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STRIKING BACK: Kelly O’Dwyer attacked for "lacking political judgment" in Higgins scrap

kod3 The Higgins knife-fight is reaching its crescendo with patriots and candidates alike making the case for their candidate. The candidate will be selected on Thursday, sadly without the splendid offering of scones and jam provided to the Wannon crew.

Kelly O’Dwyer started out being unbackable favourite after her connections messed with the feed of the other starters.

And yet snow-bunny loan-shark gazillionaire Andrew Abercrombie has defied the directives of Michael Kroger and decided to have a crack anyway. Yesterday we ran a story chronicling his campaign techniques and providing our usual free character assessment.

A member of the VEXNEWS Investigations Unit thought it all most unjust and reckoned we should be equal opportunity slaggers. We concur, so here it is:

Why does everyone assume Kelly O’Dwyer has got Higgins in her Gucci hangbag. You can’t bully your way to the top in the Liberal party, oh, unless you’re Peter Costello. LOL. Anyway check out this wankfest of which Kelly O’Dwyer is a board member: Creativity Australia.

It has this syrupy vision statement:

Our Vision: To unlock the innate creativity present in all human beings, so as to improve mental health and wellbeing, social cohesion, innovation and productivity

I am not taking sides on this preselection (I like Kelly) but I do like a bit of competition.

That can’t be said of the rancid Michael Kroger.  I have also heard that Kroger called Margaret Jackson to vigorously tick her off about daring to support Abercrombie. Apparently she was so annoyed she called Big Red (Ted)to complain. “These nouveau riche types can be so vulgar, can’t they Ted?”

Truthfully, I suspect Kelly will win easily; the real problem for Liberal Party is that Kelly like Dan Tehan is another former Howard Government hack. Self made business people like Stephen Mitchell and Abercrombie are overlooked, even belittled by the staffer class. Is the party becoming too smart by half at the expense of self made business and professionals.

It might also be noted that Sophie Mirabella possibly broke party rules talking to the media about preselection matters to The Age’s Misha Schubert. Did Nutty tell her off? Or bring the snarly bitch to heel? Let’s not overdo the dog metaphor in case Mirabella’s political correctness storm-troopers come bursting in.

Mirabella’s risky and morally dubious intervention smacked of the kind of thuggishness and lack of subtlety for which she is well-known throughout the party. Party members are now primed to ask O’Dwyer what her involvement is with Mirabella and whether O’Dwyer sanctioned the public attack on Abercrombie.

Not that VEXNEWS could ever put a foot wrong but its sources when attacking Abercrombie were also clearly linked to O’Dwyer. Did she approve of yesterday’s very nasty attack on his business, on his family and other stupid issues?

O’Dwyer backers – despite being very comfortably ahead – have made the judgment that they needed to publicly besmirch the good name of one of the party’s principal financial supporters in Higgins. It could back-fire. So could the decision to impose an improper intervention on the democratic process by Michael Kroger, the Coodabeen Champion of the Victorian Liberal party.

If you can’t make good judgments, you’re not going to be a good politician.

O’Dwyer’s questionable involvement in a shadowy organisation”Creativity Australia” also deserves probing.

I would defy anyone to actually explain in simple English what it is that Creativity Australia does, and what purpose it actually serves.

There are certainly a number of very important people involved. Dame Elisabeth Murdoch is a patron. And she of course can do no wrong so we exclude her from any criticism.

And yet Victorian Liberal Senator Mitch Fifield and former Victorian Upper House member and multi millionaire Evan Thornley are both listed as being ‘Thought Leaders’, whatever that is.

Mitch and Evan are known for a lot of things, but being ‘leaders in thought’ aren’t among those things that immediately spring to mind.

There is also a list of ‘Creative Partners’, which includes Hawker Britton, Australian Secondary Principals Association (ie. the Principals Union),Victorian Public Sector Continuous Improvement Network (clearly not active in the CFA or in the state’s public transport system), Multicultural Arts Victoria and the curiously named Centre for Social Impact.

On further examination The Centre for Social Impact is actually part of the University of NSW and boasts Gareth Evans’ old girlfriend Cheryl Kernot as its Director of Teaching and Learning and ‘Social Enterprise’.

And perhaps most importantly of all, the future member for Higgins and Prime Minister in waiting Kelly O’Dwyer is listed as a board member.

Although we do wonder why someone with such a bright future in the Liberal Party would want to associate her name with the likes of such well known Labor luminaries as Evan Thornley, Cheryl Kernot and entities such as Hawker Britton.

But then again, it’s all in the name of being ‘creative’, which appears to mean socialising with people who should be your political enemies.

Is it not also a serious lack of political judgement on the part of Ms O’Dwyer, or is she genuinely seeking to build bridges across the political divide?


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  1. Given the comments of Fran Bailey in today’s Spencer Street Soviet, and Sophie’s comments from yesterday, one hopes that Nutty has given both of them an absolute bollocking, as only Nutty can do. If he hasn’t then it’s pretty damn obvious where 104 stands on the Higgins pre selection.

    Posted by Broad church supporter | September 16, 2009, 9:29
  2. This is call going to be moot if Costello changes his mind b4 the next election visa vi Colin Barnett.

    Posted by anonski | September 16, 2009, 9:38
  3. *Correction* This all will be moot if Costello changes his mind b4 the next election visa vi Colin Barnett.

    Posted by anonski | September 16, 2009, 9:39
  4. The whole Abercrombie thing is a beat up. Comments attributed to him or his supporters as sexist towards O’Dwyer arre denied by his camp. Somehow Misha Schubert writes it up as gospel inviting Bailey and Mirabella can comment on it against party rules.

    Nutty,where is the fairness?

    Posted by blink | September 16, 2009, 10:00
  5. She has no judgement. Unlike myself. I am so hot. That’s what Tony Jones tells me anyway.

    Posted by Timmy Wilson | September 16, 2009, 10:12
  6. get it right – it’s timmeh

    Posted by Cancerous Cell | September 16, 2009, 10:23
  7. Exactly. Fuck off and die O’Dwyer.

    Posted by Higgo | September 16, 2009, 10:57
  8. Thank goodness for the Internet and this forum! At least you can have a say about issues of (public?) concern which are not always possible unless you have some form of public notoriety, or are a journalist.

    Anyway as someone who has no public notoriety or the ability to write articles in our daily newspapers, here is my 2 bobs worth….

    As a devoted Liberal Party member I find it very disappointing that one of the most prized blue ribbon Liberal seats in Victoria has only 2 people running in the pre-selection convention.

    The convention for the Federal seat of Higgins this Thursday night will have a very successful 53 year old businessman in Mr Andrew Abercrombie and an ex-staffer to the retiring Mr Costello in 32 year old Ms Kelly O’Dwyer vying for endorsement.

    Certainly reading through both their applications (they fell off the back of an Age delivery van) I can clearly see both candidates laying out their respective claims to be the endorsed candidate. Mr Abercrombie highlights the things he has achieved in his successful career so far while Ms O’Dwyer outlines what she has the abilities to do. Her future potential are also backed up in a glowing reference from Mr Costello.

    But the real issue here is not Mr Abercrombie or Ms O’Dwyer’s quest to be the next member of Higgins. The real issue here is about the corruption of the process to select the very best candidate.

    Let’s not beat around the bush. Ms O’Dwyer is in the Costello/Kroger faction. She has been in that faction for some time now. The key operative in this faction is Michael Kroger. Ms O’Dwyer has been ‘anointed’ by the Costello/Kroger faction to be the replacement for Mr Costello. Mr Kroger is doing whatever it takes to make this happen and with military (and sometimes subtle) precision. You have to give it to him. He and his entourage certainly manipulate the system to get what they want. They have done this for many years.

    The Constitution of the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party recently changed. A large part of the change was to weed out the corruption in the pre-selection processes. This was a major concern to many party members.

    Plebiscites have now been introduced so that every member of the Party in a particular electorate is entitled to vote for their preferred candidate. This was to negate the ability to manipulate the previous small amounts of elected Branch Delegates entitled to attend a pre-selection convention (typically 50 to 60 people). Indeed the pre-selection convention this Thursday night will have a plebiscite of some 300 to 350 delegates!

    So the ball game has changed. Trying to manipulate how 60 people are to vote is a much easier ‘job’ than trying to manipulate how 350 people vote. It would be easier to herd a group of cats!

    So what do you do in a large plebiscite situation to get what you want? Well if you can’t control how the delegates will vote then you must eliminate all prospective candidates except the ‘anointed’ one! The convention would then not need to proceed!

    So this was the job in front of Mr Kroger. Anyone who popped their head up and showed any interest in running for Higgins promptly had their heads chopped off. Excellent people like John Roskam and Tim Wilson were made an ‘offer they could no refuse’ and backed out of the race under intimidation. Pity really.

    But then Mr Kroger struck Mr Abercrombie. Apparently Mr Kroger spoke to Mr Abercrombie on the telephone for over 90 minutes trying to convince/threaten/cajole him to not run. It was like the ship in a shit storm trying to ask the lighthouse to get out of its way. Thank goodness for Mr Abercrombie. At least he has put a holt to this corruption and has forced a pre-selection to actually take place, albeit with only 2 candidates.

    Now we see the Kroger/Costello subtle manipulation bearing its teeth in the Age newspapers. The recent articles written by Misha Schubert about sexism in the race for Higgins is without doubt being driven by Mr Kroger and Mr Costello (I know Ms Schubert will be reading this through pressed lips – how dare someone/anyone question my journalistic integrity!) I guess if you throw enough public mud, some is sure to stick eh Michael.

    But you know I find it extremely difficult to understand Mr Kroger’s present end game? I mean when all this mischief was being played in the last several years the end game was clear – to ensure Peter Costello was the next Prime Minister of Australia. But now what? I know you will be reading this Michael. What is your end game now? Is it ego? Is it some guarantee of continual influence at the higher levels of the National and Victorian governments for business reasons? Just what is it?

    I really think in the best interest of the Liberal Party in Victoria and in the best interests of the integrity of the new constitutional reforms the Higgins pre-selection planned for this Thursday night should not proceed.

    If you are a delegate to the convention you will be asked to vote on whether the convention should proceed.

    I suggest the convention should vote NO on the basis that the pre-selection process has been corrupted.

    Applications should be re-opened and new candidates called for.

    The State President and the State Director should council Mr Kroger that this behaviour is no longer acceptable and if he is not willing to abide by this fairness and democracy then he should leave the Liberal Party.

    Posted by Fair Go | September 16, 2009, 11:27
  9. mirabella and bailey complaining– please
    relevence depredation syndrome raise their ugly heads
    tell me this isnt juat a self promotional whinge for these untalented ones who have been largely forgotton

    Posted by Anonymous | September 16, 2009, 12:52
  10. Fair Go @ 11.27, I agree with your sentiment, but a non-starter preselection would only further feed into the narrative that the Liberals are not ready to govern.

    Posted by Steve Sensible | September 16, 2009, 13:20
  11. Look at that photo!

    SHE’S A VAMPIRE!!!!!

    Posted by Higgo | September 16, 2009, 13:56
  12. The Libs have definately missed two opportunities to renew the party by selecting staffers and 104’ers ahead of members from the real world in both Wannon and Higgins.
    So much for renewel.

    Posted by Lib Member | September 16, 2009, 14:22
  13. Neither is a communist so i won’t be voting for either twat.

    Posted by Reds are better in bed | September 16, 2009, 15:51
  14. I hear that Andrew Bolt will announce his candidacy for Higgins, which is well after pre-selection candidacy has closed and he’ll properly do it after the election.

    Posted by Tim Flair (nudge nudge wink wink) | September 16, 2009, 15:57
  15. yeh – center for social impact – the greatest joke around. Who is its CEO – former secretary to the Prime Minister’s Dept – under John Howard. Just before the election, government announces $7 million dollars to start this new entity. Two months after election, who gets the CEO Job – Howard’s man. This needs real investigation. Andy, a separate investigation

    Posted by Friend of Rampant | September 16, 2009, 18:36
  16. If successful in Higgins perhaps O’Dwyer might end up being Kroger new 3rd wife.

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | September 16, 2009, 18:49
  17. Both are good candidates

    Posted by Dismal scientist | September 16, 2009, 20:43
  18. woo hoo whacko sticks his head up again to be stupid & nasty – why change the habits of a lifetime that have earned him so many friends

    Posted by Cancerous Cell | September 16, 2009, 22:18
  19. No I am serious being of middle eastern stock with a small gene pool I hear he likes a bit of Anglo Celtic fluff to sow his seed with to improve the Kroger lineage. Just ask Helen and Ann.

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | September 16, 2009, 22:26
  20. Why no caption? Will Morgan couldn’t be that difficult to identify, surely?

    Posted by Jack McCracken | September 16, 2009, 22:46
  21. Also if O’Dwyer is preselected and eventually becomes PM after the next election will Michael be known as “the first gentleman”

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | September 16, 2009, 22:48
  22. Will who?

    Not Will son of Hugh?

    Posted by Anonski | September 16, 2009, 22:50
  23. shwing……..shwing,shwing

    Posted by Im Pete Smith | September 17, 2009, 2:46
  24. Higgins Honeys…

    This pre-selection contest is a sham. Seriously, it’s a sham.

    A manipulated,unmitigated, pathetic & dishonest sham…

    A seat like Higgins should have attracted a much bigger and infinitely higher profiled field than it has… seriously…

    Why didn’t it?

    Potential candidate stand overs, media stunts, dirt sandwiches all round and factional territorialism that makes the ALP look like amatuers. That’s why.

    Look at the “choice” you have got. It would be hilarious really, if it wasn’t so sad.

    Any self respecting Higgins delegate will vote NO to the pre-selection proceeding.

    The rest – the captives – the foolish and the terminally conservative will vote ‘yes’ and most likely elect a typist of local press releases, composer of constituent letters – with a mediocre law degree who once worked for a bank.


    This will happen because she was hired to type those press releases and letters by a man who might have been PM, but didn’t have the guts to go for it – and fell upon his own sword.

    Honeys… this is a pathetic outcome.

    If you are a honey… Vote NO!

    Posted by Natasha the Despoiler | September 17, 2009, 4:04
  25. I noticed the Bradfield nominations (for retiring Brendan Nelson’s seat in NSW) closed yesterday with 20 strong candidates putting themselves forward for nomination. Now thats what I call a healthy democracy!

    Posted by R Menzies | September 17, 2009, 6:26
  26. Vote No that the Convention Proceeds in Higgins tonight.

    You know it’s the right thing to do.

    Posted by Anon | September 17, 2009, 9:05
  27. It just goes to show that no rejigging of the constitution or passing the oranges round during three quarter time in one of Kemp’s long winded speeches to state council has changed anything. The kroeger/costello faction is still putting itself in the way of the party preselecting good candidates. Helen is a prime example, comfy job, wizard of id skullduggery that is……..

    Posted by anon | September 17, 2009, 12:48
  28. tell you a little secret. nobody can force a liberal to vote for any particular candidate. you people can’t have met many liberals if you think they can be moulded like a jelly. rounding up votes in the liberal party is like herding cats. the role of the factions is over-stated, particularly by those who think michael kroger can snap his fingers & have a bunch of zombies dance to whatever tune he wishes. michael is listened to & respected by many, but in the end people make up their own minds. it is only deluded old has-beens and never-weres like ken aldred & bev macarthur who think there is a vast krogerite conspiracy with evil minions spending every waking moment plotting to bring them down

    Posted by Cancerous Cell | September 17, 2009, 13:32
  29. Honey…

    If the Zombie fits, just wear it.

    Posted by Natasha the Despoiler | September 18, 2009, 1:50


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