|Blow the Whistle on Corruption
|We may not be real, but we don’t like Dan
|Upper House: Eastern Victorian, North Eastern Metropolitan, Northern Metropolitan, Northern Victorian, South Eastern Metropolitan, Southern Metropolitan, Western Metropolitan, Western Victorian
Lower House: none
|RDSD’s preferences, for the most part, reflect their membership in the preference deals organised by Glenn Druery. In every seat, they’ve listed some combination of Health Australia, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, Hinch’s Justice, Labour DLP, Liberal Democrats, Sustainable Australia, Transport Matters, New Democrats, and the Angry Victorians. The Freedom Party also attracts third or fourth preferences in several regions. What’s curious, though – given RDSD’s purported motivation – is that they’ve given a Labor candidate their fourth preference in Finnigan’s own seat of Western Victoria.
Policies & Commentary
Okay. So. Here’s the thing.
The Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews Party (hereafter referred to as RDSD) is a giant, confusing mess.
It claims to be primarily focused on – surprise, surprise – getting rid of the current Premier. According to Western Victoria candidate Tosh-Jake Finnigan 1Finnigan uses “Mx” as an honorific, but I could not find a statement as to correct pronouns. I have erred on the side of caution and used gender-neutral pronouns to describe them. If this is incorrect, it is honest error, and there is no intent to misgender., “Dodgy Dan” and his Socialist Left “lackeys” run a “dictatorship,” which must be brought down. Not to put too fine a point on it, RDSD transcends the notion of a single-issue party to the point of obsession. So far, so predictable. But here’s where things get weird.
Last week, the Angry Victorians Party leaked a video of a discussion two of their representatives had with so-called “preference whisperer” Glenn Druery. In that video, Druery claimed that he had invented RDSD:
“So, let me tell you about Sack Dan Andrews, and I am bringing you into confidence here – it is one of mine … That has been formed because if that gets a decent draw it is going to completely usurp Clive (Palmer), One Nation and poor little Aidan (McLindon, deputy leader of the Freedom Party).“
This, he said, would accomplish his primary aim:
“We’ve got to give the government – which will be the Andrews government – we’ve got to give them a crossbench they can work with.“
If true, this is an astonishing claim – that the RDSD is nothing more than a dummy party formed solely to allow Druery to effectively double-cross right-wing minor parties who had engaged his services.
Now, it’s not like this is a new thing. Anyone who’s been to university can probably remember at least one “More Beer Party” that was formed purely to funnel preferences to one of the majors in Student Representative Council elections. In 2001, John Pasquarelli revealed he had been paid by the Liberal Party to run as an Independent in the federal seat of Bendigo and direct his preferences back to the Liberals.
But is the situation with RDSD similar? Well, a closer look raises some extremely disturbing questions.
Finnigan is the only RDSD candidate with any kind of web presence related to the election at all. Their website is the only one even talking about RDSD. Of the other listed candidates, most cannot be definitively identified – there are private and empty social media profiles with the same name, but without biographical information, I can’t say whether these people have anything to do with this party. Even the Authorising Officer, Berke Yolcu, has no presence that I can find apart from their name on RDSD campaign material. There is also no news coverage featuring these candidates other than to mention their names. To all intents and purposes, they may as well not exist.
As for Finnigan themself, their recent Twitter activity is entirely political, but their Facebook profile doesn’t even mention they are running for office.
And their website? The domain name is viclabor dot org, and looking up the domain registration reveals this:
While this is not unprecedented, in view of the exceptionally shady behaviour involved in registering such a deceptive website name, I do have to ask who registered the domain, and why do they feel the need to conceal their identity.
Are the RDSD nothing but a bunch of dummy candidates? I can’t say definitely, since the evidence – apart from Druery’s own assertions – is entirely circumstantial. My personal belief is that Tosh-Jake Finnigan’s long-held opposition and anger towards Dan Andrews may be a convenient front for a party that doesn’t really exist.
Let’s give them this much benefit of the doubt, though, and take a brief look at what Finnigan wants to accomplish if elected.
Unsurprisingly, almost every promise is about either doing away with initiatives established by the Andrews government, or targeting him for legal action and punishment.
RDSD, according to Finnigan, will drag Andrews and anyone believed to be in his camp up before a Royal Commission into the “Red Shirts” scandal, which will also target IBAC and the Victorian Ombudsman. It should be noted that this is Finnigan’s personal cause; a former Labor staffer, they describes themself as a whistleblower who suffered discrimination and generally unfair treatment as a result of their actions. The reason RDSD is targeting the Ombudsman Deborah Glass is simple – she decided that nothing criminal had occurred, and that the principal witness, ex-Labor-turned-Independent-turned-DLP MP Adem Somyurek, had provided unreliable evidence.
Hand in hand with that is a promise to increase oversight of both IBAC and the Ombudsman. Apparently, the Independent part of IBAC’s name isn’t good enough for Finnigan. Can we just pause for a moment here to contemplate the utter stupidity of calling for an organisation charged with arm’s-length investigations of governments being overseen by said governments? Talk about putting foxes in charge of the henhouse.
RDSD wants ”politically-motivated” lockdowns and mandates ended. Pity that the inconvenient facts that Victoria is not in a state of lockdown, and that most vaccination mandates have already been lifted render this policy meaningless. But really, that’s not what Finnigan is talking about here. The clue is in the phrasing. This policy is designed to suggest that pandemic response measures taken by the Andrews government were not about community health at all, but purely about a dictatorship taking away our civil liberties.
Then there’s the promise to get rid of “Dan’s Inner City Woke Agenda” in favour of a “Work agenda.” I’ll bet whoever wrote this (probably Finnigan) is patting themselves on the back for such snappy wordplay. Not “woke” – “work,” get it? Get it?? Give me a break.
So what is this “work agenda”? A list of vague statements about fixing the health system, education, community safety, and cost of living. I probably don’t need to say that these are all Dan Andrews’ fault, according to RDSD. In fact, you could safely take it as read that in RDSD land, everything bad that’s ever happened is because of Dan, because apparently he has the power to influence everything from a deadly contagious virus to floods causing food shortages to the war in Ukraine driving up the cost of fuel.
I wonder if RDSD think Dan Andrews is, in fact, some kind of evil god possessed of:
It would certainly explain their thinking.
The rest of RDSD’s promises are just more of the same, Dan-blaming without evidence or proposed solutions to the problems they claim are plaguing Victoria, so I’m not going to bother going into detail. I’ll confine myself to pointing out that their accusation that Dan is engaged in a solo campaign to shaft the working class by putting ”inner-city private school educated elites” into safe Labor seats is, frankly, hilarious.
So what do we have, then? Ultimately, very little. A party that may be nothing more than a way for one man to manipulate the vote to provide his desired outcome. A party who has exactly one visible member, who seems motivated more by personal grievance than anything else. A party without coherent policies, just a list of grievances and some truly nasty personal attacks against the Premier.
Based on the questions surrounding their existence and purpose alone, I would recommend not risking your vote, especially not above the line.