SA Libs: Bad at Emails, Good at Puzzles
While for most of us email is a fairly entrenched – even passé – way of communication, it is a medium that continues to cause problems for the SA Liberal Party.
if InDaily reported last week, the state party has been forced to admit that it “needs to improve the way” [membership email] lists are disseminated, better communicate the confidentiality of the lists and the consequences of any misuse of the lists”.
That conclusion followed an extensive investigation into the alleged misuse of state council email lists by anonymous party “whistleblowers” rioting against the right-wing faction’s ongoing recruitment drive in largely Pentecostal-based Christian communities.
The problem was that the party couldn’t punish the violators because the existing use of member lists had been, say, a bit loose.
As State Director Sascha Meldrum’s investigative report states, “There has been a widespread dissemination of membership lists for various purposes in the past, including obtaining support for positions within the party or pre-selection support”.
She noted that “party-wide communication” [will now] are sent to remind all members of the need to respect the confidentiality of party membership lists provided to party unit leaders for specific purposes set forth in the Constitution, and failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.”
However, just a few days later, and the party’s strict secrecy surrounding the State Council’s email addresses has been retested.
One of nine nominees for the four vacant vice-chair positions at this weekend’s much-anticipated AGM — at which the right hopes its recruiting zeal will pay off — has sent a plea for support to the more than 200 council members.
The problem is that the candidate – Joe Fernandes – initially chose not to put the recipient’s email addresses in the ‘Blind Carbon Copy’ segment of the email template – meaning that anyone who received their resume also received a full list of e-mail addresses from the State Council.
Fernandes told InDaily he had initially assumed that “everyone in the party should know everyone”, but was advised to retrieve his original email and resend a corrected version.
But the episode has again highlighted the difficulty of keeping membership lists secret when they are already in such large circulation under the existing rules.
“Members have an implied right to communicate with each other…unless the party says they can’t and keeps its own information confidential,” an insider said.
“Distribution of lists to members will inevitably lead to this contact information being rife among members [so] any argument that the information is truly confidential fails every time there is an email like this.
Former party chairman, now MP, Steve Murray said he was “not surprised” by the latest breach.
“It’s an understandable mistake and to be expected when you hand these lists out to people,” he said InDaily.
Fernandes – who is not on any of the right-wing or left-wing tickets for the vice-presidency – said he “would like to see people raise any issues they have” with him and noted that he was pleased to present his resume. to share with all party members, saying: “Everything I have achieved, I have worked very hard for it, and with the help of God.”
That includes an intriguing talent that raised the eyebrows of the partygoers.
He lists his hobbies as “going to church, going to the gym, playing sports, studying, interacting with the general public and advising the most vulnerable citizens”.
But he also highlighted a skill that will serve him well in solving the SA Liberal Party’s unsolvable puzzle: He can “solve Rubik’s Cube in six minutes”.
Unfortunately, VP candidates only have five minutes to answer questions at the AGM, but some in the party are silently musing that the allotted time should be extended to test Fernandes’ claim.
An unauthorized anti-mask, anti-vax, anti-lockdown protest in the city today had the ironic result of effectively shutting down the state parliament.
Despite SA currently having a relatively low level of COVID restrictions compared to Victoria and New South Wales, several protesters gathered on North Terrace to complain about them – some even attempted to climb the Government House fence and others attempted gain access to Parliament House.
An email has been duly sent to MPs and construction staff from Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Council Guy Dickson and House of Assembly Serjeant-at-Arms Lauren Williams.
“Due to an unauthorized protest taking place today on the steps of Parliament, and a security risk posed by the protest group, we recommend that all [but one] The entrance to the parliament building will be closed and locked from 11 a.m. until further notice this morning,” the message read.
“Thank you for your help in this matter.”
More parliamentary drama
Last Thursday there was more parliamentary drama when an ambulance had to be called for a civil servant who collapsed during a public works committee hearing.
The inquiry was a hearing by two Environment Department bureaucrats, senior project coordinator Jarrod Eaton and his director Grant Pelton, about the government’s much-discussed Glenthorne Farm National Park project.
Things got off to a rough start as witnesses tried to extol the virtues of urban greening, but Labor Committee member Tom Koutsantonis questioned the legality of government spending on the project so far.
“My concern here is that you spent $3.6 million on a $12 million project without any regulatory approval, and the act is obvious — you can’t,” he told the couple.
“So I’m not sure on what basis you went to work.”
He insisted “the legislation is clear that any works above $4 million cannot proceed until parliament considers a report from this committee” – which was not the case.
Pelton replied that the project went ahead “with the approval of our minister”, David Speirs.
This prompted the next reply from Koutsantonis: “I honestly don’t know what to say.”
“It’s a good project, we support it, but the parliament is there for a reason and the laws are there for a reason.”
And so it continued when—according to eyewitness accounts—Pelton suddenly passed out.
A draft Hansard transcript seen by InDaily simply reads: “A medical emergency has occurred and the procedure has been halted.”
An ambulance was called and – as a boon to the beleaguered health system – arrived quickly.
The minister’s office has confirmed that the bureaucrat is now on the mend, but declined to comment further.
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