Russell Joseph ought to be investigated by IBAC – Part 1

Russell Joseph ought to be investigated by IBAC – Part 1

This is a two-part mini-series into the happenings and goings on of Russell Joseph from June 2016 – November 2018. Russell Joseph now sits on the Victorian Liberal Party’s powerful Administrative Committee as the Country Regional male representative.

Part one of the mini-series looks at activities pre-preselection from mid-2016 until December 2017.

Part two of the mini-series will look at activities from December 2017 until November 2018, and the corrupt blue shirt campaign that lost one of best and most prized Liberal seats to Labor’s 25-year-old Dromana drive-in attendant Chris Brayne.

It is hoped that Robert Clark would spend party money as he has done in the past to investigate Russell Joseph’s activities in both of these periods to see if they are possibly a breach of the party’s rules or refer the matter to IBAC for investigation.

It is the view of this editorial team that the matter is sufficiently serious to send to IBAC to investigate, based on the evidence it has received, and invites Robert Clark to make discreet enquiries about this evidence through the Real Freedom News website.

However, as Russell Joseph is Robert Clark’s factional fellow warrior on the Administrative Committee, it is unlikely this will ever happen, and Robert Clark will continue to trash his once respectable reputation by still accepting his confidence and support without an investigation.

This mini-series should above all be a warning to all Liberal Party MPs and members at all levels. The Liberal Party would do well not to criticise the Labor Party too much during this current IBAC investigation over its misuse of taxpayer funds to engage in party factional activities and electioneering. This is because the party could be doing what the old adage describes as the pot calling kettle black.

At the same time during 2017 and into 2018 that Matthew Guy was very honourably running the Red Shirts Campaign highlighting Labor’s misuse of taxpayer funds and electoral staffers to campaign, the party would have done well to also look at what was going on in its own backyard. This was especially the case in the once blue-ribbon seat of Nepean which spans Rosebud West (now more nicely labelled Capel Sound), Portsea, Flinders and Somers.

The questions begin with the preselection for Nepean. Russell Joseph, known for being Martin Dixon’s electorate officer from 2016-2018, won Liberal Party preselection for Nepean in a hotly fought contest against former marginal seat MP Clem Newton-Brown and the very capable Sarah Meredith, with party elder Fred Ackerman also gaining a few votes from the Rye Branch.

Russell Joseph had spent the previous taxpayer funded 18 months from about early to mid-2016 until the preselection in 2017 organising Liberal Party activities and events, catching up for cakes and coffees in branch members’ living rooms promoting his preselection campaign and spending hours upon hours of taxpayer funded hours on the phone to delegates espousing his virtues.

The next day following Russell Joseph’s successful preselection, the headlines read: “54-year-old male electorate officer Russell Joseph wins preselection for blue ribbon seat of Nepean”. At a time when the party needed renewal and diversification amongst its candidates and members, many questions were asked about whether the local branches had made the right decision in supporting a 54-year-old white electoral staffer for one of the Liberal Party’s then prized seats.

Despite the odds of the branch members choosing such an uninspiring journeyman, it is believed that Russell Joseph won preselection because of:

1. The many hours he spent with delegates on the taxpayer dime,

2. The promise of raising $100,000 for the Nepean campaign, and

3. The promise to resign from his job as an electorate staffer.

No other candidate could compete with a candidate for preselection literally being paid by the government dime at around $90,000 per year to campaign for themselves. Unfortunately, the respected branch members fell for the empty promises regarding fundraising and a resignation that never occurred.

More should have been done by President Michael Kroger’s Administrative Committee to deal with this issue at the time. With hindsight, the preselection process was completely unfair for the other candidates. Despite his small “l” liberal leanings, Clem Newton-Brown deserved better as the winner of a tough marginal seat; as did Sarah Meredith who was once Young Liberal President and Fred Ackerman whose volunteer hours to the party in recent years are unsurpassed. All bar Mr Ackerman have had very little involvement with the party since the preselection and this is a mighty shame as they were once great servants of the party.

Now to the evidence. Real Freedom News is in receipt of copies of email messages and text messages during the relevant period between mid-2016 and the Nepean preselection of December 2017 which clearly demonstrates that Russell was organising party activities during daytime hours and members of the party have spoken to Real Freedom News who have provided confirmation that they received calls from and had coffee with Russell Joseph promoting his candidacy for preselection during electoral office worktime hours. Timestamps on emails sent from his official Liberal account likewise confirm this. Russell was also doing Agenda Committee work at the same time.

If readers have any more evidence, please contact Real Freedom News directly. The evidence is will be collated and sent to Robert Clark following Part 2.

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