Officially the Victorian State Election campaign starts on Melbourne Cup Day. But it turns out that John Brumby visited Government House to deliver the writs today (Monday 1st November 2010). Apparently Governor de Kretzer will sleep on it overnight (and perhaps consider alternatives, like announcing that he is seizing power in his own right, or something), before he issues the State Election Writs tomorrow. I imagine that he does this sometime mid morning, with the writs sitting on a little side table, while he has a cup of tea before signing/sealing them and heading off to Flemington for the big event of the day.

Government House, Melbourne, Victoria, two days before the calling of the 2010 State Election

I've had a couple of conversations in recent times where people have assumed that it is unthinkable that the ALP won't be re-elected in 2010. I haven't done a seat by seat analysis yet, but my suspicion is that this will be a tight election, with a hung parliament or Lib/National majority quite possible.

In this context, the recent smearing of Brian Walters, the Greens Candidate for Melbourne by (at last count) two ministers, the ALP State Secretary and a former State Secretary annoys me. The svengalis in the party may think that drawing damaging pictures of candidates based on stretched or irrelevant facts may help. I blogged about this in the past in relation to claims by people associated with the ALP made during the Melbourne City Council elections. If you campaign negatively your facts need to be indisputable. Don't send out leaflets about schools during a Council election (it's not a Council power). And to be frank, none of the three claims made against Brian Walters (representing a power company, allegedly being anti-Semitic for a war crimes case and a property investment associated with his brother) stack up as reasonable criticisms. Importantly, I'm annoyed by Brumby's comment on the Sunday Herald Sun's report when he said "It's a fair story". This is not the campaign I want to hear from a party on the front foot with (I hope) positive plans for the State of Victoria.

Consider this:

  • A Senior Counsel (who is obliged to accept any case provided to him, but who might - perhaps - have been able to redirect a case to another barrister if he had tried) once accepted a brief from a power company to represent them in a case involving an industrial accident, vs
  • A State Government that struck a deal that allowed Australia's dirtiest power station, (Hazelwood) to say open for another 25 years rather than close down in 2005 as originally planned.
I'm sorry. How is the claim against Mr Walters SC sufficient to persuade me to vote for the ALP if I wished to see climate issues addressed? (Yes, I know the State ALP has come up with a collection of environmental policies since the Federal Government's postponement/abandonment of emissions trading. That's what they should be campaigning on. Persuade potential green voters that those policies are good policies.)

The only thing that annoys me more than negative smears is fact free campaigning that heads in one direction when fact based evidence shows that policy should go in another direction. Hopefully we won't see any of that during the campaign. Oh dear... crime, drugs... Maybe it is going to be a long campaign.

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Anthony Holmes November 1st, 2010 03:53:41 PM

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