason Evans’s campaign manage is a high command official in the ALP.

    In Albert Park Ward the CAPP cadidate has endorsements from 3 retiring CAPP dead beat councillors and mummy (mother in law actually). Not very diverse at all.

    CAPP (ALP) have fooled voters for a few elections but not any more.

    Posted by Ita Everage | October 18, 2012, 17:40
  8. What rubbish. Most candidates in Port Phillip have a website but the best one by far is http://www.unchain.org.au

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | October 18, 2012, 19:32
  9. I think there is a defamation case brewing if this article is not retracted .

    Posted by Warren Amster | October 18, 2012, 23:17
  10. My comment written late this afternoon was deleted – misogynists.

    Posted by Ita Everage | October 18, 2012, 23:27
  11. Its is interesting Jason Evans had his last campaign paid for by the Palace , Palace hosted 50 international and local live acts a year which they still do in the city , that translates to 100,000 people that used the local restuarants and cafes in St Kilda. This is a vexatious shocking labour website run by idiots from what I can gather who are trying to decimate good hard working people for the good of the state labour party , I guess to get brownie points from spring st , how pathetic !

    Posted by Warren Amster | October 18, 2012, 23:39
  12. Jason Evans campaign manager is a well know ALP organizer I understand. Evans is not an independent but a running mate for the former Sex Party chick, now ALP member, that want drug injection facilities in St Kilda. A two person freak show that is opposing nice Cr Serge Thomann.

    Disclaimer: I am not a member of unChain nor a voter in Catani Ward

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | October 19, 2012, 0:02
  13. Seems to plenty of examples of open preference swaps between liberals and Greens endorsed council candidates.
    Trent McCarthy in Darebin has swapped preferences with liberals in a desperate attempt to stop local environment campaigner David Redfearn from being elected.
    Even the local environment is jettisoned by Victoria Greens in their grubby grab for power in the third tier of government.

    Posted by Aqua alliance booming | October 19, 2012, 6:54
  14. Posted by It's time to revisit past articles | October 19, 2012, 7:22
  15. the Greens and the Liberal Party have also swapped preferences in Melbourne, Ken Ong who is on Gary Singer’s ticket, Gary Morgan and John Elliot and David Nolte have all preferences the Greens ahead of Robert Doyle.

    Posted by Jack Adrian | October 19, 2012, 9:47
  16. is Peter e Groot related to Charles de Groot?

    Posted by the Insider | October 19, 2012, 10:47
  17. The Liberals tried a similar trick back in 1985 thereabouts when they ran a save Prince Henry Hospital site, then located On St Kilda Road. The Prince Henry hospital was run down and earmarked for closure and resources would be spent on the nearby Prince Alfred Hospital and other outer suburbs hospitals that were being built. The Liberal Party in disguise maned the booths with their “Save the hospital” t-shirts and banners. When voters said they wanted to support local MP Robert Miller, they deceptively said that they had placed Robert Miller second on th4ir HTV card. What they did not mention is that Liberal contender was number one and that Miller would not see the second preference vote. Miller lost the election by 200 votes and with it control of the upper house. Votes that the Save Prince Henry mob stole by deception. It received little coverage at the time as most of the attention was focused on the Nuclear Disarmament Party’s deception in Nunnawading. Anther case of deception with the NDA allocating preferences to the Liberal party

    Voters should be aware of Liberals in anti-development t-shirts.

    Posted by melbcity | October 19, 2012, 12:16
  18. WTF ………..(St Kilda Police had often identified the Palace as a downmarket entertainment site known for its distribution of a variety of illicit narcotics).

    What a load of rubbish ! If it is correct please provide the source and the documentation to back up your claim otherwise I would strongly suggest you apologise in writing as I would be suggesting a law suit coming your way based on your comments !

    Prior to the corrupt Developers and the even more corrupt St Kilda Council, the Palace Entertainment venue was a world regarded entertainment venue. Like Mr Amster stated, not only was it a place of employment on a weekly basis for 100’s of people but it also brought much business to the local restuarants and cafes in St Kilda when open. I bet the locals shops miss the venue

    The old council was corrupt and Serge sorted them out with the likes of the Lord Major having to resign plus the Which on the $250k contract. And yes that was all Labour’s doing ! One would have hoped that Serge is still keeping them honest but I’m starting to wonder now.

    And yes, Jason Evans last attempt was funded by the Palace Venue, so before you write anymore crap, please get your story right !!!!


    Karen Duthrie
    St Kilda Resident

    Posted by Duthrie | October 19, 2012, 12:24
  19. St Kilda does not have a Lord Mayor. Never has. Your facts are wrong. The Palace was well known for it dubious activities.

    Posted by melbcity | October 19, 2012, 12:30
  20. See http://www.unchain.org.au for a good read

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | October 19, 2012, 12:45
  21. Point taken Melbcity; I was in fact being the City of Port Phillip; but I stand corrected.

    I’ll put it another way then, the corrupt leader of a pack of self shelving individuals that gave contracts to their own.
    I trust you cannot disagree with this.
    I take it you can not disagree with who funded Jason Evans last appearance.
    I trust it you can not disagree the the local businesses are suffering.

    And in finishing, what factal data do you have to suggest that the venue was dubious; Police reports ???? Ambulance reports ??? The world music industry didnt think that was the case !!!!
    Suggest you check out want happens in general society and even your own backyard before you start throwing stones !
    May I also suggest you check out the AUBIOUS activities in Fitzroy Street every single night of the week !!!

    And taliking of drugs; it is Fitzroy Street that is and has always done harm to the reputation of St Kilda. So I suggest you worry about the future and not the past and clean up the streets!!!

    Its a lovely day here in St Kilda so I best get back to my Restaurant that strongly miss the Palace venue.

    ps… I would love to see this factual data to back up your facts !

    Posted by Karen Duthrie | October 19, 2012, 13:12
  22. It seems that the Greens party is naively green indeed if it think Unchain is truly independent. Alternatively in certain municipalities , their green is deliberately tinged with a particular shade of blue. The question remains whose playing the tune and who is doing the dancing? There is truth in the old Chinese proverb, that, “he who rides a tiger, finds it difficult to dismount”. It is an open secret that the Liberals are circling inner Melbourne and using creative medium term strategies to gain power.

    Posted by Anita Horvath | October 19, 2012, 14:10
  23. Does anyone recall the Liberal Green nexus in Qld in the 90s? Then Green preferences saw the ousting of Wayne Goss over a proposed road through an are of mere local, not State or national significance, in favour of Rob Borbidge. Subsequently bulldozers decimated the State’s precious brigelow scrub, destroying its and other vast areas of endangered species habitat. Now some consulting zoologists, ecologists and biologists will NEVER vote green again.
    Pale & insipid green!!

    Posted by Anita Horvath | October 19, 2012, 14:15
  24. At the end of the day. I’d just like to know that when I vote, I am voting for a group / individaul that is going run a effective & profitable Council and one that will make St Kilda a enjoyable place to live & work.

    This election and past comments on this site all seem to be about which side of Politics people are on.

    Can someone PLEASE tell me if there is an independent who is REALLY a independent and not hiding behind Party Lines.

    PLEASE; I am so confused with who is giving it to who ?

    Surely there is someone that is thinking about the good of St Kilda and its residents and not about politics! Please advise

    Posted by Karen Duthrie | October 19, 2012, 14:23
  25. Melbcity; still waiting on those facts ????

    Any time soon would be good since you were so very quick to verbal your comments with assumed, and clearly, incorrect facts

    So as you would say to me prevoiusly “Your facts are wrong”. I only hope that you arent running for Council

    Posted by Karen Duthrie | October 19, 2012, 14:26
  26. I am a good read

    Posted by www.unchain.org.au | October 19, 2012, 15:06
  27. Ms Horvath – you are wrong. Just WRONG. unChain has no liberal party associations AT ALL. Your comments are libellous and 100% incorrect.
    Not unlike your campaign flyers, which were clearly written by someone illiterate and printed by the local library’s second-rate photocopier. Even your own Labor/CAPP running mates didn’t want to endorse you and are annoyed that they have to appear to support you.

    Posted by Sigmund Freud | October 22, 2012, 12:49
  28. Karen Duthie: Yes, vote unChain. They are 100% NOT connected to any political party, are not playing any sort of party politics and only want to work within Council to improve things in our community.
    Forget all the lies from the disgruntled labor and liberal party members, who think that they own the rights to run for Council and that anyone who isn’t a member of their party must automatically be a member of the other side.

    Posted by Sigmund Freud | October 22, 2012, 12:52
  29. Anita Horvath – I voted in Port Phillip on 26 Sep 12 and I am not in your ward but I viewed your website via your name link above.

    I am looking for candidates with a comprehensive platform which unChain has and poor attention to detail worries me.

    For example you as a CAPP candidate have a number of endorsement including one from Cr Frank O’Connor however you spelt his surname O’Conner.

    This was pretty funny when you said in your profile that you are the granddaughter of illiterate peasants.

    On your leaflet Cr O’Connor endorses your again and says “she has my vote” but Frank does not live in your ward he lives in Albert Park Ward.

    Then on Amanda Stevens site this CAPP candidate advertised a BBQ on Saturday 19 Oct 12. Saturday was 20 Oct 12 actually.

    Amanda I hope CAPP will be manning the election polling stations on Sunday 28 Oct 12.

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | October 22, 2012, 18:15
  30. melbcity – one of Melbourne’s hospitals is The Alfred Hospital not Prince Alfred Hospital. The latter is a hospital in dysfunctional Sydney I think

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | October 22, 2012, 22:03
  31. Jason Evans is a fraud. Dick Gross himself – the Mayor at that time – was shocked when he found out that Jason Evans was getting paid by the Sacred Heart Mission to run the Community Cup as everyone assumed he was doing it for nothing! And the Sacred Heart Mission withdrew from the Cup as Evans became too greedy and wanted more money. Evans is now paid by the new beneficiary Reclink to organise the Cup. If Evans is running his campaign on his Community Cup track record, if I was living in Catani, I would put him last on the ballot paper!! I did not think the ALP has fallen so low to endorse someone like Jason Evans with Dick Gross handing out his flyer at the St Kilda Town Hall!! Disgraceful!!

    Posted by Peter Green | October 23, 2012, 0:06
  32. I have seen Mr Evans leaflet and he looks spooky

    Posted by Ita Everage | October 23, 2012, 0:34
  33. Dear Melbcity,
    You have gone very quiet. I am still waiting on that factual data that you were going to supply me about drugs / police etc re: the palace venue?????
    Or could it actually be a fairy tale that you have created for your own benefit.
    I have already made my decision and voted. So I have done my bit.
    I wonder Melbcity, as you are clearly running, do you intend to do anything about the drugs in and about Fitzory Street.
    Or are you going to do anything about the Palsis? I understand that the operator of the Palsis is Council appointed that that little or no rent is being paid by the operator.
    Will you ensure that the Palsis Operator pays commerical based rent to repay the Council / State Government for all the money being spent on renov’s.
    There seems to be many left contracts from the Gross days that are not only uncommercial but do not sit well with the level of rates WE are paying.

    Melbcity; where are you? I need answrs ???????

    Posted by Karen Duthrie | October 23, 2012, 11:06
  34. So I think the moral to this story is and to the comments on this site:
    1. when running a campaign; never lie
    2. when making comment; have the balls to stand by them
    3. when making comment; never make unfactual comments without the ability to back them up
    4. never piss off a local business operator
    5. never piss off a local rate payer who ACTUALLY lives in the area and who is most likely more aware of the politics and the past then someone who may be running!
    6. never piss off a women !!!!!


    Posted by Karen Duthrie | October 23, 2012, 11:37
  35. “6. never piss off a women !!!!!”


    7. never use a plural when the context is singular.
    But I’ll make allowances because you are a sheila and probably went to a Gumment Skool

    Posted by the real wm | October 23, 2012, 12:37
  36. Fitzroy St?
    The Palace?
    Why single them out?

    50% of the population of St Kilda are dole-bludging junkies (sorry … artists awaiting discovery)
    Biggest mistake Kennett made was forcing law-abiding citizens of Albert Park and Middle Park in with the dross of St Kilda.

    Posted by Algernon of Albert Park | October 23, 2012, 12:43
  37. LOL.

    To “the real wm”, sorry I dropped out of school in year 8 so my grammer isnt the best but I do own a award winning restuarant and have been an international chef. Thank you for your correction. You should drop into my venue one day; its on the beach and has a lovely view of the bay !

    To “Algernon of Albert Park” wanker!

    Got to go and cook

    Posted by Karen Duthrie | October 23, 2012, 13:44
  38. “Grammar”, darling …. the correct spelling is “Grammar”.

    As in “All the chaps in my club went to Geelong Grammar”

    Not “grammer”

    Posted by Algernon of Albert Park | October 23, 2012, 14:40
  39. Has anybody thought to ask what Kim Duthie thinks about all of this?

    Posted by Stkilda schoolgirl | October 23, 2012, 20:38
  40. Did someone mention a school girl? I am always up for giving a teenage girl a ‘lift’ all the way home.

    Posted by RDR | October 23, 2012, 22:37
  41. That CAPP candidate in St Kilda Jason Evans sure showed his true thuggish colours at St Kilda Town Hall last Tuesday after the last council meeting. See the story in The Age newspaper and the video on-line called “Council election mired in mud” of 25th October 2012.

    Evans was hanging around with CAPP dirty tricks organisers Jeff Lyons, Peter Logan, Caroline Hutchins and some of the other CAPP drop kicks and the town hall after function.

    Disgusting Communists all of them that would not be welcome in either Camberwell or Moonee Ponds. Menzies tried to ban them.

    Posted by Ita Everage | October 25, 2012, 16:31
  42. Ita Everidge, I think the term “disgusting communists” is a bit much when describing CAPP.

    CAPP are no such thing.

    Your comments do not help unchain.

    You sound ignorant and right wing when you make such comments.

    I know unchain would not condone such comments, as they are not at all right wing (more like no wing) and do not see CAPP in that way at all.

    Posted by Sigmund Freud | October 26, 2012, 14:37
  43. The 3 winning CAPP candidate only scrapped in while the 3 unChain candidates won more convincingly, particularly Thomann who got over 50% of the first preference vote.

    The Liberal Bond did well too.

    This is that start of the decline of CAPP and about time as they are a narrow issue focused group of hacks

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | October 29, 2012, 23:16
  44. “Posted by the real wm | October 23, 2012, 12:37”


    Posted by wm | October 31, 2012, 14:41
  45. I remember when we invaded Norway in 1940 and the Norwegian PM assisted our forces and the occupation government. His name as Mr Quisling and after WW2 quisling was a term used to describe a traitor.

    Last night a modern day “quisling” turned on her group, unChain, at the council meeting on 07 Nov 12 to elect the new Mayor of Port Phillip. Elwood’s Cr Jane Touzeau voted for a CAPP/ALP/SAP scumbag for Mayor.

    Posted by Heinz Guderian | November 8, 2012, 1:33