Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Coverage of ALP Northcote election tactics

It's good to see The Melbourne Times publishing a selection of letters in this week's edition about the misleading campaign carried on by the ALP in Northcote against the Greens leading up to the 25 November State election. Among them was an edited version of my contribution, given here in full:

I was pleased to see Fiona Richardson repeat claims about a Green preference deal with the Liberals, as Northcote voters now have documented evidence that she was deeply implicated in this false allegation, also shamefully advanced by Peter Garrett and the Premier himself in letters to all Northcote electors before the election. And that's in addition to Labor's nocturnal letterboxing of flyers showing the Greens emblem with a picture of Ted Baillieu at its centre.

On election day, as I stood on the steps of Northcote Town Hall with Fiona Richardson and the Labor luminaries turned lackeys for the day, I saw in the questions of concerned voters to the Greens campaigners that these grubby tactics had hit home. For every voter who asked a question, there were doubtless others who voted Labor, improbably fearing that the so-called 'deal' might overturn Labor's 28-seat advantage in the Lower House.

I call on Fiona Richardson to declare the basis on which she argues that the deal existed, to reveal the role of her husband, Stephen Newnham, in her campaign, and to make public the extent of funding devoted to misleading Northcote voters. I want people to know that in this campaign the Labor Party was reading from the Tampa book of election strategy, and should be ashamed for having done so.

As for Richardson's performance as a mere place-holder for the ALP, I note from VEC figures that the Party's first-preference votes dropped by nearly 3,500 from Delahunty's 2002 tally, that there were nearly 6,000 fewer formal votes, and informal votes were also up substantially. In the context of such a dirty campaign, these figures are hardly cause for the arrogance now dripping from our new MP.

There was also coverage in this week's edition of The Northcote Leader on page 5, 'Brown sees red over Green preference claims', the headline referring to the intervention in the issue of Greens Senator, Bob Brown. Let us hope that the Greens pursue their legal challenge over the campaign, and that the ALP's tactics continue to receive the scrutiny they deserve.

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Comments are most welcome on any of the posts at Northcote Independent. I encourage feedback - positive or negative. Feel free to disagree, but remember that posts are moderated to ensure they are on the topic and in the spirit of open debate, as outlined in my editorial policy.