Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Greens Party bullying, backbiting and divisions

From the Australian, August 22, 2012, by CHRISTIAN KERR:
Greens Senate candidate Cate Faehrmann, right, has been heavily criticised in an internal party report.
Picture: John Grainger Source: The Daily Telegraph
THE NSW Greens' leading Senate candidate for the next election has been accused of questioning the integrity of party staff and levelling unfounded charges.
A harshly worded 87-page internal party report on the bitterly fought preselection won by Cate Faehrmann has ...revealed the depths of factional division within the state.
The NSW Greens held their annual general meeting at the weekend....
The report - and equally tough comments in response by Greens members that have appeared on a closed party website, both obtained by The Australian - illustrate the infighting between the hard-left "Eastern Bloc" faction allied to senator Lee Rhiannon, a Moscow-line communist even after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the more environmentally focused "Deep Green" grouping.
The report was prepared by returning officer and Sydney City councillor Chris Harris, a member of the Eastern Bloc.
"The preselection process was highly adversarial," he wrote.
The report slams Ms Faehrmann, an opponent of the Eastern Bloc faction.
Mr Harris claims Ms Faehrmann "questioned the integrity of Greens NSW" staff by expressing concern over the handling and storage of postal ballot envelopes.
He accuses her of "raising 'issues of concern' ... founded on no real basis" and impugning "the reputation of people of goodwill ... acting in good faith".
Mr Harris continues: "What could be characterised as bullying behaviour should not be part of a preselection that is based on mutual respects."
He claims Ms Faehrmann's comments "have no credibility" as they are based on "unfounded 'concerns' ".
Mr Harris did not respond to a request for comment yesterday....
One senior NSW Greens figure attacked the report, saying it was "only just accepted" by the weekend meeting.
"The returning officer was very partisan," the source said.
The source described Mr Harris as a member of "the inner sanctum of Lee's group".
"It had to go to a vote because there was so much concern at the bias that was evident in the report," the source said.
"He did not investigate the breaches by Lee at all but instead focused on attacking Cate Faehrmann."
It was revealed during the preselection process that Senator Rhiannon had ghostwritten a controversial article attacking her party...
Senator Rhiannon did not respond to a request for comment from The Australian yesterday....
Chris Tuckfield from the Waverley Greens attacked Mr Harris for "misrepresentation of the facts" and making "inappropriate" comments in the report "inconsistent in my view with the role and responsibility of a RO to be both impartial and seen to be impartial during a tense electoral process".
Justin Field, from the Shoalhaven Greens, described the report as "vindictive and aggressive", while another Shoalhaven member, Maureen Bell, said Mr Harris "chose to seek ways to attack my integrity" rather than acting on concerns.
A Penrith member, Suzie Wright, said the report "appears to open up adversarial battlelines...".
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