Abalinx Newsletter 18
ALTERNATIVE POINTS OF VIEW.
It is envisaged that within four years, the Victorian Division will see a major shift in in its membership and leadership led by A new generation of Liberals. Since the change of guard, Robert Clark has failed to bring about change that would unite everyone under the one umbrella. As such the young Liberals have been silently placing key people in electorates with the view of taking over the electorate and inserting their own people.
Liberals should take a good look at what is happening quietly in the electorates. None too soon if you ask me. I have always supported a generational change, especially whilst we are in opposition. We should be training a new generation, preparing for the next election, supporting the Prime Minister and his ministers, supporting the Victorian Federal and state Ministers and assisting Michael O’Brien to do his job as Opposition Leader. Let the Old Guard remain as Mentors and elders of the party.
From an organisational perspective, if I were Robert Clark, I would be reviewing the membership wing as it is in great need of an upgrade. Sean Armistead is out of his depth and has done more harm than any other Membership officer in the past. His alleged investigations against members who he has judged as undesirable are the very same Liberals who fought tooth and nail to give him the freedom that he enjoys today.
Political direction, campaigns, training, staff matters, use of media and social media, relationships, branches, policies and selection of candidates are but some of the issues that need to be addressed. This can be achieved by a committee consisting of grass root members, campaign managers, Branch Presidents (not Electoral Council Chairmen), State Director, President and facilitated by a member selected from the grassroots.
Robert Clark should give the committee twelve months with funds and material support to visit and converse with as many members (including those at large). A report no matter what the results are should be presented and acted upon providing the recommendations are within Liberal party philosophy and accepted guidelines. If Robert Clark wakes up to himself he can use one of his numerous committees to research, explore, observe and report on the Victorian Division and it will require a strategic plan. To ensure a plan of action is successfully implemented, the organisation’s “state of readiness” must be evaluated. This involves assessing the existence of:
a. A strong organisational vision with achievable objectives’
b. The necessary skills of staff, volunteer office bearers and grassroots members’
c. The resources necessary to accomplish the task, both financial and non-financial’ and
d. A clear action plan to accomplish the strategy
If all these are in place, assuming there are no changes in environment and competition, success is more likely to be achieved. Without a clear vision, confusion over where and why the strategy is important may result. Without the necessary skill sets, staff and volunteers may feel anxious about their ability to accomplish the task. All well said and done, but Will Robert Clark see beyond his glasses. I think not. Alleged tampering of Annual General Meeting delagates persist. The State Director is powerless to intervene due to lack of complaints. We shall see the end results from intersting electorates very soon. Word has reached Abalinx ENews that grass root members are mobilising to suspend Ian Quick frrom the Liberal party. The reason goven is @conduct gravely detrmental to the best interests of the party. Apparently its on account of his repeatedly sending to large membes Newsletters alleged defaming, denigrating, and harassing a wide range of party members. It has been rumoured that Ian Quick, Grant Hutchinson, Russell Joseph and Peter Angelico have been burning the midnight oil. Some say that it is a brand new Constitution designed to give Robert lark and his gang of ten more power. Personnaly I think this is mere scuttlebut and rumour, but then again in the world of politics, expect the unexpected. Members of parliaments, Electorate Staff, and members are saying the current State Directors emails for suspension of long time Liberal very amateurish. The State Director should be concentrating on manageing the Secreatriat.
REASONS FOR A DWINDLING MEMBERSHIP
There are many reasons for the dwindling membership within any organisation and yet despite all good intentions the membership erodes over time. Yes we do tend to blame it all on the leadership, especially when we have an axe to grind or find that the recruiting methodologies do not agree with our own personal biases.
I must confess that I too have fallen into the trap of profiling members wrongly, only to find out later that the individual had much to offer. Today I do not look at a member and enquire about the community or ethnic makeup. I simply look at the ember to ascertain whether the Liberal party could benefit from the members skills and knowledge.
When we recruited in the North it was mainly around family based concepts, because that what the demographics of the North demonstrated to those of us who bothered to sit down and create a recruiting programme. Some have gone onto bigger and better things within the party while others were content with remaining within their current branch, SEC or FEC.
I am of the opinion that there are five main stakeholders which are considered essential to membership longevity. They are: the individual member, the leaders, influencers, mentors, and coordinators at all levels within the party. In the North we applied these stake holder concepts effectively. As we were located within the Red Zone (Labor) we were free to practice new models of recruitment, conduct campaign studies and new ideas and concepts. All of these created an air of belonging and empowerment. Our studies over a twenty five year period identified following factors that assisted us to overcome poor membership.
No persona face to face interaction
Involved in a political organisation
No personal development or growth
Bored and listless
No personal value
Branch structure lacks legitimacy
No reason for remaining
Constitution too rigid
No recruiting drives
Disunity amongst members
No retention plan
Don’t believe in the organisation
No sense of loyalty
Factional battles undermine trust
No sense of pride
Goals and recruiting targets
No sense of value
No vision or definite objectives
Ideology not for individual
Not getting money’s worth
Not made to feel welcome
Organisation out of touch
People drift away
KPI for members of parliament
People pass away
Lack of acknowledgement
Lack of relationships
Lack of trust
Membership fees too expensive
Mentor aspiring leaders
No duty of care
The brand is wrong
No follow up for new members
No generational change
Too many controls
Too many external distractions
No longer fashionable
Life skills & experience not considered
Much of the above elements of membership could be arrested by the introduction of a Membership Retention Program – (MRP). In other words the MRP concept would involve a Recruitment, Retention and Review process that will enable planners and financial controllers to forecast trends and seek solutions. Electorates do not need to branch stack if they can identify good, skilled and knowledgeable people and retaining them during periods of political inactivity. Create a family of networks and maintain communication. Robert Clark can still win the vast majority of the grass roots if consults widely and take into consideration the political life experiences and counsel of others.
A MONKS TALE. Here I am sitting in the boardroom sipping a glass of red wine purchased from the Collins Monastery cellars. I am taking time off so that I can plan my next escapade. I am exhausted from all the character assassinations and spreading of malicious rumours that I have to travel incognito at times, hence the dark glasses. Now as I am relaxing, I am wondering who I will shaft next.
My name is Brother ‘Ess Kew’ and known by my nickname as ‘SQ’. My job is to cause chaos, disruption, division and disharmony amongst the various villages below the monastery. I do that so that they fight amongst themselves and leave us to do whatever we want. Yes it’s a good life.
It’s great being on the board. I don’t have to answer to no one. When the Abbot arrives I let him sit on the throne and let him think he rules the monastery. Little does the Abbot know that every day we monks are undermining him! We force our will upon the peasants in the villages below and they in turn rise up against the Abbot. Just the other day we influenced the Deacon, a hired hand from the Apple isle to hang high one of the elders from the villages. But the elder is a crafty bastard and slipped through the noose. We are holding early pre-selections so that we can install our own stooge and thus create jobs for the monk’s. Our first preselection will be in village of Menzies.
We are going to win that easy. We have been very crafty and spread misinformation about the Menzies Chieftain. Our candidate is a veteran who will do what he is told. We don’t care what the peasants think for we are better than them. Once we get that win up our sleeves we will put a spanner in the younger members and deprive them of any voice. We will crush all of the next generation and bend them to our will. Ahhh yes that wine is soothing to the throat. Nothing like feeling the amber liquid going down the throat. Especially after a hard day of defying the Pontiff in Canberra. We all squealed with joy when we told his eminence that we were not going to be told what to do. After all we rule the roost down under. We may even cancel our annual May festivities and remain all of the peasants and minions below. After all we hold the power. We are all else and no one can touch us.
We shall bribe the Committee of scribes with bottles of sweet wine and nectar so that they will interpret the good book to our advantage and use it against the villagers or anyone who opposes us. We will rule forever. We are the true representatives of the faith. We rule because we control the assets, the finances and have the scribes in our pocket. The Abbott is but a fool who has lost touch with reality. I had better go now as I hear the Abbott shuffling into my chamber. Cheering for now. I will send you another despatch some time later. Brother ‘Ess Kew’ alias ‘SQ’
This silent takeover of the young Liberals is fast becoming a reality. The young Liberals believe that it’s not to their advantage to confront Robert Clark and his gang of supporters until all electorates have completed their Annual General Meetings and the fiasco of the early pre-selections is almost complete. The young Liberals media, communications committees and networks are slowly being formed to combat the Janus Brotherhood, the Robert Clark sycophants and Scott Ryan supporters. Web Warriors has been identified as been a tool used to gather information for the Dark Side and less is being exposed by members. They are fed up with the Administrators censoring their comments. This is not what Web Warriors was originally designed for.
It is alleged that the following members; John Renyard, Jan Cooper, David Everist, Christine Stow, Bernie Finn, Karina Okotel and company, Scott Ryan, Sean Armistead, Ian Quick and those others of their ilk social media platforms have tightened their communication protocols when they realised that they had been infiltrated. Gone are the numerous photographs and silly stupid comments, only to be found amongst the emails sent to one another. John Renyard emails have not gone unnoticed. Gathering information for the May State Council is time consuming but well worth the trouble if it is to bring about the removal of Robert Clark and his gang of ten.
The latest to be leaked out of the Secretariate is that Ian Quick is alleged to have said that he wants to change the computer system at the Secretariate. He believes that the free Linux program will remove many of the loop holes and back doors associated with current system platforms.
As someone who has used Linux on his servers in the past, all that I can say is good luck with Linux Mr Ian Quick. A good program that requires maintenance and update by qualied people. Hm, maybe it’s a job for the boys. Is not Ian Quick a self professed Computer guru.
Never in the history of the Liberal party have so few been able to create so much havoc and division as these. SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE DARK SIDE
GRASS ROOTS DISCUSSION PAPER
LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA (VICTORIAN DIVISION) PROPOSED DISCUSSION POINTS
Preamble. The aims of this discussion paper is to create a robust debate amongst the younger generation. A generation waiting silently in the wings. It is not intended to be seen as another reform document for such documents are to be found everywhere. There is more to come in future ENewsletters.
ORGANISATION – PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS FOR REFORM
- What is the actual legal (corporate) structure of the Liberal Party organisation in Victoria?
- Should the Victorian Division adopted a legal structure as that of a company (limited in liability)? If so, then legal responsibilities and sanctions to its corporate office bearers for their actions and omissions as defined by the Corporations Act should be involved?
- Is the future structure of the Party in Victoria better served on modelling it on the legal entities provided for in the Corporations Act?
- What role is the President to fulfil within a corporatized party structure and what will be his/or her personal and collective responsibilities (for example, that of a Managing Director or Chairman of a Board of Directors)?
- What role for the members of Administrative Committee (are they to fulfil the role of a Board of Directors with responsibilities and criminal sanctions attaching to them under the Corporation Act (if adopted)?
- What role for future State Directors? The State Director, if a corporate legal structure is adopted for the Party’s administration, he or she would be in the position of the Chief Executive Officer. He or she would be charged with the responsibility of the day to day administration of the Party’s corporate responsibilities and divorced from direct political decision-making which would remain in the province of the elected Executive of the Party being the President and the Administrative Committee. Imagine a State Director free from the shackles of a biased Administrative Committee but subject to the State Assembly motions.
ORGANISATIONAL – CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS
- The Victorian Division’s Constitution as it exists currently, is a document that requires a wholesale review and re-writing. The Victorian Division needs less internal party elections and fewer committees. This aspect has led to the Party becoming paralysed by internal dissensions and its governance becoming dysfunctional. This dysfunction has entered all levels of the Party’s function. Moreover the Division must re-examine its relationship with the State/and Federal Parliamentary wings of the Party. More to the point, the Division must have greater scrutiny of the Parliamentary Parties while they are in opposition and developing party policy.
- The Party institutions of State President, State Assembly, and Administrative Committee should be aligned with the State election cycle. In other words, the Constitution be amended to dispense with bi-annual elections and provide for elections to occur every four years. This reform if adopted, would provide for a more independent and assertive Party administration which would function and carry out its responsibilities and obligations with certainty and devoid of the division, personality politics and rancour that has tormented the effective function of the Division in recent years. It would also provide the Division with a proper balance to deal with the Parliamentary Parties.
- Indeed, in considering a change to the internal Party electoral cycle from the bi-annual to every four years, raises the issue of how the Division removes any Party official for any misdemeanour or bad behaviour. It would be contemplated that the State Assembly be provided with opportunity in close session to consider, debate such matters. Moreover, today it is appropriate that any sanction or removal should only be allowed to proceed after a successful vote of 2/3 of the State Assembly’s membership has agreed to any sanction before it becomes effective.
- Some may consider the four year cycle for internal Party elections to be too limiting. The Constitution can be amended to provide that every two years, the State Council renew itself by committing half of its delegates to face re-elections by their local membership. Thus, the base of the Party is guaranteed renewal and provides ‘grassroots’ indications on the overall performance of the Division.
- The purposes of the Party should be reviewed and defined. In this, the Division must review its current committees system and their composition. The Victorian Division under Robert Clark has far too many committees and they seem to be devoid of any proper purpose or operating towards a defined set of aims and aspirations. Poor performers need to be reviewed and absorbed into proactive committees.
- The purposes of the Administrative Committee (its political and administrative responsibilities) should be defined clearly and this depends on what the legal/corporate structure of the Division will be. At present, the Administrative Committee led by Robert Clark seems disjointed and at times perceived to be hostile to the grass roots and members at large. The current Administrative Committee chaired appears to be spurred on by the frequency of the internal electoral cycle and always pursuing their own personal and factional interests and aims.
- The role, composition and appointments to the Constitutional Committee must be reviewed and defined clearly. This committee, is charged with providing advice and assistance to the administration concerning possible reform and ‘advice’ on the meaning and function of the Division’s Constitution. In the past, it has functioned well, but in recent years, its function has lessened and diminished providing compliant ‘advice’ to the various factional controllers in office at particular times. Its advice at times has been wrong or tainted to accord to the need of one faction to assert its control over another. It is not functioning as a key fount of considered opinion upholding the general interests of the membership as required by the Constitution. Largely, the manner in which changes or ‘add-ons’ to the Constitution (amendments) have been drafted and worded have contributed to the dysfunction of the Constitution at crucial times. This Committee is in urgent need of reform and the Division has to resolve whether its function is to ‘judicial and advisory’ or purely political as is currently the situation.
ORGANISATION – OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
- Staff at 60 Collins Street needs to be provided with an in depth orientation of the party structure and thoroughly acquaint themselves with local electorate identities that they have been tasked with. As such it will alleviate the misinformation and lack of respect currently being demonstrated towards seasoned campaign managers and staff. The role of the staff members is not to dictate or direct the electorate campaign but rather to contribute and enhance the electorate’s campaign.
- All full time and volunteer staff at 60 Collins Street should be vetted and cleared by a panel comprised of senior members of the party and detailed recommendations made to the State President and Administrative Committee to determine their appointment. Furthermore, no member should be employed if they have been a member of another political party.
- It may be appropriate that Robert Clark and his Administrative Committee consider the establishment of an Appointments Committee which would be responsible for appointments recommendations being made to the State President and Administrative Committee.
- When the party was first created the role of the organisation was to support the parliamentary party. Today some after many reforms it is believed that the Parliamentary Party should not be involved in policy making decisions made at the State Assembly policy forums but rather act as guides and provide advice as required.
- In order that there is no conflict of interest, no member of the Administrative Committee should be able to run for a State or Federal preselection and must resign at least twelve prior to any preselection. This should also apply to the Young Liberals within the Division.
- The membership section responsible for recruitment of new members needs immediate review. Political direction, campaigns, training, staff matters, use of media and social media, relationships, branches, policies and selection of candidates are but some of the issues that need to be addressed. This can be achieved by the establishment of a committee consisting of grass root members, campaign managers, Branch Presidents (not Electoral Council Chairmen), State Director, President and facilitated by a member selected from the grassroots. They should be given twelve months with funds and material support to visit and converse with as many members (including those at large). A report no matter what the results are should be presented and acted upon providing the recommendations are within Liberal Party philosophy and accepted guidelines.
ORGANISATION – FINANCE- ANCILLARY CONCERNS
- On reflection the Liberal party can probably make better use of funds as the Victorian Division as it currently stands is a disgrace and desperately is in need of an injection of intelligence to reach any reasonable key performance indicator. The funds from the sale of 104 Exhibition Street have not been invested well and the Liberal party is losing interest at a great rate. The renting of 60 Collins Street was a bad choice and does not allow access to all members.
- Staffing costs and funds to volunteers for work being done needs a thorough overhaul. Was and is the staffs at 60 Collins Street value for money and can information and electronic data is better resourced. Ian Quicks idea of changing to a Linux system is not well thought out.
- Was the funds expended in identifying flaws in the system when the best approach would be to create an environment of awareness rather than spend funds on a useless witch-hunt and counselling the members responsible if identified. Sean Armistead should hang his head in shame for his alleged attempts to ‘cleanse’ the membership of long time members.
- What action has been taken to account for funds expended without appropriate authorisation? Who is and/or was responsible for such actions and can we learn from these errors of judgement. Surely the errors of the past would be the trigger for change.
- What fund raising activities have been conducted since Robert Clark created the early pre-selection concept. What incentives are therefore left for sitting members to raise funds? Why have the grass root members lost interest in raising campaign funds if they are to be hounded and misused? The responsibility rests with Robert Clark and the Administrative team which is currently stifling entrepreneurial concepts.
- The reforms of David Kemp created an atmosphere of nonpartisan and non-participation of grass root members. The outcome of this was to alienate grass roots members who would traditionally attend functions and assist in the raising of funds. Gone are our listening posts, gone are the guardians of the party, gone are the robust meetings, debates and the interest in maintaining a healthy membership
- Fund raising was left to a select few and as a result their fund raising activities were recognised in the form of promised seat allocation or positions of political influence. In most cases these alleged promises went unfulfilled. The grass roots members have been taken for granted, misused and politically abused. Just ask the young Liberals who year after year give their time to Liberal party campaigns.
MICHAEL O’BRIEN. It is pleasing to see that the Parliamentary Party under the leadership of Michael O’Brien is being pro-active and out in the suburbs and electorates. Michael said that his tour of the State was to listen. He went onto say: “I am up to 14 or 15 instalments now. I have been throughout regional Victoria and Melbourne’s outer suburbs, anywhere and everywhere. A lot of people feel politicians do too much talking and really we should be doing a lot more listening.” Well done Michael. Recently the Leader of the Opposition, Michael O’Brien told the media: “By delivering a Cash for Containers scheme in Victoria, we will reduce litter, improve recycling and support sporting and community groups across the state.
Victorians have been calling for a Cash for Containers scheme for years. I’ve listened and an O’Brien- led Liberal Nationals Government will deliver. Sporting and community groups across Victoria will be able to cash-in on the introduction of a Michael O’Brien-led Liberal Nationals Government Cash for Containers scheme. Michael O’Brien said that “I would worry that motorists will wind up paying more for this if Daniel Andrews sells off VicRoads and who will can be sure that their data will be kept safe? Labor is looking to do this in a rush because they’ve run out of money.” He is of the belief that VicRoads staff are bracing for a major shake-up of the registration and licensing agency that could affect how much motorists have to pay on their annual fees.
Furthermore Michael O’Brien has challenged Daniel Andrews Airport Rail Link. “My call to Daniel Andrews and the Prime Minister is, don’t do a half-baked Airport Rail Link and don’t sell Victoria out. My message to him and my message to Daniel Andrews is, please build the right project, not the one that we’re going to live to regret in five years.”
DAVID DAVIES. Shadow Minister for Transport Infrastructure, David Davis told the media: “Labor has botched this project from the start, more interested in a quick, cosy deal: by cutting corners they are now exposed to a clear delay and a failure to manage toxic soil from this tunnel. Labor can never manage major projects nor their finances, putting taxpayers on the hook.” The Toll road giant Trans urban has blamed changes to environmental rules for delays on the $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel, amid revelations that the project’s builders do not believe they can finish the project by its 2022 deadline.
TIM SMITH. Tim Smith bless his heart is not one for sitting on his haunches doing nothing. Like Michael O’Brien he too is out in the electorates bringing the fight to Labor. As the Shadow Minister for Planning and Heritage, Tim Smith told the media: “The process was a farce and Labor circumvented all due process to guarantee they got the result they wanted.”
Four Melbourne councils are set to unite for a Supreme Court challenge to the North East Link toll road, potentially throwing another of the Andrews government’s high-profile transport projects into turmoil.
The National Code of Conduct is a document that is merely a guide. Members should acquaint themselves with it in order to understand what is considered appropriate in the sphere of a political organisation.
Its intention NOT TO STIFLE robust discussion and debate, neither was it created to censor criticism of poor performance, poor governance and leadership.
Every person who undertakes activities on behalf of, in the representation of, or as a member of the Liberal Party should treat others with dignity, courtesy and respect, enabling everyone to contribute in a cohesive manner to our objectives as set out in our Constitution.
Everyone is entitled to participate in Party activities in an environment that is free from discrimination, vilification, bullying, harassment or other inappropriate behaviour.
The Liberal Party of Australia is a political party and its public reputation is important.
Although the Liberal Party of Australia cannot require compliance with this Code by its staff, contractors, members, volunteers and representatives in activities unrelated to the LPA, everyone is encouraged to consider this Code when dealing with others in any capacity.
If there are issues or conflicts in the organisation, everyone has a role to recognise those issues and bring them to the attention of the right people. The only problem with this is that no action was taken against Ian Quick for his disloyal emails that undermined Matthew Guy and Michael Kroger. No action was taken against Karina Okotel and her brother Joshua Bonney for leaking information to the media and undermining the leadership.