Battle for Lalor preselection heats up

Dan Wood / July 11, 2013 11:46 AM

The ALP’s so-called faceless men are at it again! This time they’re adding insult to injury by undermining former prime minister Gillard’s preselection pick for her own seat of Lalor in Melbourne’s west. 

Julia Gillard has officially endorsed Joanne Ryan, a primary school principal from Werribee, for preselection.

But conspicuous beneficiary of the Ruddslide, Minister for Trade Richard Marles is backing young DFAT staffer Lisa Clutterham, currently an Australian diplomat stationed in Papua New Guinea.241

Clutterham has been a member of the ALP for less than a month and has neither studied nor lived in any part of Melbourne.

Clutterham appeared on 774 ABC Melbourne this morning, where she openly admitted to host Jon Faine that she has no connection whatsoever to the Lalor area, nor to Melbourne generally. (Although apparently her partner visited Werribee as a child, soooo…that’s something, I guess.)

Faine, who described Clutterham’s candidacy as coming “literally [from] out of the blue”, seemed incredulous. As did several callers to 774 who expressed dismay at the arrogance of a party executive who thinks it appropriate to keep “parachuting in” unsuitable candidates.

Clutterham offered the tenuous defence that her nomination for preselection could be seen as early evidence of Kevin Rudd’s flagged party reforms aimed at democratising the ALP.

At this point, it's doubtful that Clutterham’s self-ascribed USP of being “an active member of whatever community that [she is] a part of” - what I’ll call the ‘Political Chameleon’ approach - will wash with Lalor’s voters.

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