- Fairfax reporter Farrah Tomazin attended the ALP conference as a guest
- CCTV recordings show her dropping a dictaphone as she got up and walked away
- The recording then shows security staff picking up the dictaphone and taking it to lost property
- Rather than being returned to Tomazin by the lost property manager, Fairfax states it was stolen by ALP officials and police are now investigating this point in detail
- Fairfax states "At this stage we have chosen not to name the individuals involved in order to protect the identity of our sources."
- The Herald Sun reports that John McLindon,the opposition leader's chief-of-staff, listened to the tape before it was disseminated. They do not state whether he was responsible for stealing the dictaphone.
The identities of the real culprits are no great secret though. Daniel Andrews, running the opposition front bench, is a busy man who needs to keep a squeaky clean profile. This type of cloak and dagger activity is kept at arms length, in the ALP's state office rather than the Parliament.
The two key players there, of course, are Noah Carroll, the formerly bankrupt State Secretary and Stephen Donnelly, assistant secretary and campaign managerwho has previously faced charges over election rigging.
Donnelly is a particularly bad piece of work. It has already been said that due to his role in the La Trobe student union election rigging he will never be allowed to run for public office. The ALP doesn't need another Craig Thomson. Unemployable outside the murky world of Labor politics, this means this duo can work full time on shenanigans like the Age tapes.
Sources suggest that both of these individuals will be sacked or resigning by the end of this week. The party is particularly keen to avoid the scenario where the culprits will face police proescution and a trial during the state election campaign period in November and may seek to have it wrapped up quickly this week.
Who will go? Where will they end up next?
For the ALP to move on from this, there needs to be at least one real sacking/resignation from the Parliamentary party (possibly Daniel Andrews or his chief of staff) and a similarly high level departure from the ALP's Victorian Branch headquarters, where Stephen Donnelly or Noah Carroll will probably go.
People should look closely at where these people end up. It is not unusual in these circumstances for the ALP to simply move people around, like the Catholic Church moving paedophile priests from parish to parish. Don't be surprised if Donnelly or Carroll are re-hired a week later in a trade union affiliated to the ALP.
When Stephen Donnelly was on the public payroll at the office of Senator David Feeney, he somehow ended up in Queensland for a period of time helping factional buddies take over the Transport Workers Union. Details of this sabbatical were exposed in the Royal Commission. If Donnelly is suspended from his official ALP role, don't be surprised to see him finding something to keep himself busy, like driving bus loads of branch stacks to ALP branch meetings.
Now on Twitter #dictagate