Bernie Finn is bonkers
Bernie Finn MP, Shadow Assistant Secretary for Autism Disorder, is a long term and outspoken member of Victorian Parliament. Finn has a prickly personality and constantly fights Liberal Party members on social media and in person.
Bernie Finn likes to present himself as a conservative. On moral and ideological grounds he is hardly conservative. Finn is the one that The Age always wheels out when they want to have a “conservative” attack the real conservatives.
Turning up to a protest about abortion might tick a box with a narrow band of voters, but inconsistent behaviour and Finn’s allegiance with left-leaning elements of the Liberal Party show how much of a hypocrite Finn really is.
Finn likes to go against the flow like salmon swimming up a river. Infamously, Bernie Finn lied in Parliament when he said on the night before Good Friday that he had to leave the chamber for religious reasons. As soon as his ALP counterpart had left, Finn was back in the Upper House participating in a division.
Again, Finn made a big show about voting against the “Gay Conversion Therapy Bill”. His close supporters like Karina Okotel would agree. But Finn likes to talk. He spoke at length in support of the intention of the “Gay Conversion Therapy Bill”. He blurted out to the media that he did not support “the practices that have been used on gay men and lesbians, what can only be described as torture, in the past—just appalling, inhumane and, as I say, just straight-out barbaric”. Finn’s position is at odds with the many reservations brought up by a variety of religious, medical and community groups, all of whom have pointed out problems with the “Gay Conversion Therapy Bill”.
It did not end there either. Finn agreed with the Greens, Animal Justice and Labor Parties by siding with their position, saying, “We know that gender dysphoria is a condition that is dealt with very effectively by the medical fraternity.” These comments rankled religious leaders and cultural representatives who had been advocating for solutions for LGBTQI+ people, including rejecting Finn’s support of wide scale surgery for gender confused individuals.
Bernie Finn’s siding with anti-Semite Jo Fallshaw has left one of his former supporters, Bill Rizopoulos, scratching his head. Rizopoulos, who was told by Karina Okotel that Bernie is a good man now has very strong reasons to doubt Okotel and Finn’s integrity.
There’s a real stench. A common saying in the inner East electorates is “The fish rots from the Finn!”
Bernard Finn MLC was first elected to Parliament as the Member for Tullamarine in 1992 when Jeff Kennett led the Liberal Party to a historic victory. The Bracks-led Labor Party won the 1999 State election in an upset and Bernie Finn was defeated in Tullamarine by Labor’s Liz Beattie. A redistribution in 2002 saw the electorate of Tullamarine abolished and replaced by the new electorate of Yuroke which was also won by Liz Beattie.
Following the establishment of the new Legislative Council regions Bernie Finn was elected as the first Member for Western Metropolitan Region in 2006. Between 2000 and 2006 Bernie Finn worked part-time as a radio broadcaster and served as a member of the Victorian Division’s Administrative Committee.
Finn was originally a member of the Democratic Labor Party and stood for election for the Western District federal seat of Corangamite in 1990 as Finn had grown up in Colac. In 1983 Finn was the Liberal candidate for the federal seat of Burke.
Finn is best described as a mixed bag firebrand do-nothing politician. He is a controversial and polarising figure in politics and the wider community where his mixture of grubby self-serving politicking and show off right wing views tend to lose votes for the Liberal Party.
On one side, Finn mouths views like anti-abortion, anti-exclusion zones around abortion clinics, anti-euthanasia, anti-same sex marriage and anti-Safe Schools program. On the other side, he is “in” with the left-most elements of the State Liberal Party, and therefore tells the members and the public one thing, but in life is quite content to sit on his backside milking the public purse.
Finn has said all kinds of things. He advocates for the return of capital punishment, particularly for drug dealers, saying on Sky News two or three executions would see the leaders of drug syndicates “get the message”. Yet, on the other side, he is a strong supporter of the left wing MPs (Atkinson, Crozier, McLeish, Staley, Morris, Lovell and Britnell) who back Michael O’Brien in the Party Room.
Finn is a key operator within the Greenstein/Quick/Crozier/Clark Faction, formerly the Scott Ryan Faction. Finn is key in the sense that he is their man representing the Western suburbs. But the Western grouping are such odd bodies. The Greenstein-Crozier Faction comprises a coalition (more like a collision) of Centre-Left and religious right members. That grouping was formerly known as the Mantach faction, including Frank Greenstein (the “cake whisperer”), Robert Clark, Bernie Finn, Cathy Finn (wife), Fran Henderson, Sean Armistead, Ian Quick, Peter Angelico, Russell Joseph, Robyn Heade, Amanda Millar, Sali Miftari and Georgie Crozier. Since then, Karina Okotel joined them, bringing the now disaffected Bill Rizopoulos and the cautious Anthony Mitchell.
Finn is viewed as a loner in Parliament where he fails to engage with his colleagues, is not a networker and does not have any friends. Other odd former MPs like Graham Watt or Inga Peulich at least fit somewhere. But Finn never has.
Many parliamentarians, from all sides of politics, find his behaviour, particularly in the House, to be unparliamentary, unhinged and even vulgar.
Late in 2019 Finn celebrated 20 years as a Member of Parliament. Tellingly, his own Electorate Council refused to arrange and fund his Twentieth Anniversary Gala Dinner. The Dinner was eventually arranged by his wife Cathy and held at a D grade venue, where about 70 people, many of whom (Africans) were given free tickets to make up the numbers. Finn’s Twentieth Anniversary Dinner could only be described as a complete flop. Only two members of Parliament turned up and revealingly the Leader of the Parliamentary Party sent a recorded message! Such is Bernie Finn’s standing in the Liberal Party today.
Tellingly, no Liberal leaders under which Finn has served: Michael O’Brien, Matthew Guy, Denis Napthine, Ted Baillieu, Robert Doyle, and Jeff Kennett, have ever seen Finn as worthy of appointment to a ministerial or shadow ministerial portfolio of any substance. He is currently Shadow Assistant Secretary for Autism Disorder and largely unknown member for the Western Metropolitan Region. His efforts have reduced the Liberals to just one seat. Finn has ingratiated himself to each newly elected leader from Kennett through to O’Brien only to turn on them after, and sometimes during, their term in office, bad-mouthing them all over the city. knowledgeable members expect that O’Brien’s turn is soon to come. For a while Finn did re-embrace Jeff Kennett, but when he knew he was thinking about running against Robert Clark, Finn thought it would serve his interest to back Clark.
Like Michael O’Brien, Finn is a policy wasteland. In his 20 plus years in Parliament Finn has not developed, advocated for or introduced a single policy. He is lazy. Most significantly, he has never made any effort to repeal the abortion legislation that he professes to oppose so stridently; not even during the Baillieu-Napthine government of 2010-14 where the Liberal-Nationals controlled both houses of parliament. Remarkably Finn announced in 2018 that this was the first time that he had ever contributed to the Liberal Party’s policy platform for the forthcoming state election. He made a contribution (of sorts) to the Party’s education policy which was never publicly released.
Finn is a key person in the Save the Babies anti-abortion movement and he is President of the March for the Babies group. It is from here that he attracts most of his followers, recruits members to the Liberal Party (which he calls the Conservative Party) in the West, staff for his electorate and parliamentary offices, and future candidates for unwinnable Western Metropolitan Region seats.
During Finn’s 14 years as the Member for Metropolitan Region he has ploughed through countless candidates for the 11 Lower House seats that comprise the Region always promising to win between five and seven seats in the West and has never won one.
Significantly, Finn has employed the same failed methodology election cycle after election cycle, recruiting members from the ethnic communities of the West. Beginning with the Vietnamese community around Footscray, moving on to the Indian community around Werribee and more recently to the African community around Flemington, Finn has recruited heavily only to use new members and their resources and then abandon them following his re-election. Finn has always used his Parliament provided staff to recruit members; indeed, they have done little else.
Finn attracts the ethnic communities saying that as a conservative his and their values are in alignment, that he is a champion for their values in the Parliament, that he needs them to support his preselection and re-election, and that in order to do so they must sign up lots of new members and bring money for his re-election campaign. In return, he offers them his protection and support to be elected as local branch office bearers, delegates to State Assembly and State Council, and even pre-selections. He also offers his support for key ethnic community leaders to be candidates for election to parliament, saying that we can win a second, or even third Upper House seat in the West and five to seven Lower House Seats. Having ingratiated himself to one ethnic community he then discards them for another at will, while also bad-mouthing them throughout the West.
Finn’s branch current stacking, and earlier de-stacking, across the West is legendary. Always nervous about his preselection, Finn worked to reduce membership numbers across the 11 Western Metropolitan Region seats from 2007-14, the idea being to keep branch memberships low and close to him. Finn’s strategy worked well with branch numbers declining to as few as 12 or 15 in some instances, most of whom were his supporters, thus ensuring his preselection for the 2010, 2014 and 2018 state elections. Following the Party’s highly effective membership drives commencing in 2015, Finn saw the writing on the wall; populate or perish, and switched to large-scale membership recruitment, first in the Indian community around Werribee and Tarneit and subsequently in the African community around Flemington. Finn has been heavily supported by Bill Rizopoulos, Robert Clark and Frank Greenstein in his recent large-scale branch stacking efforts within the African community.
Finn’s office is located in an industrial area of Braybrook and is situated on the first floor of a commercial building, accessible only via an off-putting security system. His office is nowhere near any voters, let alone any Liberal or even Liberal-leaning voters. The idea appears to be to not have any pesky constituents calling in at any time.
Finn does not select his staff for their interpersonal skills, administrative skills, expertise in managing constituent issues or policy development. This is reflected in his performance in Parliament where he rants and raves about his pet issues and fails to advocate for any meaningful or beneficial electorate matters. Finn will make wide sweeping generalisations absent of any meaningful research or data e.g., “Thousands and thousands of people are moving into Point Cook. We need more roads in Point Cook. Hundreds and hundreds of children are moving into Point Cook. We need lots more schools in Point Cook now.” Thus, Finn does not achieve any measurable outcomes for his constituents. He has never been responsible for the passage of any legislation during his 20 plus years in Parliament.
Believing that fundraising is beneath his status as an Upper House Member, Finn has never raised any funds for election campaigns. Finn relies entirely upon the candidates for the 11 (unwinnable) Lower House seats in Western Metropolitan Region to raise the money and do the actual campaigning off the back of which he expects to be re-elected. He enjoys being the only Liberal MP in the West. He has actively worked against Liberal candidates, the most striking example being Jo Hagan, Liberal Candidate for the new seat of Sunbury at the 2014 state election, where Finn white-anted her campaign ensuring that she did not win. When Jo Hagan lost the election to Labor’s Josh Bull, Finn said loudly that he didn’t want her to win anyway!
Finn does not campaign between elections or during election campaigns. He turns up for quick photo opportunities and quickly departs. Finn believes that he does his best campaigning on Facebook sitting on the couch in his lounge room at home. He has numerous Facebook accounts, only two of which are public. The only problem is that very few of his Facebook followers live in his electorate and of those that do very few are swinging voters who may vote Liberal. Finn’s Facebook followers are generally DLP supporters from across Victoria and even other parts of Australia.
Finn’s frequent Facebook post regarding something the Labor Government has done, or not done (and even his own party sometimes) is “This would never happen under a Finn Government!”
In an enormous own goal, Finn posted a meme on his Facebook page of Premier Daniel Andrews appearing severely disabled. The meme quickly gave rise to a change.org petition calling for his resignation which has garnered almost 5000 signatures. This typifies Finn’s lack of judgment, ineptitude and general malevolence.
After a particularly buffoonish post, Finn was forced to remove another (a common occurrence). “’You should be ashamed of yourself,’ wrote one user. … ‘You’re an MP?’” Read more: https://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/politics/liberal-mp-bernie-finn-under-fire-over-chinese-rocket-meme-posted-on-facebook/news-story/520e96aaa46bad67665f60e76912fb29
Finn likes to think of himself as a talent scout for the Liberal Party. The only problem is that his preferred candidates usually blow up: Hamish Jones — Maribyrnong 2007; Cam Nation — Gorton 2007; Ben Collier — McEwen 2013; John Varano — Sydenham 2014; Chris Jermyn — McEwen 2016 and Kate Oski — Lalor 2018 were all Bernie Finn’s star recruits! Needless to say Finn is dead set against most of these members now.
Tellingly, his own staff member, Cassandra Marr, after having put up with Finn for so long, decided with Hamish Jones that enough was enough. Marr went to work for a different MP and the two are quite happy to reveal that they wouldn’t mind seeing Finn go.
As an indication of the very poor standing of Finn locally, he holds the notable title of the only MP to have his application for membership of his own local branch (Sunbury) rejected. And in his particular instance not once, but twice.
Throughout his “illustrious” Upper House career, Finn has enjoyed the unqualified support of Scott Ryan and Frank Greenstein, and more recently Robert Clark. With the departing of Scott Ryan, members have observed a heightened level of anxiety emanating from Finn concerning his next preselection.
Finn is commonly referred to as being a “grub” by parliamentary colleagues on both sides of the aisle. He is renowned for maintaining a dirt book on his own parliamentary colleagues, including leaders, as a form of insurance for himself. A particularly dastardly demonstration of Finn’s maleficence occurred when he hailed a cab late at night near Spring Street, over refreshed, and proceeded to unload on most of his colleagues. He concluded by stating that he has sufficient information on his colleagues to bury any of them if they come after his preselection.
Finn has an appalling record regarding his attitude toward and treatment of women. Finn’s attitude toward women is that they are to be seen and felt, but not heard. Several complaints of young women who have experienced Finn’s predatory behaviour exist, although nothing much has been done to date. Moria Deeming, for example, has expressed reservations about spending time alone with Bernie Finn.
Even more strange are the rumours and known relationships Finn has had. In 2017 Finn and Okotel spent an unusual amount of time together. When Finn was married to his first wife Adelle, he had two children. While married, Finn then had an affair with Cathy (a nurse), and upon divorcing his wife, married her, and they have had children too.
Cathy is similar to her husband in that she speaks loutishly and throws out the worst possible accusations about people.
It is well known that Finn has attempted to be seen as aligned with his conservative constituents, but his comments have shown his hypocrisy and erratic thought processes. Recently complaints from former female staffers have been uncovered which describe this despicable “family man” making inappropriate and predatory advances on them in the workplace.
Bernie Finn is instructing his stacks to vote for Robert Clark at State Council.