The IBAC Hearings into branch stacking in the Victorian Labor Party will claim some scalps. Will Dan Andrews’ scalp be one of them?

The ABC reports Federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne has admitted to the hearing that he has paid people’s membership fees and said that Andrews government minister Luke Donnellan had done the same.

Donnellan has since resigned from cabinet.

Labor Ministers Adem Somyurek, Marlene Kairouz and Robin Scott all resigned from cabinet because of branch stacking allegations.

Premier Daniel Andrews’ government has been peppered with scandals and allegations of wrongdoing. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

A review by party heavyweights Steve Bracks and Jenny Macklin identified branch stacking as an “insidious practice” that had affected the integrity of the party’s membership, leading to a controversial purge of more than 1,700 memberships. This means it must have been widespread. Just who was involved was never made public. But now some names are being named.

Branch stacking involves a politician enrolling and paying the membership of friends, family and sympathisers in the branch of their party. These people may have little or no interest in politics but will vote as directed particularly in preselection. In fact, their lack of interest in politics is an advantage, they are much more likely to take direction on voting matters.

Ultimately, this has a profoundly corrupting influence on the democratic process because once one politician starts doing it, it becomes the norm because everyone needs to do it to survive.

The System’s archetype “Drifting goals” explains how this insidious process spreads and flourishes.

Over time, there is increasing pressure to stack branches with compliant, non-participating members who will ensure the sitting member is re-pre-selected. This becomes the accepted norm particularly when it is seen to be the behaviour of cabinet ministers and senior factional members.

The way to break this cycle is shown in the bottom loop where role models demonstrate that stacking is not acceptable behaviour and ethical behaviour will be rewarded. But given the success of the process of branch thinking, this is very difficult to do.

When Steve Bracks and Jenny Macklin did their review they must have discovered everybody who was involved in branch stacking. It’s interesting that some new names are surfacing now.

The interesting question will be whether they found that senior members of the party were involved in the practice and decided not to make the names public.

If the Premier was one of them, he will need all of his political skills to survive.

The Canberra Times lists a number of scandals that Dan Andrews has survived

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