The political corruption of a Senator’s selection

As widely predicted by Sam Dastyari, general secretary of the NSW Labor Party, the “pea” to take Matt Thistlethwaite’s vacancy in the Senate is going to …. Sam Dastyari.
Thistlethwaite has resigned from the Senate to contest Kingsford-Smith in south Sydney which is being vacated by former Education Minister and Julia Gillard supporter Peter Garrett.
While publicly pledging support to Ms Gillard, Dastyari was a member of the duplicitous Team Rudd and he now has the blessing of the PM to move to Canberra to collect a $190,000-a-year job for the next three years.
Such is the depth of Rudd’s commitment to “reforming” the ALP.
Dastyari, one of the greatest lightweights ever to hold power in Sussex Street, is following a tradition of preferment and cronyism.
Dastyari’s predecessors Graham Richardson, Stephen Loosley, Mark Arbib and Matt Thistlethwaite all received armchair rides to Canberra while John Della Bosca and Eric Roozendaal basked in the NSW upper house as Cabinet ministers.
As NSW general secretary Sam Dastyari masterminded the party’s campaign in the 2011 state election. It resulted in the party’s worst defeat in more than 100 years and reduced its representation in the Legislative Assembly to a rump of 20 MPs.
Labor’s primary vote was 25.5 per cent. Dastyari was quoted as saying he “would not tolerate failure” but didn’t follow through with his own immediate resignation.

Wearing two hats

He immediately rebranded himself as a “party reformer” and began pandering to Sean Nicholls and Anne Davies of the Herald plus the innocents at the ABC.
While wearing one hat as party general secretary he wore a second one as head of the right-wing faction, Centre Unity.
When former faction heavyweight Eddie Obeid (now found corrupt by the ICAC) resigned, it was Dastyari who organised his successor, Walt Secord. The political pygmies on the administrative committee, the right and Albanese “Left”, approved Secord’s elevation to Obeid’s seat.
In his inaugural speech, Secord thanked his accomplice:
“A special thank you goes to Sam Dastyari, general secretary of the New South Wales ALP … Sam, you have been a very good friend. Sam is now embarking on major reforms of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party. His proposed reforms are both courageous and necessary and I wholeheartedly support these measures.”
Of course Walt supports Sam’s “reforms”: they found him a seat in the NSW parliament and now they are going to find a senator’s job for Sam. NSW Labor has not changed: it’s all smokes and mirrors stuff. It has given up any vestige of being a reformist party and now panders to vested interests and promotes the greedy ambitions of its own self-serving and self-perpetuating culture.
If the admin committee approves Dastyari’s promotion to the Senate, you can safely ignore all Labor’s chatter about “reform”. It ain’t gunna happen.


  1. For those of us who are tragic history buffs of the old left, the NSW Branch of the Labor Party remind me more and more of the old leaders of Eastern Europe in the late eighties. As the old system crashed around their heads they moved quickly to reposition themselves as reformers. as we can see in Bulgaria right now, the reform hat never did fit, and the people remain deeply unconvinced and ready the throw out the “reformers”.

    Of course the Coalition faces similar problems in that the club is now very removed from most people. This is hardly the sign of a healthy democracy.

    1. I agree, Col, there are similarities with the sclerotic parties of Eastern Europe 20 years ago. If the “uber-democrat” Sam Dastyari wanted the NSW Senate seat, why didn’t he submit to a vote of the remaining (and dwindling) ALP party members in NSW? Surely the members have the right to vote on pre-selection to the Senate? They weren’t even consulted …. again.

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