Sunday, July 25, 2010

Letter to the Editor Melbourne Weekly

Page 3 Top News Fairfax Media Melbourne Weekly July 21-27

Fake Danby Website has the real thing all fired up (July 21st)

In response to your article I would like to clarify my actions for publishing a blog “the unofficial website of Michael Danby”

Firstly there was nothing fake about the discussion site. It clearly stated upfront that is was “unofficial”.

In April of this year I conducted a search on Google and found that the local member hadn’t registered his domain name extension or secured his name on twitter. I decided to set up a site that was an open discussion of what people thought of Michael’s Danby’s performance, which included a poll.

It started off as a well-balanced blog, then as time went on some people became vicious; many posts (that I moderated) could not see the light of day due to their hateful nature. The majority of the personal attacks came from the Labor side, however users posted some 20 comments.

It was the Liberal party that called me and asked me to take down the site as they “didn’t want any distractions during the election and they didn’t support publishing of unofficial websites by party members”. I pointed out that Labor had officially endorsed sites to attack Liberals like and my site was an open discussion forum. I was told, “The Liberal Party does not play the same way Labor does”

I immediately withdrew the site and tendered my resignation to the party.

My actions for publishing the site were my own and any reference by Mr Danby that my actions were endorsed are completely wrong. (I was an ordinary member that held no title, who paid $70 or so a year to be a member).

The claims of Mr. Danby finding out about the site three days before the election being called are ludicrous and he knows it. It is a simple fact that all Mr. Danby (or his office) had to do was contact me to remove any so-called offending post. Mr. Danby’s choice was to engage in a political stunt by producing a press release to the media three days out from the election being called.

It highlights the fact that Labor is determined to filter (censor) the Internet but they don’t stand by the same rules when it comes their actions. Witness

Mr. Danby stated in your article that he is happy for people to openly discuss his performance - then I invite him to include a forum on his website. I would be interested to find out from others in Melbourne Ports as to why they would want to continue to support a local member that seems so dedicated to being on the back bench. As a resident of Melbourne Ports for over 15 years, I would rather see someone with front bench ambition and someone that embraced and adopted new media.

Phil Leahy

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