November 28, 2014 – 5:00PM
By Scott Tibballs
Mr Craig Langdon has a long history as a politician, and is well known among Labor MPs as the former member for Ivanhoe between 1996 and 2010, and government whip between 1999 and 2010.
Currently he is Mayor of Banyule, which overlaps Ivanhoe.
That he is challenging the sitting Labor MP for Ivanhoe as an independent says a little about how he feels about being deposed by former friend and colleague Mr Anthony Carbines in a pre-selection battle leading up to the 2010 election.
Mr Carbines, said Mr Langdon, owes his political fortunes to him.
‘Anthony got elected on my coat-tails,’ he says. Mr Langdon also claims Mr Carbines ‘survived’ in 2008 ‘because I intervened to save him.’
A few months ago, before UniPollWatch existed and long before he declared himself an independent candidate for Ivanhoe, Mr Langdon said to this journalist in regards to his departure from the ALP; ‘I believe in loyalty. I also believe in paying back for disloyalty. If you’re loyal to me, I’ll remain loyal to you. But if you’re disloyal to me then hell…hath no fury.’
According to Mr Langdon, Mr Carbines has done a poor job of representing Ivanhoe, and this isthe reason why he is running as an independent.
Mr Langdon had held on to Ivanhoe by 12.4 per cent at the 2002 state election. His margin was reduced, but still safe at the 2006 election. According to Mr Langdon, this made Ivanhoe an easy opportunity for faction leaders to promote someone more loyal to them.
When the 2010 election rolled around, the newly anointed Mr Carbines suffered a swing larger than the state average, which made Ivanhoe marginal. For the first time in 18 years the Liberal party achiever a higher primary vote than Labor, and Mr Carbines held on with the help of the Greens.
Mr Langdon was born and raised in the area, and became interested in politics during the Whitlam years. He describes Gough Whitlam as ‘an exciting Prime Minister’, and told the Heidelberg Leader that he still holds his ‘Whitlam values’.
At the time of Mr Langdon’s tumultuous exit from parliament, it was suggested in the media that his resignation only a few months out from a state election was timed to damage Labor Premier John Brumby.
This is an accusation that Mr Langdon denies.. He explains that he resigned to force a by-election, and make Labor fight to retain the seat by making commitments to the area instead of cruising in on Langdon’s high primary vote – an achievement he claims as his own.
He claims the party had begun to ignore him once he lost pre-selection.
No promises or funding came Ivanhoe’s way, he said. ‘I had the impression they might be going to announce them at the election, but they weren’t going to give them to me to hang my hat on as a parting gesture. That started to annoy me more and more and more … I resigned because in a by-election everything Ivanhoe needed it would have got.’
Mr Langdon’s attempts to get some commitments for Ivanhoe from the Brumby Government were ultimately unsuccessful. There was no by-election, and Langdon was accused of attempting to sabotage Labors re-election campaign.
If Langdon is back just for revenge against Labor, he won’t admit it. His preferences place Mr Carbines last, which means that ultimately, a vote for Mr Langdon could be a vote for the Liberal challenger, Mr Carl Ziebell. His preferences are not an endorsement of anyone, he says. He only wants to remove Mr Carbines from office.
Some of the key campaign issues Mr Langdon has nominated are a new police station in Heidelberg West, funding for the new Ivanhoe Library, better public transport and more funding for the Ivanhoe Aquatic Centre.
To connect with Mr Craig Langdon
Scott Tibballs is a Master of Journalism student at the University of Melbourne