A few days ago we learned of the incredible financial success achieved by Rudd/Gillard/Rudd illegal boat people Ali Maleki and Yosra Rabieh.
Here's the happy couple taking a break from killing infidels softly.
And why wouldn't they be laughing all the way to the Islamic interest-free bank?
Since they arrived by boat about 5 years ago they've been socking it away from their dealing in death.
When police caught up to do a quick stocktake a few days agio, they found 36 kilograms of the deadly drug Ice in stock, $260,000 cash on hand and three luxury cars (probably tools of trade taking advantage of quick depreciation and quicker getaways).
Police also listed 100 ampules of steroids in the proceeds of search warrant file.
Where would a recently arrived penniless refugee from Iran find a market for steroids?
I'll bet Shaz of Christmas Island has a few ideas - and photographic evidence.
Speaking of photos and evidence!
Ali Maleki and Yosra Rabieh are just two of a number of Iranian imports police locked up in the past few days - as The Daily Mail reports here.
This is a photo of the rich and happy death-merchants published by the Daily Mail on 26 February.
And this is one of the Shaz of Christmas Island series published here during the height of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd open borders regime.
Reckon Shaz caught the moment we brought huge grief for a huge number of people into our lives?
Or was it the "There's a list. I am of course a former Prime Minister and do a number of things associated with that. I am an author. I am the Chair of the Global Partnership For Education. I am a non-resident Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. I am an Honorary Professor at the University of Adelaide".
That's Exhibit 1,084 - just one of thousands of bar-code managed files in the folders of Victoria Police's Operation Tendement.
Operation Tendement was the largest, most costly and lengthiest police operation never to return a single charge in Australia's history.
If you want to get to the very serious allegations in this post quickly, scan down to August 2016.
That's when Assistant Commissioner for Double Standards Brett Guerin got a bit too excited and started to use the police computer and IP address to post disparaging comments to our website. That's also the exact same time that DET SGT Ross Mitchell told Ralph Blewitt that Force Command (a group that Guerin was part of) had decided to drop the AWU investigation in Victoria, to drop the proposed Victorian charges and to hand over all the Operation Tendement files to WA Police with no recommendations that anyone get charged with anything.
Here's the timeline - see you down the page at August 2016 - and with any luck in a Victorian courtroom after the hangover lifts.
17 October 2012 - My Crime Report re AWU Scandal to Victoria's Chief Commissioner of Police, actioned within hours.
23 November 2012 - Ralph Blewitt attends Victoria Police Fraud Squad - makes 3 statements.
26 November 2012 - Gillard press conference - Blewitt is a pig, imbecile, uses Asian prostitutes, idiot, stooge etc
16 January 2013 - Victoria Police attend Olive Brosnahan, former Slater and Gordon paralegal, take lengthy statement
15 May 2013 - Victoria Police raid Gillard's former office at Slater and Gordon, seize hundreds of documents
19 June 2013 - Ralph Blewitt waives any and all client legal professional privilege over seized documents
July 2013 - Bruce Wilson receives legal funding from Victoria's Public Interest Legal Clearing House, fights police on privilege
25 July 2013 - Mark Dreyfus QC, Gillard's Attorney General, announces $4M extra funding for PILCH
6 August 2013 - Slater and Gordon go to Victoria's Supreme Court to fight police on privilege - police don't contest
28 August 2013 - DETSGT Ross MITCHELL applies to Melbourne Magistrates' Court for remainder of documents
9 December 2013 - Chief Magistrate finds all documents from Slater and Gordon created in furtherance of fraud, police win
19 December 2013 - Bruce Wilson lodges expensive Supreme Court Appeal
13 June 2014 - Appeal heard
8 July 2014 - Wilson's appeal gets up - police application for documents sent back to Chief Magistrate for re-hearing
23 September 2014 - Chief Magistrate holds re-hearing. An election is looming. Police do not contest 72 documents - the rest of the material goes to the Operation Tendement task force.
29 November 2014 - Labor wins election. Daniel Andrews becomes premier of Victoria for the CFMEU.
4 December 2014 - Daniel Andrews Labor Government takes office.
29 December 2014 - Chief Commissioner Ken Lay APM announces resignation, takes effect 31 Jan 2015
10 April 2015 the Victoria Police Association re-affiliated with the Trades Hall Council after breaking ties in June 2012 a few months into Ken Lay's tenure.
22 April 2015 - John Cain Jr announced as OPP Chief responsible for deciding what serious charges go to court and what don't - he's to take up the role in November 2015
27 April 2015 - Ralph Blewitt meets DET SGT Ross Mitchell in Melbourne and Blewitt talks to Hedley Thomas at The Australian.
Blewitt told he will be charged with criminal offences in Victoria
Brief of evidence recommending charges sent to Victoria's Office of Public Prosecutions
Blewitt told Victoria Police were recommending charges against other people
“Victoria Police are now recommending that I be charged over the frauds that were committed in Victoria, and the matter is going to the public prosecutor’s office,’’ Mr Blewitt told The Australian.
“I welcome the charges because I have co-operated with the police for over two years and I want to see others who were involved also made accountable.”
1 November 2015 - John Cain Jr commences as Victoria's Solicitor for Public Prosecutions
From April 2015 to early 2016 many of our readers and I approached Victoria Police, the Office of Public Prosecutions and others trying to get information about Operation Tendement - ie The AWU Scandal.
We were simply told to wait, police don't comment on ongoing investigations etc. No information about the investigation was reported at all.
Ralph Blewitt was in the same position. He'd been told he'd be charged along with others in Victoria. He'd been told - as ha his solicitor - that the prosecution brief had been sent to the OPP for authorisation.
But Blewitt heard nothing.
4 February 2016 The Australian published a story about the political links between Commissioner Ashton's office and the Labor Premier's office, particularly focussing on Ashton's chief of staff. The article highlighted the coalition's dissatisfaction with the politicisation of the police force command.
On 8 February 2016 police minister Wade Noonan announced he was taking 3 months stress leave after 12 months in the job. He did not return to the police ministry.
On 15 February 2016 I wrote to Commissioner Ashton formally seeking an update on Operation Tendement.
I sent chasers to the Commissioners office and to police media.
For one month I received no reply and no acknowledgement of my letter.
On 14 March 2016 I published this story with further unanswered correspondence to the Commissioner's office
16 March 2016 I lodged a formal complaint with Assistant Commissioner Brett Guerin of the Ethical Standards Command about Commissioner Ashton's failure to respond to my correspondence Three hours later I received a letter by email from Ashton's office. The letter advised that if I wanted information about the progress of my 2012 complaint I'd have to lodge an FOI application.
I responded on the same day, 16 March reiterating my status as the complainant and detailing various provisions that obliged police to inform complainants about the progress of their matter.
On 18 March 2016 I published this story regarding John Cain's 1995 role in one of Wilson's crimes - along with Cain's responsibility for deciding who gets prosecuted and who walks in current day Victoria.
From April to July 2016 we continued our requests to Victoria Police, the OPP and others for updates on Operation Tendement - we received nothing.
On 17 August 2016 Bill Thompson (one of our readers) videotaped a conversation with Commissioner Graham Ashton. Bill explained there'd been no update about Operation Tendement for at least one year.
Bill asked, "Is the matter suspended or otherwise.."
Ashton jumped in, "No I don't know the answer to that question...specifically. No. I'm sorry, I don't know."
Bill, "So it's not a matter that you've heard of?"
Ashton, "No, not recently, no."
On 18 August I published this article expressing doubt at Ashton's extraordinary claim that he had no idea about the disposition of the AWU matter.
Around that time Detective Sergeant Ross Mitchell and Ralph Blewitt commenced discussing Ralph's return to Australia for a face to face meeting with Victoria Police. Mitchell wanted the meeting to tell Blewitt about Victoria Police's decision to hand the entire AWU investigation and files to WA and to drop their own enquiries and potential charges in Victoria.
It's unlikely a junior ranking officer would make such a significant and politically sensitive decision alone. Police command (ie Ashton, Guerin and the other Assistant Commissioners) must have either made the decision or at the very least known about it and not vetoed it.
At that same time Guerin/Demerest started posting to our website - ie at the end of August 2016. Guerin showed his colours when he later posted this opinion about the Operation Tendement investigation into Gillard and the AWU Scandal.
Given that this whole thing is a politically-driven stunt, I can see why the police would want to put investigating things like rapes, assaults, robberies and other serious crimes which actually impact on real people on a higher level than crap such as this.
On 5 September Ralph advised his Facebook followers that he was enroute to Australia “to get an update on the AWU fraud case situation with the Victorian DPP”.
On 7 September Ralph met with DET SGT Ross Mitchell in Melbourne. Blewitt's recollection of the meeting is summarised here:
Mitchell advised Blewitt that the charges he'd been waiting for from April 2015 would now not be laid. Ralph was told he was in the clear so far as Victorian authorities were concerned.
Mitchell also told him Victoria Police had ceased their involvement in the AWU investigation.
Mitchell stated that the entire Operation Tendement file was being passed to the WA Police for any further action and for the laying of any potential charges against offenders.
Ralph was advised that the WA DPP would review the files before any further action was taken and that he should wait to hear from the police in WA after the DPP's advice was completed.
On 8 September The Australian newspaper published this story. To Ralph's credit he declined to comment on the discussions he'd had with police.
On 26 September Ralph wrote to Mitchell to follow up on the 7 September meeting - Blewitt had concerns about extradition from his home in Malaysia.
On 29 September The Australia published this story by Pia Akerman.
Akerman's report makes it fairly clear that Victorian authorities (including the OPP and police) made no request for charges to be laid in WA, they simply handed over their files.
DPP mulls over AWU slush fund criminal charges
Evidence from a long-running Victoria Police probe into the Australian Workers Union slush fund affair is in the hands of West Australian prosecutors, who will decide whether it warrants further investigation or criminal charges.
News of the WA Director of Public Prosecution’s role came as Victoria Police assured key suspect Ralph Blewitt there were no plans to extradite him from his Malaysian home to face charges.
A WA Police spokeswoman yesterday said the case was being considered by prosecutors following a referral from Victoria Police. “They (the DPP) are preparing a report which may include this being referred to us for investigation,” she said.
Mr Blewitt has said he was warned during a meeting with Victoria Police this month that he could be extradited when police wanted to charge him, even though he had travelled to Australia several times voluntarily for questioning.
He yesterday received a letter from fraud squad Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Ross Mitchell. “I can confirm that there are no plans to extradite you from Malaysia,” he said in the letter seen by The Australian. “The West Australian authorities will be in contact with you, once they have made a decision.”
Ralph Blewitt is now facing fraud charges in Western Australia - charges which rely in part on evidence handed over by Victoria Police to WA police and DPP.
WA's criminal justice system does not have the lower court committal hearings that take place in Victoria. Because there's no opportunity for a defendant to test the evidence in WA's system before appearing in the higher courts, WA laws require prosecutors to hand over everything they have to the defendant.
That's why Ralph Blewitt has been served with more than 1,500 individual exhibits gathered by Victoria Police's Operation Tendement.
You have seen some Operation Tendement exhibits at the Trade Union Royal Commission website and we've published then and other Tendement material here.
I know of several lawyers who have examined the Victoria Police Operation Tendement evidence served on Blewitt.
That evidence clearly discloses the commission of multiple serious indictable offences in the State of Victoria.
One matter involves a deception on the Commonwealth Bank in which Bruce Wilson and others co-sign a letter written by the now SPP John Cain Jr (in his own handwriting). That letter falsely states to the CBA that the AWU has no interest in the monies Wilson received from Thiess and other companies. As a result of that false statement, the CBA handed $180,000 to Wilson and Bob Smith - who then sent those funds back to the companies which had paid them in.
John Cain Jr's role in that deception is all the more worrying when the hand-written notes of now Federal Court Judge Bernard Murphy are taken into account. The money was returned as part of a plan to conceal Wilson's criminal tracks, in particular to avoid the prospect of prosecutions over secret commission payments. Both Murphy and Cain are recorded as acknowledging that Wilson received secret commission payments - and Murphy records that he was advised the AWU WRA Inc secret commission payments from Thiess "would lead back to Slater and Gordon's role in the incorporation of the entity - and in the use of its funds to purchase a property in Kerr St Fitzroy".
Those criminal offences were committed, continued and completed wholly in Victoria.
The evidence is unequivocal.
But John Cain Jr, Graham Ashton's Victoria Police and Vernon Demerest appear to interpret the evidence very differently. They've decided there were no offences to be pursued in the Garden State.
And they all came to that decision at about the same time! We know that because of Ross Mitchell's advice to Blewitt which was conveyed to Blewitt at the same time as Brett Guerin started airing his opinions on our website via his police computer.
So Ashton's Circus sent the Victoria Police evidentiary files to Western Australia.
Most of the people involved in those decisions are pretty good at keeping their mouths shut.
Most of them.
Except the dumbest copper ever to carry a Freddy for cheap Maccas.
Thanks for the memories Brett. We'll miss your contributions here.
To save you the bother of watching, Commissioner Ashton said Assistant Commissioner Brett Guerin resigned from Victoria Police over the online posting scandal "as reported in the media over the past few days".
Isn't it reassuring to hear where the police commissioner gets his data from?
The Guerin story "as reported in the media over the past few days" isn't anywhere near complete.
Top priority on the Graham Ashton action list goes to responding to "what's reported in the media".
Facts, source data and even basic enquiries take second place.
Because of what's reported in the media, Ashton said Victoria Police would today have talks with a number of community groups who were affected by Guerin's online posts.
He didn't specify if the affected groups included the owners of 'rather large schlongs' or Paul Mullett Dates.
In the absence of a specified group or individual who had suffered damage from Guerin, Ashton went the well travelled press conference "we must do better" route. Ashton said he'd personally be getting in touch - today - with "the broader multicultural community", the human rights advisory committee, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and other usual suspects when it comes to the taking of offence.
Ashton looked down the camera to reassure us. He wants to work with "the affected communities" to jointly work out what the Victoria Police can do to improve its culture "in relation to this sort of thing".
I hope Victoria Police doesn't have a big problem with "this sort of thing" - that being ageing Assistant Commissioners with a penchant for Dean Martin disguises and covert commentary online.
There is one group, however that Commissioner Ashton left out of his reach-out list.
It's the group that's most directly affected by Guerin and "this sort of thing".
Guerin targetted them, quite disparagingly and offensively.
Us. The people who populate this website.
It was Guerin's posts on our website that got him onto the front pages. The media reports talk about Guerin's offensive words as if they were just stand alone statements. What they neglected to say - no doubt because of the general political conservatism here - is that each of Guerin's posts was an attack on a comment already posted by a named person. One of us.
Guerin's "rather large schlong", Paul Mullett's date and sundry other Guerin delicacies were written into insulting comments aimed directly to named readers of our website.
He called people names like "Einstein" and said of others "deep thinking is beyond them". He attacked people and their opinions directly and aggressively, all the while hiding away in his online disguise.
These are real people who didn't know at the time they were being trolled by the Assistant Commissioner for Double Standards Brett Guerin in his Vernon Demerest persona.
I'm amazed that the media takes no interest in the fact that Guerin was posting highly politicised and smart-arsed comments on a story about a real complaint to his own ethical standards department about his boss, Graham Ashton!
No one from Victoria Police, the IBAC or the Victorian Government has contacted me about Guerin's posts.
Ashton falls over himself to apologise to people who might have taken collateral offence because of what they've seen reported about Guerin's comments.
But Ashton couldn't give a flying one about the people Guerin actually wrote to by name here - nor me, the site owner for that matter.
Guerin posted disparaging comments about his own police force's Operation Tendement investigation into the AWU Scandal. He told one of our readers the investigation was "a politically-driven stunt", which didn't "actually impact on real people". The people he was writing to were real - but that's apparently eluded him. They were concerned enough about his ethical standards department to write a comment about it on our website. And little did they know the boss of that department was trolling them.
Our media has plenty of people happy to repeat what others have written - but when it's as simple as an email or phone call to ask me for comment about stuff that's on my website it just beggars belief that no one made that effort. There's been no contact from any media asking for facts about the extent of Guerin's posts.
And so they miss this. Vernon Demerest was one of many guises used by Guerin here.
And the Guerin guises go way back - at least two years Before Demerest.
Vernon Demerest (aka Brett Guerin, aka the dumbest cop on the force, aka the Assistant Commissioner for Double Standards) used a Victoria Police computer, Victoria Police broadband connection and unbelievably a Victoria Police IP address for his first comment on our site.
It was made at 10.37AM on Wednesday, 31 August 2016 from an IP address which resolves to these details:
His first two comments on our site were done at work from his work computer. He used police time and resources to attack two readers who'd commented on our story about Christine Nixon.
One veteran reader Wayne Shaft said that Christine Nixon looked 'robust' in a photo we'd published, adding the "I had to eat" Nixon trademark catch-phrase. That triggered Guerin:
He posted a second comment at work, but Assistant Commissioner Guerin wasn't finished with Wayne Shaft.
Just before 8PM that same night he was at home at his home IP address (Yes Brett, Detective Training School was right, every touch does indeed leave its trace!)
Guerin lined up poor old Wayne Shaft for shot
Later, Assistant Commissioner Guerin gave the game away about the Victoria Police attitude to the investigation of The AWU Scandal when he lectured reader RobertS:
Had I been asked, I'd have been able to tell authorities about Assistant Commissioner Guerin's other posts from his work computer during work time.
Amongst other things, he reckons that "Lisa Zanatta has been used as a scapegoat" in the misuse of superannuation fund member details by the CFMEU - and it was "Definately a cover up from the CEO".
That wouldn't go down well with Dan Andrews, Brett his Chief of Staff, Graham Ashton, John Setka or the others who hold positions of influence over Victoria Police.
Guerin's got advice for crooks that might be useful for Brett/Vernon/Victor Mature too:
Domican is a waabbe gangster and loved to play the heavy to the extent of lying. He was an associate of drug runner Barry McCann. He should have stayed a Garbo.
Should have stayed a Garbo?
Maybe you should have stayed a policeman and not become a political activist and agitator hiding behind false identities Brett.
Thanks for the press conference today Commissioner Ashton, but we're still waiting on our apology.
Victoria Police leadership is living down to our expectations.
We never did get that update on Operation Tendement we asked for either.
I think we'll give up on you doing anything on the AWU/Gillard front.
Just like we've given up on you in general.
Given your bosses in the Andrews/CFMEU Government and their attitudes, we'll just go ahead without you.
And Vernon Demerest, one of our readers has a final message for you mate!
I met with Ralph Blewitt and his lawyer in Perth today.
Ralph will appear in the Magistrates' Court on Wednesday where he will be asked to enter a plea to each of 31 charges in The AWU Scandal.
Ralph's the only person facing charges.
Each charge relates to a single invoice paid by Thiess and raised by the Gillard slush fund, the AWU Workplace Reform Association.
Each charge alleges that Thiess suffered a financial detriment BECAUSE of a fraud committed on Thiess by Ralph Blewitt.
Each charge alleges that Thiess was tricked, or deceived into believing that the "workplace reform" invoice from the Gillard slush fund was for a real service.
The charges say Ralph Blewitt accomplished all of that - alone.
Ralph Blewitt doesn't say there was no crime.
He doesn't say he did nothing wrong.
He doesn't say Wilson, Gillard and the other conspirators were entitled to the money they received from the scam.
He doesn't say there was no dishonesty either.
And the tide is now turning decisively in Ralph's favour.
In a major development - perhaps a unique development in a serious crime like this one - the original investigator of the AWU Scandal crimes is now re-engaged in the investigation.
Former Detective Sergeant Dave McAlpine has produced a 20 page statement that supports Ralph Blewitt's position and calls for the prosecution of others with a lot more to come.
What's Dave's motivation? It's the same as Ralph's. And mine.
Here's the highly motivated investigator Dave McAlpine hard at work on making sure the real crooks face the courts.
Those bigger crooks in the AWU Scandal are now in the cross-hairs.
They are named, with times, dates, places and reams of documentary evidence incriminating them in serious criminal offences.
Former Detective Sergeant McAlpine is pursuing them.
I am pursuing them. And I hope you are too.
If we keep making our voices heard, at some point the pressure will become overwhelming for the paid authorities to do their jobs and pursue the real crooks too.
$400,000 did not wing its way from the WA Building and Construction Industry Training Council/Fund - via Thiess - into the Gillard renovations, the Kerr Street house, the buried cash and for other purposes as a result of 31 deceptions committed by Ralph Blewitt.
While the current case against Ralph Blewitt is making its way through the courts, a growing group of former Corporate Affairs officials, police like Dave McAlpine, former colleagues of Gillard and Wilson and witnesses from the BCITF and Thiess are coming forward to point out documents and other evidence that tells the truth about The AWU Scandal.
And because Ralph Blewitt's charged with offences in this matter, he has a court-enforced right to get each and every bit of that evidence. With summonses and sheriffs to back him up.
I have not had this level of confidence until now in the certainty that sufficient men and women of good will are now acting in concert to undo the coverups and bring the offenders to justice.
Jan 24, 2018 - David Asmar, who also has close ties to Mr Shorten, is now an aide to another of the Labor leader's factional backers, Senator Kimberley Kitching. The Daily Telegraph has confirmed Mr Asmar is now listed as an adviser to Ms Kitching, who is married to Victorian factional player Andrew Landeryou.
Nov 7, 2016 - Asmar, backed by Landeryou and his wife, new Labor senator Kimberley Kitching, is a political operative loyal to Shorten. She became Shorten's candidate to reclaim control of the HSU No1 branch after Shorten fell out with Jackson and her acolytes because Jackson refused to vote the way Shorten told ...
Oct 29, 2016 - There was a buoyant mood on Tuesday evening during a brief joint sitting of the Victorian parliament when Kimberley Kitching was formally ... It is true that Asmar and Kitching inherited a mess from an underling of the now disgraced Kathy Jackson — but the HSU No 1 branch did not recover during ...
Mar 15, 2017 - Andrew Landeryou and his co-accused have escaped conviction. Photo: Ken Irwin. One of the accused, Shorten confidant Andrew Landeryou, is the husband of recently installed Victorian Senator Kimberley Kitching. David Boutros-Asmar, George Droutsas and Dean Sherriff are also accused of taking part ...
Dec 28, 2016 - Andrew Landeryou, the husband of the Labor senator Kimberley Kitching, will face Melbourne magistrates court in February on five counts of theft and five counts of criminal damage. Two other men have also been charged over the incident – David Asmar faces the same 10 charges, as does Dean Sherriff ...
Senate on 15/02/2017
STATEMENTS BY SENATORS - Member for Melbourne Ports
McKenzie, Sen Bridget
Senator McKENZIE(Victoria) (13:47): I rise to place on the record my concerns about a pattern of activity around the office of the member for Melbourne Ports, Michael Danby. This involves claims spanning a decade that he has housed a taxpayer-funded 'dirt unit' in his electorate office.
On 25 November last year, journalist Brad Norington with Rosie Lewis published a story in The Australian revealing that a blogger by the name of Peter Wicks, who runs a website called Wixxyleaks, is actually a taxpayer-funded staffer working for the Member for Melbourne Ports. Mr Wicks' Wixxyleaks website claims to be independent, but it often smears members of the Labor Party, the Greens, coalition parties and others, while promoting certain Labor factional players, like Senator Kitching.
According to the story, Wicks is close to new Labor senator and Danby ally, and now senator, Kimberley Kitching, as well as being close to Ms Kitching's husband, Andrew Landeryou, the backroom operator, former blogger and friend of Labor leader, Bill Shorten. According to The Australian:
Mr Wicks has not disclosed his role as a paid political staffer on his Wixxyleaks website—
that often makes defamatory and factually incorrect claims in attacks on the Coalition and many others.
Nor has he revealed his personal ties to Senator Kitching and Mr Landeryou, both firm backers of Mr Shorten's dominance of the ALP Right faction in Victoria.
Senior ALP and union readers of Mr Wicks's blogsite say it has become more clearly identifiable lately as propaganda for Mr Shorten's side in politics.
They suggest it could serve as a front for Mr Landeryou, who closed down his own 'poison pen' Vexnews website in 2013 at Mr Shorten's request—but could be back in business if he was using Wixxyleaks as a new outlet.
Vexnews talked up Mr Shorten while publishing allegations against people regarded as critics or opponents. "You can see the hand of Landeryou in some of the latest posts," one reader claimed.
Melbourne ABC radio broadcaster Jon Faine said during one of Ms Kitching's earlier bids for a prize Labor seat in 2013 that she brought "baggage" with her husband.
"There are many people intimidated by Andrew Landeryou and the way he uses Vexnews to bully and undermine and ruin people's reputations," Faine said.
The Australian sought comment from Mr Wicks about his dual roles as a blogger and political staffer and whether he was receiving assistance with his blog. A fellow staffer in Mr Danby's Melbourne office said Mr Wicks was in a meeting and not available, possibly for hours. Mr Wicks did not return later calls.
Mr Danby defended the blog and praised Mr Wicks's communications skills in his role as an electoral officer.
"As a zealous champion of free speech, I, of course, will do nothing to interfere with his highly regarded blog-writing, although, of course, expect this would only ever be done in his own time, not while at work," Mr Danby said.
Mr Danby subsequently wrote a letter to the editor, stating that, since joining his staff in October, Wicks had only blogged three times and not during work hours.
Mr Danby's letter to the editor does not conclusively refute the claims that Mr Wicks' blogs are simply a private activity. If one looks at Wicks' posts since his employment by Mr Danby, three out of five are devoted to defending Kimberley Kitching and the HSU's Diana Asmar from media criticism or attacking Kathy Jackson—hardly causes removed from the factional interests of his employer, Mr Danby.
Before commenting on the Member for Melbourne Ports' history of hosting such operators in his office I wish to examine the relationship between Mr Danby and Kimberley Kitching's errant husband, Andrew Landeryou.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator McAllister, a point of order?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I would remind Senator McKenzie to use correct titles.
Senator McKENZIE:My apologies—Senator Kitching. He is notorious for his Vexnews blog which operated from 2008 to 2013. Vexnews claimed to be 'First with the worst'. It was an amalgam of defamation, vendetta, rumour and fiction, often aimed at opponents of the Shorten faction, who by contrast were promoted. There is no doubt that the Member for Melbourne Ports is a political ally of the Landeryous. Indeed, Mr Danby acknowledged Landeryou's help in his maiden speech to parliament in 1998. After the recent federal election Andrew Landeryou and David Asmar, along with two other men, were arrested for allegedly vandalising Greens and Liberal polling material at multiple polling stations from Elwood to Port Melbourne and allegedly driving at volunteers who tried to stop them. Fairfax Media reported at the time that the men had been released without charge but were still being investigated. I understand this matter is presently before the court so I will not comment further. According to Fairfax:
Mr Landeryou is understood to be a personal and political confidant of Mr Shorten—
the Leader of the Opposition—
All four men were heavily involved in the election campaign of Michael Danby, the Labor MP for Melbourne Ports who fought a close three-way contest to eventually declare victory, in a campaign he described as "ugly".
So it is clear that there are strong links not only between the member for Melbourne Ports and the Landeryous but also between the Landeryous and the opposition leader, Bill Shorten.
The member for Melbourne Ports has been an unashamed booster of Senator Kitching's ambitions to attain a Senate seat, regaling ABC viewers with a tale of her using Argo-like sleuthing abilities to clean up the HSU, which has subsequently been debunked. Everyone knows that Senator Kitching's Senate candidacy was supported behind the scenes by Mr Shorten. One might be tempted to dismiss the member for Melbourne Ports' association with both Peter Wicks and Andrew Landeryou as just poor judgment about staff and associates were it not for the fact that Peter Wicks' exposure as a part of a dirt operation centred around Mr Danby's office is actually a case of history repeating itself.
In 2006 another taxpayer-funded adviser to Mr Danby was accused of blackening the names of MPs and compiling dirt files on them. Specifically, Dr Adam Carr, who worked for Mr Danby, was accused of doctoring the online biographical entries of dozens of Labor MPs and Liberals, including then Treasurer Peter Costello and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. Two Labor MPs, Julia Irwin and Jennie George, complained to then Opposition Whip, Roger Price, that Dr Carr had placed unpleasant biographical material about them on Wikipedia.
According to an article in the SundayHerald Sun, Mrs Irwin, the then member for Fowler, said she believed Dr Carr was 'getting dirt on people'. The article went on to say:
"People who are ALP staffers should not be doing that type of thing," she said.
Ms George, the member for Throsby and a former ACTU president, is believed to have complained that Dr Carr wrote she was a member of the Communist Party in the 1970s.
The entry was later changed to describe her as an "alleged" former member.
The Whip would not comment, but it is believed he warned Mr Danby to rein in his staffer.
At the time, the member for Melbourne Ports denied the allegation, and Mr Carr claimed that, while he had edited the Wikipedia entries of many MPs, Mrs Irwin's Wikipedia entry had been changed by an anonymous user. Despite his denials about Adam Carr's activities, Mr Danby has shown himself more than eager and willing to use his material when it suits him.
In 2011 Mr Danby became involved in a war over edits to Senator Lee Rhiannon's Wikipedia page, with user 'Intelligent Mr Toad' duelling with NSW Greens staffer Chris Maltby over Maltby's attempts to expunge details of Senator Rhiannon's communist past. In parliament, Mr Danby denounced both Maltby and Senator Rhiannon but did not refer to 'Intelligent Mr Toad', who was editing Senator Rhiannon's Wikipedia page to include the references being expunged. The thing is that 'Intelligent Mr Toad' was an alias used by Adam Carr, although he had at this time moved from Mr Danby's payroll onto David Feeney's.
If one were so inclined, one could trace an unbroken line of defamation linked to the member for Melbourne Ports, starting with Adam Carr and continuing up to today with Peter Wicks. The unfortunate thing about the activities of Mr Carr, Mr Landeryou and Mr Wicks is that truth is often dispensed in favour of smear. To call it muckraking is rating it too highly. And the thing is that, when such online operations are being deployed not so much against the coalition but against the internal opponents of the Shorten faction, as well as Labor's Green rivals, they are not being used to promote friends of that faction, such as Senator Kitching. It is no wonder Labor has been on the brink of exploding over such shenanigans.