You are here

On Being Savaged By A Dead Sheep And The Future of the Labor Party

See: "No Left Turn", "The Podcast of Freedom"
Podcast Show: Andrew Landeryou's Podcast of Freedom #1 Show Date: Wed, 06 Jul 2005 21:34:49

Being attacked by Andrew Landeryou brings credibility to two sayings.

Firstly, there is the saying that a person can be understood by their enemies. Mr. Landeryou is considered to be the central cause in the financial collapse of the Melbourne University Student Union, and was sacked by a general meeting of students following allegations of corruption. He is being sued by the liquidator of MUSU along with his political allies and is also being pursued by a business leader of the credibility of Solomon Lew for a cool three million dollars. Former partner Kimberly Kitching was left to carry the debt as Andrew fled the country "on business" to Costa Rica missing a fairly important day in court that was reserved for him.

To be criticised by one so evidently suffering from the anti-Midas touch, who seemingly lacks the ability to manage student union affairs, business affairs, or any other affairs for that matter, simply brings instant credibility. Let's face it, Andrew Landeryou's track record seems to provide enough evidence to suggest he could be the most incompetent organisational and financial administrator in Victoria. Is he also making a pitch in the title for political theory and social demographics?

Melbourne businessman Andrew Landeryou, a key figure in the multimillion-dollar collapse of the Melbourne University Student Union, has told the Supreme Court that his recent trip to Costa Rica was related to his business interests in online gaming.

Landeryou left for the central American nation last December, allegedly telling his now-estranged wife, former Melbourne City councillor Kimberley Kitching, that he was on a business trip to Sydney. She has since filed for bankruptcy and lost possession of of her $1.8 million Parkville mansion.

From: Landeryou disappeared 'on business'

"The Supreme Court this month heard claims that Andrew Landeryou transferred about $1 million to Hong Kong before he went missing. Liquidators believe some of the money has since been moved to Cyprus."

From: Labor rat left me bankrupt,5478,15012694%255E6...

The second saying derives from Dennis Healey's remark when attacked by the mild-mannered Tory Minister Geoffrey Howe; it was "like being savaged by a dead sheep". Unlike Geoffey Howe of course, Andrew Landeryou is hardly mildly mannered. One supposes that he fancies himself an aggressive debater, however such a title requires debating skills as well as aggression. Debating skills consist of framing an argument on the basis of sound principles, consistent logic and empirical evidence. Clearly, Mr. Landeryou has none of these, but listening to his vitriolic ranting and watching the unfolding of chaotic financial management certainly does have elements of the most sublime comedy.

"But the liquidator's task is made more difficult because, as the Federal Court has heard, most of IQ's books and records have vanished..."

"Peter Brannighan, who was chief executive of IQ's subsidiary, Betworks, in late 2000 and was employed as a consultant until October 2001, handed the court his own cardboard box of company records, and said the last time he saw any other files they were in boxes at Sturt Street. He said Andrew Landeryou at the time had told him all the firm's records, furniture and computers would be placed in storage."

From: IQ records vanish: was it more than a dot-bomb?

Mr. Landeryou strikes me as a very confused individual, or at least one who is patently unaware of basic political definitions. Why does Mr. Landeryou call his show "No Left Turn" yet his website has an image of the Statue of Liberty? After all, the American revolution was one of the greatest and lasting left-wing actions of history and the leaders - Thomas Paine, Jefferson, Benjamin Frankin, James Madison, Paul Revere - were most certainly of the progressive and libertarian left. Indeed, if it were not for such "left-wing extremists" as the aforementioned individuals, the United States would remain a colony of the British Empire and the world would be still under the rule of monarchs, feudal privilege and religious law. Perhaps he wishes to return to those days.

In his premiere broadcast, Mr. Landeryou spends a great deal of time engaging in my factional affiliations, an unfortunate trait among many within the Victorian branch of the ALP to whom factional membership is more important that Party membership. Then he makes the rather quizzical
and shrill claim that I am apparently involved in the production of pornography! The basis of this claim is that I moderate a list relevant to the legal rights of sex and erotica workers, the culture of erotica and promoting the principles that adults of adult reasoning have the intellectual capacity to determine for themselves what they see or listen to, and what they do with their bodies. Apparently these are extraordinary propositions and of course, if one makes a stance for such a position, one must be involved "in the industry" themselves. Such is the logic of those my interested in sensationalism rather than facts.

He is right about some things however. I did spend a year in East Timor working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. It was a basic network and systems administrator position, although I did make some contributions to national IT policy, development of their central civic registry and so forth, along with the Ministry being the first in the country to actually get a website up and running. He's also right that I successfully won a court case, representing myself, against the Public Transport Corporation on the validity of travelling and purchasing a ticket at the end of the journey due to a restriction on legal tender.

"A diligent and consistent worker, Mr. Lafayette has made a lasting impression on the Ministry. His high standards of research and serious commitment to professionalism have set an example, as has his preparedness to assist users in the most minor technical issues and carefully explain circumstances with good humor."

From: Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta's Reference to Lev Lafayette

"Chris Field: The Magistrate found that this person, Mr Lafayette, had an honest intention to pay a fare, he was an honest fare-paying citizen, and wasn't in the circumstances, able to pay with what he had which was legal tender."

From: Radio National: The Law Report

Getting beyond the fluff, Mr. Landeryou's substantive contention however is comments I made on the ANZUA (Australian New Zealand Unitarian Association) mailing list. Indeed, rather than concentrate on the colourful, chaotic and comic personality of Mr. Landeryou, I prefer to concentrate on the real issue of what the Labor Party is, and where it is heading. I reproduce the comments made on the list in full.

Date: Sun, 3 Jul 2005 20:53:33 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Lev Lafayette" 
Subject Re: [anzua] Headline - Labor defeat theory - don't blame rate fears

--- Christine Gleeson  wrote:

> Dear anzua,
> Labor defeat theory - don't blame rate fears
> By Adele Horin
> July 4, 2005
> URL:

I disagree with the fundamental tenet of the the
analysis (sorry Lyle).

Labor shouldn't try to pander to the mony (and land)
grubbing "Kath and Kim" outer suburbs inhabibitants in
preference to innner urban intellectuals and migrants.

Rather Labor should be trying to increase the
proportion of the electorate who live in the inner
urban and traditional Labor areas.

Labor should have a good hard look at where positive
changes occured in the last election. It was in areas
where there are community facilities, community
involvement and community participation - and that
included "heartland" Liberal Party seats.

The areas which went against Labor were those areas
which receive their political knowledge from the
Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph and the Channel Ten

You can either pander to such people and their
paranoid fears and delusions (such as John Howard does
with amazing expertise) or you can seek to abolish the
conditions that creat such an environment.

Now, I'm quite willing to admit I wrote this in significant haste (there's even simple spelling mistakes). But I am more prepared to stand by the principles and the facts (stubborn things, those) that electorates which are traditionally Labor, provide Labor excellent TPP results and have significant community resources, infrastructure development, a mixture of people from different backgrounds, who are highly skilled, educated and professional and, even when they are well paid, tend to vote for the Labor Party. Labor made real or relative gains (i.e., the swing against Labor was lower than the national average) in and even including those heartland Liberal Party seats in similar areas such as Bennolong, Warringah, Mackeller and North Sydney in NSW, Higgins, Kooyong and Menzies in Victoria, Curtin in WA, Boothby and Sturt in SA (both of which are now winnable), and Ryan and Fisher in Qld. It is even possible to find a more obvious endorsement of the practical results of the traditional Labor vision than how people think, work and vote in the inner suburban and urban areas?

One does not have to be a graduate in sociology to contrast this and compare with the mean make-up of these working-class Liberal Party seats. They consist of people who have moderate levels of education at best - it is "Kath and Kim" land a position correctly enunciated by Mark Latham's former speechwriter. They are, as the SMH article correctly notes, quite xenophobic. If one remembers 2001 election we can remember the reaction of people in such electorates to the Tampa. "Blow them out of the water", "They're terrorists in disguise" etc. Is that the sort of people that we want voting Labor? Is that the sort of Australia we want?

Why do such paranoid delusions occur? Simply because the people in these socially fragmented, ethnically homogeneous suburbs do not have the opportunity to develop a civic consciousness, to met people from other ethnic backgrounds, let alone asylum seekers refugees and survivors of torture themselves, to discuss politics and form an opinion through public discourse.

"Mr Latham's former speechwriter, Dennis Glover, said Labor's traditional blue-collar heartland had become 'Kath and Kim land'... that's where all the aspirational working-class people are."


Rather they are fed their political opinions from sensationalist popular media - which goes for all mass circulation news, not just those which mentioned - and the one element of private community support that seems to exist in such places; evangelical and fundamentalist churches. The primary purpose of mass media their primary purpose is not to provide news, but sell stories of which the veracity can be very slim indeed. In the cases of the churches, their cause is not for people to develop a deeply considered spiritual motivation and sense of love, but adherence to a single church, the one true book (various editions) and total fidelity. In both cases, the sensationalist approach actually weakens the formation of informed public opinion and informed voting. These are circumstances which John Howard skilfully manipulates. Whilst Labor could emulate John Howard, many would suggest that this would be ultimately be destructive to the Labor Party and to Australia in general.

"Reporting of serious crimes in two major daily Sydney newspapers has increased dramatically over the past 30 years, despite only a moderate rise in the incidence of violent crime during the same period, a new research report from UTS has revealed.

The report, Media and Crime, investigates the frequency and types of crimes reported in the Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph newspapers between 1967 and 1997 and compares them to the number of crimes reported to police during the same period.

The research found increases of up to 2,200 per cent in reporting of violent crimes, such as homicide and sexual assault, in both newspapers....

... the increase in the media's coverage of violent crimes confirms the print media's growing use of dramatic crime stories to help generate newspaper sales in the modern competitive media environment."

From: Crime in the media - read all about it

Such people are money (and land) grabbing - and they do so as a result of their circumstances. They are usually low-skilled working class people, doing it very hard, but without any community facilities, without hospitals, schools and with woeful public transport. As such there is no traditional working class culture, a culture which one must acknowledge, was successful in establishing the community infrastructure that exists in areas with a high ethnic population (who seem quiet adept at generating sufficient political clout to establish such facilities) and the inner urban regions which are now inhabited by high skilled and professional workers.

The real practical question is what should Labor do about the reality of this urban geography? Evidently this depends very strongly on one's own perception of power and social circumstances. Apparently if you are of the school of thought that says that Labor should not intervene in the "natural" development of infrastructure development but rather let the "free market" determine land ownership, town planning and one's position in life, then clearly Labor should simply engage in the same sort of cynical electoral manipulation that John Howard does. We should drop multi-culturalism, punish asylum
seekers, strip those "elitist" universities of their funding (and adopt a user pays system), introduce tax cuts cut-back on services (especially to "special interest groups", like ethnic minorities and Aborigines) and create an environment where every white family can have their quarter-acre block, their 2.2 children, dog, and 2 cars. In other words, the ALP should become One Nation. At least that way they could be sure of winning a few more votes, right?

"We have not come to this house to make and unmake ministries. We have come into this House to make and unmake social conditions."

George Black, Labor MLA, NSW, 1891.
In Reid, G S and Martyn Forrest, Australia's Commonwealth Parliament: 1901-1988 Ten Perspectives, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1989, p. 14

If on the other hand, that you believe that Labor should "make and unmake social conditions" then a different perspective is needed. It is no good pandering to the current desires of those in "Kath and Kim" land because inevitably that means that Labor will lose and continue to lose, because there is no way that Labor can feasibly compete with the Liberals in electoral deception, privatisation and fragmentation, de-skilling and still remain the Labor Party.

Instead, what Labor ought to be doing is radically improve physical infrastructure on those electorates that border the inner-city and to establish city-like nodes in the suburban heartland, to increase the quantity of housing, hospitals, childcare centres, neighbourhood houses, schools, universities, TAFE colleges, public transport - and encourage people to move from those fragmented wastelands to real living communities, to provide the facilities to increase their skills, education and knowledge and, perhaps most importantly for the long-term survival of the party, improve their ability to make informed political decisions.

The practical reality is this; the five biggest swings to Labor in the last Federal election - when we were pitching to the outer suburbs under the leadership of Mark Latham - were Gilmore (NSW, rural townships), Bennelong (NSW, inner urban), Berowa (NSW, inner to fringe suburban), North Sydney (NSW, inner urban) and Brisbane (Qld, inner urban). The biggest swings to the Tories were Canning (WA, fringe urban), Aston (Vic, mid-suburban), Calwell (Vic, outer suburban), Braddon (Tas, rural) and Maribyrnong (Vic, inner to mid-suburban). Indeed, as one goes through the entire electorate list, a pattern emerges. Where there is existing community services and facilities, people vote Labor. Where there isn't any such facilities they don't. It is really such a surprise that the basic Labor policy of providing community infrastructure translates as votes for Labor?

Look at the current list of the most marginal seats; in order to form government Labor must win the marginal seats of Kingston (SA, suburban fringe, a seat Labor lost), Bonner (Qld, port township and suburban fringe, a new seat which Labor nominally held and lost), Greenway (NSW, surban fringe, where Labor suffered a massive swing), Wakefield (SA, suburban, a swing against Labor), Braddon (Tas, rural, a massive swing against Labor based on incredibly bad campaign management), Hasluck (WA, mid-surburban, which moved against Labor), Stirling (WA, inner to mid suburban, a Labor loss aptly helped by the member's public error of judgement), Eden-Monaro (NSW, rural, small swing against Labor), Bass (Tas, township and region), Solomon (NT, capital region swing against Labor), Moreton (Qld, inner urban), Bennelong (NSW, inner urban, the PM's seat, now a marginal), Page (NSW, rural, small swing against Labor, also includes Nimbin), Hinkler (Qld, township and regional, small swing against Labor), and McMillan (Vic, rural, swing against Labor, a harsh distribution causing a loss of personal support for the candidate).

With Labor holding all state and territory governments we also have the mechanism to do this - it's called land tax - and it's about time we adopted the "old Labor" policy, that site rentals should be taxed at their unimproved market value – and in doing so, offer massive reductions to labour and business which the Tories could not possible hope to compete with. As the owners of natural resources, nor would they want to. Commentators often refer to the distribution of relatively bad distribution of income in this country, however this pales into complete insignificance when compared to the distribution of wealth in general and natural resources in particular. What is the Labor Party? Is it the party of working people and productive investors or is the party of landlords? Does Labor have the courage to punish those most idle rich who contribute nothing to the wealth of the nation and live off the labour and productive investments of others? That is the most important question facing the Party today.

"We of the Australian Labor Party have always believed that the land is the patrimony of the people and that nobody has a complete and absolute title to it. ...The land belongs to the people, and its use must be safeguarded and protected at all times ...

"We have always believed in the land tax, and when happy days come again we shall restore the measure imposing the tax to the statute book of this country."

Arthur Calwell, former leader of the Australian Labor Party, Hansard, Vol 221, pp 165-170 passim

Labor must end the surbuban sprawl before it destroys Labor, before it destroys our sense of Australian community and before it destroys our environment. Turn Kingston from a fringe suburb to a series of solid townships which it is best suited for - and make it a solid Labor seat, rather that the see-saw that it currently is. Turn Wynnum and Manly (Bonner) into a real port and industrial city, and you'll make it into one of the safest Labor seats in the country, as it should be. It truly was an example in incompetence that we lost this one.

Make Blacktown in Greenway a real epicentre and voters will think with secular reasons, rather than according to the dictates of the religious fundamentalists who are so disturbingly powerful in the region. Do the same for Elizabeth and Gawler (Wakefield), and for the same reasons; it's another stronghold of the fundamentalists. In that difficult seat of McMillan which will inevitably be redistributed again, re-develop Pakenham from the township it was once to a central location for the region, rather than the suburban fringe that it has become - because if it continues in it's current development, Labor will never win McMillan.

In Braddon Labor can and should rebuild and strengthen the towns of Burnie and Davenport, where technical support services (along with ecotourism) are growing in preference to the vanishing pulp milling and timber industries. In the same mind, Launceston (Bass) should also be the centre which Labor can use to develop and win back the region. Labor could have won Hinkler if they concentrated on the issues relevant to the townships of Bundaberg and Gladstone, rather than writing it off early in the campaign. Develop family-friendly tax and service policies, such as properly funding childcare and abolishing taxes and rates on residential buildings, and Labor could win the suburban seats of Hasluck and Stirling - and may even win Deakin (Victoria, inner suburban, Mitcham-Frankston freeway swing against Labor) as well, as long as the Party is competent and honest in developing transport policy.

In a nutshell, build cities and towns, with community and physical infrastructure and not suburbs or rural isolation with a "user-pays" services and Labor will win elections. Not just in the short term, but for all time. We can change social conditions and create seats which are every bit as safe as the inner urban areas. We can change the lives of individuals, so they are high-skilled, high-paid, highly-educated, multicultural and with excellent community infrastructure. In doing so Labor can create the Australia which is every bit as true to the Labor vision in which Labor members are supposed to believe in. Whilst one may claim that these suggestions amount to so-called "social engineering", the fact remains: change the conditions in which people live and their income, skills, thinking and voting will also change.

Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on September 30, 2005.