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FRANCIS LEACH: Surly small-time sports-broadcaster’s secret stacking shame shown

Francisleach2Our intrepid reporting on the life and slimes of Peter Roebuck saw us slug it out on Twitter with many who thought it was indecent of us to write the truth about the circumstances of his death. Now everyone’s doing it, hours after VEXNEWS. All very sad and horrible, especially for victims of what seems to be serial sexual predatory behaviour that his ABC and Fairfax employers failed to stop.

Involved in this debate was a low-ranking, high-stench B-grade sports-broadcaster Francis Leach who was upset we’d singled him out in our article as professing his love for Peter Roebuck with declarations that he’d miss the perv dearly.

He was waiting for his butt to be kicked, to use a perhaps unfortunate analogy given the perverted abuse dished out by Peter Roebuck on the victims of his sexually predatory behaviour.

We noted, completely gratuitously, that Leach had a past that he probably doesn’t talk much about at dinner parties with inner-city effete journalist friends in that he was an ALP branch-stacker.

On Twitter, he expressed incredulity, shock and disbelief at this suggestion.

Nothing wrong with a bit of enthusiastic political party multiple-recruitment, in our view, but Leach seemed miffed and demanded details. A bit foolish – and he’s such a low-rank schlepper that it hardly seems worth the effort – but here goes.

Throughout the 1990s, in the Melbourne Ports Federal Electorate Assembly of the Australian Labor Party, Leach was a member through most of that time.

In my capacity back then as a concerned political warrior, it was my business to know the ‘story’ of pretty much every member at the time. It was my custom to maintain files on the interesting ones.

Leach, then a Triple J broadcaster, was associated with a shadowy grouping known as the “Network” which maintained many dozens of “stacks” or members in many FEA’s. One operative within the “Network” (which was a moderate faction aligned with the National Union of Workers, whose name in Arabic was ‘al-Qaeda’ so they dropped the branding at some point) explained that Leach was of “theirs” and that other competing moderates or Labor right-wingers should “leave him alone.” Sure enough, dutifully, the stack Leach would attend and take one of the How-To-Votes and blindly follow it, as part of the healthy expression of democracy that is so often associated with internal party ballots.

We don’t allege Leach was a “stack” in the sense that the “Network” paid his membership fees, an expellable offence these days, but he certainly was in the sense that he was an unquestioning and obedient “Network” disciple who was happy to take orders from his sub-factional superiors. Joining the ALP to merely support one particular candidate is deemed as “branch-stacking” under party rules, a reform ironically ushered in by former party and NUW boss Greg Sword, who was a sort of chief elderly patron of the Network, the group Leach swore loyalty to.

Sources say he was a member of one of the bayside branches in the ALP, either Elwood or St Kilda, a fact we couldn’t check without obtaining a copy of his ALP membership records from their private database. Perhaps The Age’s hacking co-conspirators could help us out on that one.

We hadn’t much thought about him until the last federal election when he was tweeting up a storm about a local MP being a branch-stacking so-and-so. Clearly takes one to know one.

UPDATE: Sources close to Francis Leach deny he was a member of the “Network” (in truth there was no ‘the’ anyway, we just add that to make it sound more sinister) and that he gave up his ALP membership in 1997 when he joined the ABC, as many journalists do, including this one. Fair enough. Perhaps we’ve over-cooked this goose and should step off now and, in that spirit, note that we added the red star to his Mao hat, using the wonders of the VEXNEWS Photoshop Unit. We have now got Mr Leach out of our system.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. oh dear!

    Posted by Anonymous | November 14, 2011, 8:49
  2. OMG an ALP factional member doing what the faction leader tell him to do, now that is newsworthy!!

    Posted by comrade | November 14, 2011, 9:01
  3. No surprise Roebuck’s mates were out with all the fury of a Penn State riot.

    Posted by mark | November 14, 2011, 10:30
  4. I rather like the bitchy slurs you cast far and wide but wish you had the courage to put a name to the articles. Hiding under the Vex News nom de plume is a bit cowardly when you’re in the business of pulling petals off tall poppies.

    Posted by Brian | November 14, 2011, 11:16
  5. There has been such a rush to sanctify this creep that one wonders if the jounos are trying to head off a deeper inquiry into the culture.

    Is there such an expression as “a daisy chain of journalists”?

    Posted by kevin | November 14, 2011, 11:50
  6. Why pick on Francis?

    Posted by strange | November 14, 2011, 12:02
  7. This is the first time I have visited VEXNEWS. I did so because I have come to respect Francis a great deal. Having visited this site I can see that my original instincts about Francis were correct – as I suspect is my current instinct never to visit this try-hard backwater of 3rd rate, provincial political scandal ever again. I should have spend these past 5 minutes with my young son rather than this tripe………

    Posted by Mahony | November 14, 2011, 17:25
  8. He was a pawn and is still a pawn. Totally dispensible in politics and sports media.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | November 14, 2011, 17:48
  9. I enjoyed many a day ‘dogging’ with this fine man.

    Posted by Pistopher Chryne | November 14, 2011, 19:24
  10. Francis Leach. Love him. Great broadcaster who is funny and has a moral compass. I’ve really enjoyed his time on SEN – the majority of elite sports people are conservative in their politics, so it’s refreshing to hear him on there shaking things up.

    Posted by Les Argen | November 14, 2011, 20:24
  11. Mr Landeryou, I think your past is MUCH worse than that of Francis Leach

    Posted by Jimbo Jones | November 14, 2011, 20:52
  12. Well …. if he branch stacks like he calls sport …. democracy is safe.

    Posted by Toad of Toad Hall | November 14, 2011, 21:22
  13. Vexnews – Wow, journalism from another universe

    Posted by Anonymous | November 15, 2011, 20:24
  14. Two pieces of this story don’t add up:

    1. “In my capacity back then as a concerned political warrior, it was my business to know the ‘story’ of pretty much every member at the time…”; and

    2. “Sources say he was a member of one of the bayside branches in the ALP, either Elwood or St Kilda, a fact we couldn’t check without obtaining a copy of his ALP membership records…”

    So you pretty much made it your business to know about everyone, but didn’t know which branch Leach belonged to and have to rely on ‘sources’. [VEXNEWS: From 1997? You have a better memory than I can manage!]

    Definite credability deficit problem Mr Vex News, what-ever your real name is. [VEXNEWS: Try looking it up.]

    Posted by Leigh | November 16, 2011, 7:30
  15. Yeah, I looked up Vex News on Twitter and found someone named Andrew Landeryou. But his Twitter profile says he’s a journalist…and no journalist would put their name to ‘make-stuff-up’ material like this.
    Oh wait, that’s right…nobody has put their name to this.

    Posted by Leigh | November 16, 2011, 9:11
  16. B Grade broadcaster got that right.

    Posted by Shakespeare | November 27, 2011, 19:43


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