The AWU Scandal
To "The Media" from Bill and Michael

The AWU Scandal - John Brumby, why didn't you listen?

Some one with a good memory and even better records sent me this report





Brumby Attacked In Faction Meeting




485 words


29 April 1996


The Age








Copyright of John Fairfax Group Pty Ltd


A vehement attack on the Opposition Leader, Mr Brumby, at
  a meeting of the dominant Labor Unity faction yesterday went unchallenged by
  senior members of his Labor front bench.

Sources said Mr Steve Conroy, a senator-elect and senior
  factional figure, was scathing about Mr Brumby and his office's handling of
  the state election campaign.


Mr Conroy told factional colleagues voters had been
  alienated by Labor's emphasis on the casino, gambling and Grand Prix to the
  exclusion of other issues.

He is believed to have likened a meeting of senior state
  Labor figures to a Uniting Church meeting - in that the issues and policies
  discussed were the same. Sources said Mr Conroy also described the recent
  election result as worse than 1992 for Labor, as the party had lost ground in
  marginal seats it needed to win.

Sources were divided as to the significance of Mr Conroy's
  speech. Some said his key position in the faction added weight to the attack,
  but denied the remarks had implications for Mr Brumby's leadership.

Others described the speech as ``scathing'' and it was
  noted that none of the state frontbenchers present responded in defence of Mr
  Brumby. But it is believed the MPs felt a report given by Mr Steve Bracks covered
  the topics raised by Mr Conroy, and that at least one of them argued with Mr
  Conroy later.

Some insiders said the comments formed part of the ``usual
  post-election analysis'' and were made in a ``completely appropriate forum
  for people to express their views''. They said a frank appraisal was also
  made of Labor's poor showing in the federal election.

There was concern that Mr Conroy's comments about the
  casino might embarrass the federal party as it prepared to support a Senate
  inquiry into the casino licensing process. Another senior Labor Unity figure,
  Australian Workers Union secretary Mr Bob Smith, told the meeting Mr Brumby
  was in a bunker and out of touch with the party's support base.

Party insiders said Mr Smith criticised Mr Brumby for not
  maintaining contact with a broad range of members. They said Mr Smith spoke
  against the possible appointment of a lawyer, Ms Julia Gillard, as Mr
  Brumby's chief of staff. It is believed Mr Brumby will ignore advice to
  appoint Mr Richard Wynne, a one-time chief adviser to the former deputy Prime
  Minister, Mr Brian Howe.

The attacks came at a meeting of about 80 Labor Unity
  members held at the Transport Workers Union headquarters in Port Melbourne
  yesterday morning. The meeting included the frontbenchers Mr Bracks, Mr Rob
  Hulls and Mr Bruce Mildenhall, and key federal MPs Mr Gareth Evans and Mr
  Robert Ray. As leader, Mr Brumby, a former member of Labor's right group, has
  to be independent of the factions and did not attend yesterday's meeting.