Scandal blows up in State ALP faces

Okay – until Friday this was a non-story: the media were talking about themselves in a minor state politics scandal. Here is the timeline:

■ MAY 17: A dictaphone is misplaced by Sunday Age reporter Farrah Tomazin during the ALP state conference at Moonee Valley racecourse. It ends up in a lost property box and is later discovered by Labor officials.

■ JUNE 6: After getting legal advice, senior ALP figures decide not to release the tape.

■ JUNE 24: The recording, which contains audio of former Premier Ted Baillieu slamming some of his colleagues, is sent to hundreds of Liberal Party members. Labor leader Daniel Andrews and deputy James Merlino deny Labor had anything to do with the contents of the tape being made public.

■ JULY 25: Following revelations that Victoria Police had studied CCTV footage from the ALP state conference, Mr Andrews says: “This is 100 per cent an internal Liberal Party matter. The distribution of that material was conducted by the Liberal Party to the Liberal Party, and it’s them that should answer to that, not anyone else.”

■ JULY 26: The Herald Sun reveals John McLindon, chief of staff to Mr Andrews, heard the recordings in early June.

■ JULY 27: Mr Baillieu breaks his silence on the scandal and calls for Mr Andrews to come clean about his office’s involvement in the affair.

So a journalists dictaphone get lost/forgotten/misplaced at an ALP conference, gets sent to the lost and found, and then some embarrassing off-the-record comments get a public airing.

Yawn.

On Friday The Age had a front page story accusing the ALP of having leaked the contents of the dictaphone. Okay, you might ask, is this worthy of being a front page story? I was still not interested in the story.

But then the state ALP leader – very likely to the be the next Victorian Premier – went into overdrive.

Mr Andrews said allegations made against his staff were “wrong and defamatory”.

“The distribution of this recording always has been and always will be an internal matter for the Liberal Party,” he said.

“These allegations have been referred to our lawyers.”

Really?

This morning it suddenly got very bad for Andrews – what was an embarrassment for the Liberals is now a scandal for the ALP.

From The Age:

As The Age can reveal, the dictaphone was handed in to lost property by security at Labor’s state conference in May, before being taken back to ALP headquarters and listened to by Mr Samaras.
The private conversation between Tomazin and Mr Baillieu was then copied, and listened to by a small group of senior party operatives, including state secretary Noah Carroll and Mr Andrews’ chief of staff, John McLindon.
A decision was made by Mr Samaras not to release it after legal advice was provided by Slater and Gordon lawyer James Higgins.
Despite the advice, and against the wishes of Mr Samaras, the recording was forwarded to a third party, before being emailed to hundreds of Liberal Party members.

Raises interesting questions: You come into possession of lost property – having been handed into the lost property booth at a conference – the dictaphone is clearly marked as to ownership, so you decide to listen to the dictaphone messages, and not actually just simply return it? Senior party officials riffle through lost property boxes after conferences?

It gets worse:

Mr Samaras said: ‘‘After some consideration, I decided that given the device contained unauthorized private conversations, it was not appropriate to retain, return or disseminate the device. I destroyed it,’’ he said.

‘‘In hindsight this was the wrong thing to do. I should have returned the device and sought an explanation for why I was being recorded. I apologize to Ms Tomazin and The Age for not having returned the device.’’

Mr Samaras said the device was copied ‘‘for the purposes of listening to it’’ at some point prior to being destroyed.

Because it was the device that was wrong, not the actual contents that were copied, the device was destroyed.

As James Campbell of the Herald Sun explains:

Mr Andrews must now know that no one now believes this is 100 per cent Liberal Party affair. He must also know that unless he acts decisively and comes clean on who knew what and when in Labor, it will end up damaging his chances of becoming premier later this year.

The Victorian State Liberal government have been quite useless and were well on their way to being a one-term government – they still might be. Yet this business with the dictaphone reflects very poorly on Daniel Andrews team – if not him – the propensity to play silly buggers and not actually get on with their jobs suggests they won’t be any better than the current mob.

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47 Responses to Scandal blows up in State ALP faces

  1. C.L.

    When will Victoria Police be charging Andrews and his staff with theft and malicious damage?

  2. Mike of Marion

    The “water logged” VIC Libs haven’t a brain amongst any of them to be able to hammer Labor on this. One term embarassment they are.

  3. Infidel Tiger

    Did he accept a bottle of Grange? If not, no need to worry.

  4. Sales 101 – once you have agreement to buy whatever it is you’re selling – shut up. You now have nothing more to gain and everything to lose.

    The stupid – it burns.

  5. Ivan Denisovich

    A dictaphone is misplaced by Sunday Age reporter Farrah Tomazin during the ALP state conference at Moonee Valley racecourse. It ends up in a lost property box and is later discovered by Labor officials.

    Misplaced, hey? Hmmm. Given Tomazin’s track record, I’d like a lot more detail about that particular sequence of events.

    http://www.vexnews.com/2013/04/farrah-forced-it-journalist-burned-confidential-ministerial-source-leaving-andrew-mcintosh-a-smouldering-ruin/

  6. Token

    Did he accept a bottle of Grange? If not, no need to worry.

    This is the state where the head of police was tapping the phones of the chief of staff of the premier, and the chief of staff had to step down for daring to threaten the job of the head of police.

    It is a weird place. Lucky Andrews is on the “correct” team.

  7. Token

    Given Tomazin’s track record, I’d like a lot more detail about that particular sequence of events.

    What a record, yet considering this sopping wet Red Ted was willing to make statements to her & her dictaphone “off the record”.

  8. Myrddin Seren

    I should have returned the device and sought an explanation for why I was being recorded.

    So the recordings of Red Ted Baillieu spouting off to an Age journo on tape are neither here nor there.

    She got some dirt on this guy Samaras – which presumably the same folk in the ALP who released the “Red Ted’ tapes also has a copy of ??

    More transcript releases please Victorian ALP !

  9. John Comnenus

    So Fauxfacts has been recording conversations without the knowledge or consent of the interviewee. Where is all that outrage that was heaped on News re the privacy breaches in the UK?

    Is it too early to call for a Royal Commission into journalistic practices at Fauxfacts?

  10. stackja

    the propensity to play silly buggers and not actually get on with their jobs

    ALP exactly.

  11. Token

    Raises interesting questions: You come into possession of lost property – having been handed into the lost property booth at a conference – the dictaphone is clearly marked as to ownership, so you decide to listen to the dictaphone messages, and not actually just simply return it? Senior party officials riffle through lost property boxes after conferences?

    Did Tomazin notify all the people who were on the tape the moment she realised the device was lost?

    What statement were made to the ALP by The Age about the lost property the moment Tomazin reported the device was lost?

  12. the devise was destroyed.

    DEVICE

    Thank you.

  13. kae

    They also destroy lost property?

    Hoping that they won’t get caught doing the wrong thing? When they’ve copied the contents of the recorder?

    They really are a disgusting bunch of scurrying rats.

  14. Baldrick

    Obviously Moonee Valley Racing Club takes no responsibility for handing found property to third parties, although they have this disclaimer on their website:

    8. You are responsible for your own property (including, without limitation, any motor vehicle) and MVRC will not be liable for loss, damage to or theft of any property brought to the Racecourse.

    Why was the dictaphone given to somebody from the ALP, by somebody from Moonee Valley Race Club, when the owner was clearly identifiable and not an ALP official?

  15. Paul

    The presence of Slater & Gordon, just makes it all that little uglier.

  16. incoherent rambler

    Was the dictaphone stolen?
    Did someone try to obscure this theft?

    If answers to the questions are yes then the penalty for the second crime is justifiably harsh.

  17. Myrddin Seren

    Mr Andrews said that the dictaphone was destroyed and the tape cut with scissors.

    Huh ?

    Maybe the technorati can enlighten me here. Are Age reporters really using old style cassette tape recorders instead of digital models ? And if you have ‘cut the tape’ with scissors, then why destroy the recording device, except so as to hide the evidence of the misappropriation of property ?

    Samaras : “…I listened to numerous senior politicians on both sides of politics and others whose private conversations which I presumed had also been recorded without their knowledge…”

    Nice – enjoyed that – except when you found your own conversation on there then ?!

    And the Age ‘reporter’ busily taping people without prior advice.

    Where is Professor Bunyip when you need him?

  18. H B Bear

    Won’t make any difference to the people of Victoriastan as they return to the warm embrace of their CFMEU puppet government as soon as they are given the chance.

  19. Up The Workers!

    Daniel Andrews – alias: “Setka’s Sorbent”.

    The man was built conveniently with two jumbo-sized handles – one on either side of his head – for Setka and other C.F.M.E.U. thugs to grab hold of when they shout his daily instructions at him each morning, but they obviously are NOT shouting loudly enough!

    Has he worked out yet how he is going to pay back to Victorian taxpayers, the $750 million dollars that the utterly unused “North-South Pipeline” cost, or the $23 thousand million that the rusting pile of nuts and bolts in a Wonthaggi paddock, known as the “Desalination Plant” cost?

    Why has nobody been sent to prison yet over these two monstrous instances of theft of public monies?

  20. sabrina

    Anyone voting this party should have a brain scan.
    Shame on these politicians!

  21. srr

    Well, it wasn’t a “yawn” to some Victorian Cats, from the start; caring, and being able to, think through the known, and obviously withheld details.

    But hey, we’re only Victorians who warned against and don’t want another reign of, ‘Bracks’s, Brumby’s, Hulls’s and Gillard’s', et al, infecting the whole Nation; we’re only the natural enemy of two faced, fork tongued, self serving tools of the UN; we’re only individuals with no one and nothing but our integrity to offer those lusting for power.

  22. Up The Workers!

    This whole business seems a bit incestuous.

    It is nothing more than a ‘tit-for-tat’ hissy-fit between the A.L.P.’s admin nerds and the Party’s own Propaganda nerds at Fauxfacts.

    First some propagandists employed by the A.L.P.’s sycophantic “Age” toady-sheet, steal data from a computer at A.L.P. headquarters and are dragged through the Courts about it; then an “Age” propagandist (either accidentally or deliberately) “loses” her dictaphone on which she has been illicitly recording conversations, and the Party admin nerds decide to get their own back by causing its’ widespread distribution.

    [Unnecessary comment deleted. Sinc]

  23. Dr Faustus

    Theft.
    Destruction of personal property.
    Looking-you-straight-in-the-eyes lying.
    ALP.

    Will be off the media agenda this time next week.

  24. Badjack

    Tomazin has found out she should never have trusted her Labor buddies.

  25. Token

    Theft.
    Destruction of personal property.
    Looking-you-straight-in-the-eyes lying.
    ALP.

    The people of Victoria look to be giving the party which has shown these are its values a strong working majority.

  26. David

    Poor fella my State. Almost makes we want to move to Tasmania. This is one Victorian who does not want the Politburo back in power. The current lot are pretty bloody hopeless but are a big leg up on the Comrades and CFMEU thugs. What we need are some real conservatives/libertarians in this neck of the woods.

    There is no such thing as an off the record conversation with a journo. They have the ethics of a Mafia Don. Red Ted was even more gullible than I thought if he believed any conversation with a Fewfacts journo was “off the record”.

  27. cohenite

    Very amusing and typical; the ALP steals from the libs and nothing happens.

    Back here in NSW I saw Eddie cruising around in his Merc the other day.

  28. Talleyrand

    This would be the same Age newspaper whose senior journalists pleaded guilty to hacking of a Labor party electoral database.

    three journalists from the age escape conviction for unlawfully accessing alp database

  29. JohnA

    David #1396865, posted on July 28, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Poor fella my State. Almost makes we want to move to Tasmania. This is one Victorian who does not want the Politburo back in power. The current lot are pretty bloody hopeless but are a big leg up on the Comrades and CFMEU thugs. What we need are some real conservatives/libertarians in this neck of the woods.

    There is no such thing as an off the record conversation with a journo. They have the ethics of a Mafia Don. Red Ted was even more gullible than I thought if he believed any conversation with a Fewfacts journo was “off the record”.

    Motion seconded.

    The question is that the matter be agreed to – those of that opinion say “Aye”, those of the contrary “No”.

    I think the “Ayes” have it. The motion is agreed to.

  30. Tomazin has found out she should never have trusted her Labor buddies.

    “Honour amongst thieves” lol. The biggest.oxymoron.ever.

  31. Up The Workers!

    Never mind charging Andrews and his dodgy Labor (sic) crew for the theft and destruction of the lousy Dictaphone belonging to a member of their own Party Propaganda Department, how about charging them for the wilful embezzlement of $23 billion for the utterly unnecessary Desalination Plant, and a further $750 million for the construction of the North-South Pipeline.

    If crooked Labor do win the Victorian election, how long do you think it will take them to bump off Ken Lay as Police Commissioner and appoint yet another house-trained Labor poodle as Police Chief and “bury” the Major Fraud Squad’s investigation into the A.W.U. fraud matter.

    For his sake and that of all the very long and very expensive taxpayer-funded hours of work that have gone into it, I hope that Ken Lay will be able to bring the Major Fraud Squad’s case to completion and issue Arrest Warrants BEFORE the Election Writs are issued for the State election, because if the crims win the election, the good guys lose, once again!

    I wonder whether Big Clive Palmer would want a job as Victoria’s new Labor Police Chief? He looks like he shares a personal trainer with a certain former Labor Police Chief, who ALSO liked to eat.

  32. Robbo

    Andrews, Samaras, and Carroll are all tarred with the same brush. They are either lying their heads off or deliberately concealing a number of facts. Up until now I thought Andrews was a decent sort of guy but I had my doubts about him and his relationship with the thugs of the CFMEU. Now I think he is someone perfectly suited to Setka and those union thugs and he doesn’t care much for telling the truth. Not the sort of person I want to see as Premier, and his deputy Merlino is no better.

  33. H B Bear

    Up until now I thought Andrews was a decent sort of guy but I had my doubts about him and his relationship with the thugs of the CFMEU.

    Wholly owned subsidiary.

  34. Tom

    This is one Victorian who does not want the Politburo back in power.

    David, I see signs that some in the LNP state parliamentary party are trying to shake off their habitual and utter political incompetence by skewering Andrews today with CFMEU-like zeal. And even my brother, who normally votes for the Liars, doesn’t want them back.

    I am developing a theory that the electorate is now instinctively gaming opinion polls in favour of whatever colour opposition is in place as a way of sending a message to The Regime, state or federal, that it needs to lift its game. If I’m right, big swings in sentiment and voting intention in the weeks and days leading to an election are possible — exactly like what happened in Queensland in 2012.

    I think it is possible the country vet will be returned with a workable majority. He’s not in people’s faces and he’s competent.

    On the other hand, the Free Stuff moochers may soon be the majority. *Shudder*

  35. David

    who ALSO liked to eat

    Did a bit of a Nero she did. Only difference was that it was a fair slice of the State and not some grubby European city up in flames when she went AWOL.

    I am yet to hear anything positive from my local Lib member and replies to questions are slow in coming. In contrast my local Lib Federal rep answers promptly and positively.

    And before someone leaps up in defence of Rome many years ago I read the translation of a diary by an unusually literate French knight on his way to the First Crusade who, on calling on the Pope with his overlord, described Rome as run down and grubby. Nine hundred years later it still remains run down and grubby and one of the disappointments of a very enjoyable tour of Italy.

  36. Steve Shailer park

    Are you really suggesting this should be a one term Lib Gov after the pain o previous Labor Gov’s.

  37. Mater

    He looks like he shares a personal trainer with a certain former Labor Police Chief, who ALSO liked to eat.

    AKA, The Blue Beanbag.

  38. Sinclair Davidson

    Are you really suggesting this should be a one term Lib Gov after the pain o previous Labor Gov’s.

    They have been particularly useless and IMHO ‘should’ be tossed out as a lesson to all other LINOs. Irrespective of my opinion, I think the polls show they will be a one term government.

  39. Andrew

    Sadly, this won’t be a political point the Liberals can exploit because it was Liberal members (who are staffers) who released the tapes to members and made it public. Liberal HQ is pretty sure who it is according to the media at least. Not hard to work out who btw.

  40. entropy

    I remember back in the day when the opposition aboriginal affairs spokesman accidentally opened and read correspondence relating to the hindmarsh island affair. The opposition spokesman announced what he had done in parliament and resigned.

    Oh, but he was a liberal, so totally different.

  41. Tel

    Did Tomazin notify all the people who were on the tape the moment she realised the device was lost?

    I would guess that she got in early and set the recording device in some quiet out of the way corner where no one would notice it. Very likely intending to creep back in afterwards and collect her snares. Someone did happen to stumble onto it during the clean up, and being a low paid menial they did not take interest, just handed it in and went back to cleaning. Probably all sorts of stuff gets handed in same way.

  42. AP

    That legal advice given by Slag and Gag is now no longer covered by legal priviledge and could be the subject of discovery during any criminal or civil case. Whoever released the essence of the legal advice commited a serious faux pas.

  43. AP

    They have been particularly useless and IMHO ‘should’ be tossed out as a lesson to all other LINOs

    Same in NSW. Fat chance here though, and unfortunately the other lot is far, far worse. The only real option is minor parties and independents.

  44. So I had it completely wrong on the open thread, it was a Fauxfacts journalist secretly (allegedly) recording former Lazy Party premier Red Ted (not an idiot but in all likelihood contributing to the dysfunction) slagging off at his colleagues (perhaps with good reason).

    But they still only had one job, to cut funding to Victorian socialists.
    (who seem to make up a large proportion of that states population).

    I was wrong but true…

  45. Up The Workers!

    The whole front page of the Melbourne “Herald/Sun” today is taken up with the story of how the former Victorian Labor (sic) mis-government offered to gift multiple murderer and convicted heroin-dealer, Carl Williams, $1 million in taxpayers’ cash and also pay his criminal fathers’ $750,000 in back income-taxes, if he became a police informer.

    Just to be even-handed about these things, the A.L.P. also back-scratched Williams rival in the murder and heroin-dealing industry, Tony Mokbel, when the A.L.P.’s Kelvin Thompson, M.H.R., gave Mokbel a favourable character reference when he was applying for a liquor license for licensed premises he owned.

    I wonder how much taxpayers’ hard-earned cash the crim-friendly Labor (sic) Party grants to HONEST people who are neither multiple murderers nor heroin dealers, nor International Centrelink-Seeking potential terrorists and anti-Christian Jihadis?

    LABOR (sic) – They have no room for “U”!

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