John Madigan backs party strategy: controversy over plans

BALLARAT-based Senator John Madigan this week moved to defend Democratic Labor Party election plans after leaked documents showed the party was seeking candidates based on their ethnicity. 

The internal campaign strategy documents obtained by The Courier showed the party plans to contest the lower house seat of Ballarat at next year’s election, as well as nine other seats including Melbourne and Isaacs. 

In the seat of Chisholm, currently held by House of Representatives Speaker Anna Burke, the documents specified the party would “look for a Chinese candidate”. 

The October 12 meeting in South Melbourne was chaired by DLP state secretary Mark Farrell and discussed pre-selection processes and the goal of receiving five per cent of the popular vote.  Candidate James Leach is being considered to challenge Gillard government cabinet secretary Mark Dreyfus in the seat of Isaacs. 

Senator Madigan and the socially conservative minor party surprised many by winning Victoria’s last senate spot in 2010, after more than 250 rounds of counting.  

Senator Madigan said the selection of a Chinese candidate for Chisholm was appropriate. 

“We had a Chinese candidate in Chisholm at the last election and many of the community leaders there said that was important to them for the next election,” Senator Madigan said.  “Any decision about which candidate will stand in Ballarat or other seats is a matter for the state executive.” 

Ms Burke said the preselection of DLP candidates was a matter for the party but that “the community in Chisholm deserves only the best local candidates.”

The Courier understands party member Pat Murphy will contest the seat of Ballarat. 

thomas.mcilroy@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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