Denise Allen’s hack attack

FORMER Benalla MP Denise Allen says Labor Party “factional hacks” have stopped her bid to re-enter state politics.

Ms Allen said the preselection of Clare Malcolm over herself for the new seat of Euroa for this year’s election was proof the party’s “faceless men” were still at work.

Her claims are the latest development in the Victorian Labor’s pre- selection saga in which faction bosses’ alleged wheeling and dealing has taken centre stage amid calls for party reform.

Ms Allen said the decision to install Ms Malcolm — who does not live in the electorate — instead of allowing a rank-and-file vote had infuriated the already frustrated local Labor branches.

“They (the party heads) change the rules to suit themselves, but they still want us to go and hand out how-to-vote cards on election day,” she said.

“The branches are furious, and if they support her (Ms Malcolm’s) campaign they’ll be doing it in a half-hearted manner.

“It breaks my heart that what was once a really great party is being eaten away from the inside by these factional hacks.”

Ms Allen won Benalla in a 2000 by-election, but lost to Bill Sykes in 2002.

She resigned from the Labor Party in 2003 and ran as a People Power candidate in the upper house in 2006; last year she nominated for Labor preselection for Indi but was deemed ineligible.

Hers was the only Labor nomination for Euroa until February, when Ms Malcolm said she had lodged hers.

Ms Malcolm — an electorate officer for retiring Yuroke MP Liz Beattie — lives just south of the electorate in Hidden Valley.

She was told she was preselected just before Easter.

“I can absolutely say hand on heart that I am not a member of a faction — I have nothing to do with the factions,” Ms Malcolm said.

“My nomination is genuine... I discussed it with no one except my family.”

But Ms Allen believes the right faction sought to find someone to run against her, because of her history of disputes with the Labor Party.

“When they talk about faceless men and women, they actually do exist,” she said.

North East branches of the Labor Party are still reeling after four nominees for the upper house seat of Northern Victoria — Rowena Allen, Zuvele Leschen, Lauren McCully and Lisa Mahood — were rejected in favour of two men from Melbourne.

The party’s appeal tribunal last month found Labor had failed to endorse enough women candidates for the election, breaching its own rule that women candidates must run in 40 per cent of winable seats.

Labor Party headquarters did not respond to questions from The Border Mail yesterday.