After some exciting developments in the Victorian election campaign, Crikey’s readership has contributed some feedback, criticism and savvy observations which make up this week’s election special Yoursay.

How can 3AW state rounds reporter – Craig “Tiny” Wilson (whose mother
incidentally was a former Labor MP) – justify exclusively following the
Premier on his campaign?

Surely, (even if your heart isn’t really in it) during an election campaign
you would try and devote equal time to both major parties?

I would think 3AW listeners would be extremely surprised to know how little
coverage this formerly top-rating station is devoting to the Liberal Party’s
campaign.

Look forward to hearing your response.

KMG

Speed: Education v Punishment

Give it a break: Contributing to State coffers by dint of speeding is totally voluntary. What is your next complaint – Crown Casino might give punters better odds if the tax take was less?

Correlation between deaths increasing & speeding fines increasing does not prove that fines are not a useful measure. In fact, even a business writer should have seen that without more information, it does not prove anything at all. You would need to know something about the number of deaths in which speed was a factor, the number of drivers speeding overall, whether there was any change over time in the rate of speeding, whether fines or the threat of fines affected driver behaviour, and a whole lot more.

And look at it another way: is there any correlation between the number of deaths from smoking and the tax haul from smokers? Probably not. My guess – based mainly on personal prejudice – is that it is the poor & poorly educated (I include John Elliott in that) who smoke the most & who are only marginally deterred by the huge tax impost on fags, & people like me who are the middle-class beneficiaries of the taxes. But I am happy for the smokers (and JDE in particular, for whom it may be a rare experience) to contribute something by way of tax, some of which filters through to the hospitals where their sclerosed veins will finally pop; and if fast drivers also want indirectly to contribute a little to the police and health systems which may be responsible for hosing them (or their victims) off the roads, I am not going to weep for them.

The only argument I have heard that has any merit is that with speedo tolerances in the vicinity of 10%, a 4% or 5% tolerance on speeding could be a bit tough – not that anyone is required by law to drive at the limit. But the moment the community believes that some lenience is allowed, all the rev heads regard the limit as having increased by the amount of the lenience, not allowing for the possibility their speedo is indicating low rather than high.

Even if it doesn’t make the world a safer place, the speeding fines go toward a good cause. But if people really want to reform the State tax system, their first step could be to ease off the right foot next time they are in the car. A “drive to rule” campaign just might cause governments to re-work their revenue policies. It might also save a few lives.

Have a nice day!

Debate judged as a farce

Bracksie held a focus group (Coppin Street Richmond) days before the farce
you all call a debate, to see what answers the swinging voters wanted to
hear,- Including having John Clarke (Potilital Satirist) play Doyle and the
Moderator. They used the worm and then chose the answers.

SO it wasn’t a debate, it was a carefully scripted delivery the Spin Doctors
contrived. That’s maybe why rebuttal questions saw Stevie boy go to water
(DAMN John Clarke didn’t ask me that one, Braskie says to himself as he
scrabbles for a response) SHAME BRACKSIE SHAME !

Signed Going Brackwards

Labor not spending enough on advertising

Well today’s events have blown Doyle’s argument about the Governments Pre-Election advertising spending don’t you think? Were not some of the advertisements from the AEC reminding voters to update their details? Maybe they should have spent more…..and Dean may have then got the message???

Of course I am assuming that this AEC advertising is paid for by Victoria?
Cheers

Crikey biased in political donation coverage

I’m very disappointed at your latest approach to this issue. This is in stark contrast to your earlier treatment on an undeniably newsworthy leak.

What you propose to offer now is apparently nothing more than a list of a small fraction of this year’s political donors. The full list is public record. Why be selective in your reporting when you could dissect that? Political parties rely on donations to operate – that is the political process and to suggest that making any donation in some way sinister is naive. By taking one fundraiser in isolation, it might be possible to
characterise the attendees as some sort of “in crowd” but not with any integrity. Besides anyone who thinks that will see otherwise when they look at the much larger donations paid at other times to both sides.

Campaigning from the media is patronising to its readers. I want you to release your facts and opinions at the time they arrive and allow me to formulate my opinions. I don’t need you to time your releases and report only selective components of issues in order to add spin and create news from luncheon lists. Leave that to the parties themselves.

Peter Hawkins,
Global Vision Media

Crikey criticised for Liberal leaning

I’ve been crazy busy over the last week or so and have not had the opportunity to consume my daily diet of Crikey! Upon finding a spare few minutes I managed to go through the back-log… and reams and reams of pro-Brogden, anti-Bracks articles. It was tiresome. It was like reading a Green Left Weekly for Liberals; utterly predictable cant where the facts were reported in such a way as to support the premise (ie: Bracks bad, Brogden good).

Look, Labor isn’t all that flash as an organisation and it’s fair enough to belt Bracksie over the vice-like grip the yobbo unions have but the way you’ve been writing up Brogden you’d think the bloke walked on the Yarra.

It’s difficult to wean yourself off your old loyalties (in the early 90s I was on the staff of a NSW Right MP) but you’ve got to do it, Stephen. Take a step back… is Broggers really all that flash, apart from his toothy charm? Is he really going to make much of a difference to Victoria IF he gets elected?

I enjoy Crikey! but if you’re going to start being a blowhole for the Libs (or any other party for that matter) I’m going to have to reconsider my $66… I know the wife’s onto me for a subscription to Home Beautiful. Please, spare me from that fate.
Brian Mitchell, Fremantle

PS: I’ve just read the stuff about the dill who “forgot” to enrol… just think, that bloke could have been in charge of the Treasury.

The Herald Sun on the Liberal campaign

I am sure you have noticed how brilliantly the official organ of the Liberal Party in Victoria (it uses the name Herald Sun on its cover) has gone into damage control over the Robert Dean fiasco.

The cover story on Saturday — big picture of sad Robert included — told of his and his wife’s “baby pain”. They had 15 failed attempts at IVF, which is why they moved from the electorate to Hawthorn. I can hear all the swinging voters sobbing, and vowing to vote Liberal.

And the coverage inside? On page 4 a continuation of the front-page story, topped by an article explaining that more than a quarter of the state’s politicians do not live in their electorates. So why should Robert? Page 5 has Our Glorious Leader, Robert Doyle, offering tax relief — oh, puh-leez! — and a scare story about nursing shortages, which does not mention the election, but is placed where it can do some damage to the Government. Lovely pic of Doyle and wife at Prahran market.

Oh, the Premier? The Government? An afterthought picture of Bracks feeding a cow on page 4 with a filler about the Government’s drought relief pledges. And the editorial, the day after the Budget figures showed Victoria was in pretty good shape? A fence-sitter. Isn’t it good that we have left so far behind the ultra-Right, Left-bashing days of Piers Akerman? Not.

More on Dean

Don’t know the details in other states, but any candidate when they submit their application must have a required number of referees who live in the electorate, and these are checked by the electorate officer. Surely he/she would do the same for the candidate?. But perhaps things have changed in Victoria since I stood for a Federal seat in the 80s.

Secondly now that Susan Mitchell has been dumped by the ABC in Queensland, I can go back and listen to what was a good program.

Queenslander

‘Accidental’ treasurer a real hero

Bocci from Box Hill – your account is an absolute load of rubbish and I can’t believe that you bothered publishing that, Stephen.

For a start, Clark is not an ‘accidental’ treasurer, he replaced Louise Asher in 2001 and was a fine Shadow Treasurer up until Doyle took over in August and decided Dean was his man – for perhaps personal reasons more than anything. Clark reacted incredibly graciously. He is also one of the most decent and competent Members in the Parliament.

Secondly, every seat with a margin of less than 10 per cent IS being treated as marginal, and the Libs are simply fortunate enough to have enough dedicated followers to send out into the field to reinforce the Liberal presence.

Does proactiveness translate to ‘in trouble’? Does laziness translate to safe? Problems in the seat of Box Hill? I think not.

Clark fan

National Party on the defensive

G’day, Got an interesting conflict occuring up here in the “Bush”. Seems that for once the election is not going to be a walk in the park for the Nats.

With the Victorian State election on the whole reaching a peak of excitement only rivalled by the local Annual Agricultural Show, a far more interesting battle is occurring in the lower-house seat of Shepparton. This normally safe National seat sees an unusual four-cornered contest being played out between the Nationals, Liberals and Labor as well as the extremely popular local mayor Chris Hazelman who is standing for the second time as an independent.

With the long serving local member retiring, the Nationals have put forward the current local upper-house member, Janette Powell, with the hope of maintaining the appearance of incumbency. Yet, she maybe fighting an uphill battle to hold what would have once been considered the very heart land of National/Country Party.

Firstly, the Liberals are standing a candidate for the first in well over a decade. They are hoping to grab the seat in a similar fashion to the way they won the federal seat for the area away from the Nats in 1996. However, there has been some doubt raised about the candidate’s knowledge of the electorate following the distribution of campaign material containing a map of the North-East electorate by mistake.

The ALP candidate, Alan Calder, even admits that his chances are slim at best. When interviewed by the local newspaper to gain a profile, he responded that his autobiography would be title “He had a go”. Also in the same profile, he described his worst attribute as being his inability to save money. Clearly, this is not what ALP headquarters would probably want to hear from its candidates given the questionable of its financial management skills.

The biggest threat to the Nationals is indeed from the independent, Chris Hazelman. He is the local mayor and widespread recognition amongst the community. At the last state election he obtained over 35% of the primary vote. The only reason he failed to win was due to the stupidity of the then ALP candidate directing her preferences to the Nationals because she feared that Hazelman was a “Liberal in disguise”. However, realising their mistake, this time the ALP announced on the day four of the campaign that Hazelman would certainly get their preferences.

Many things are stacking up against the Nats. Both Hazelman and the Liberal are running strong ad campaigns on the local TV stations and all sides are making large promises. Even the local paper, the Shepparton News, normal very conservative, has condemned the Nationals in an editorial for their lack of a voice in the Kennett era and praised the current Labor government. So for the first time ever in the seats existence, the Nationals risk losing one their most prized possessions with the real possibility of an additional independent in the next parliament.

Shepparton Stirrer

Hillary Bray and Hilary Bray

Having a scan through the VEC website I see Hillary has nominated for Chelsea Province in the upcoming election.

Chelsea
THACKER, Wendy – Contact Ph : 03 9419-5808 DEMOCRATS
LAO, Vanthida – Contact Ph : 0407 839 267 LIBERAL
BRAY, Hilary – Contact Ph : 0409 213 912 AUSTRALIAN GREENS
VINEY, Matt – Contact Ph : 9775 5476 AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Do doubt she will give the infamous Mr Viney a bit of a probing. See, he wasn’t able to front up to the sitting liberal member McCall, so he has scuttle to the Upper House.

I’m sure Hillary will have some fun.

Unless there is another. I certainly hope not!!

With regard to your analysis of the state budget … hmmmm… the overall Justice budget has blown out from $2.193 billion to $2.216 billion in 2002-03

Correct me if I am wrong – I am only a humble engineer – but this budget has BLOWN OUT by 1%

Crikey exaggerates public sector blowout

Jeff Kennett slashed the public sector from about 260,000 to 160,000 during his seven years in power and that Steve Bracks has added more than 10,000 to the payroll

– which means there are now 170,000 employees, an increase of about 7%; where Kennett had levels of about 61% of the former levels of government employment under the previous Labor administration, the Bracks government has levels of 65%.

Get a grip man. I have only given this a first read and the calculations were done in my neck top calculator so they may be a bit out. However – can you possibly leave the language of shock jock fairy land behind. Stick to the facts. Use perjoratives where they are useful. Otherwise you just trivialise the overall message.

Unfunded super is a huge problem. You are doing the world a great service by raising understanding of the problem. (And while you are on this horse why dont you investigate the super arrangements for state parliamentarians. This really is a monstrous disgrace.)

Not returning every dollar in revenue for water resources to re-engineering this infrastructure is a totally wrong. That is excellent work on your behalf.

Anyway of course my point is you seem all to keen to descend to politicalk barracking rather than maintaining the focus on critical issues – BLOWN OUT by 1% – really?.

Neil Belford

Kennett Government still at fault

Whilst some of the criticisms you make are good some require further analysis. The question about public service numbers does not make any sense unless you analyse where the numbers are employed. If Kennett slashed the numbers by 100,000 and Bracks has put on 10,000 so what ? If the 10,000 were needed and we can afford them why not employ them. Do we not employ more teachers, nurses etc because we have some cap on numbers. If the are needed they are needed numbers themselves don’t mean anything.

The Seal Rocks fiasco stemmed from a Kennett government contract and whilst the accounting may be aggressive not that unusual in the private sector. The criticism of rising water rates seems unusual given our water restrictions. Surely by making it more expensive may make the average consumer use less.

The Commonwealth Games is no doubt going to be an expensive and not a very value for money exercise. However it was the former governments obsession with major events that has sold this idea to the public. This is especially true give the Liberal are running with the line that Bracks has been a do nothing government. Would a Liberal government have done anything different in relation to the games?

The question of where revenue is coming from may be relevant to a point. However so what if speeding fine revenue is increasing. Does this mean that it cannot be spent. Perhaps the extra policing has contributed to this. Surely the bottom line is whether the Liberals would do any better. Your critique has not presented any evidence to support this.

Speeding fine revenue

Here are a few well-known facts, Crikey-style. That is, based on my opinion: Harry Evans is, in fact, God. I have been blinded by his light. Any speeding fine is a revenue grab. It’s just a question of degree. The demerit points are the true deterrent.
If the Libs want the limit to be 66km or 121km why don’t they just say
so? I’m happy for there to be an disincentive for people to drive above the
limit, whatever it is. Otherwise, why have one? There are issues related to exceeding it other than whether there’s a relationship to the death toll. Neighbourhood amenity, consumption of limited fuel resources and pollution, non-lethal accident rates, etc.
Perhaps the real issue is it makes me feel inadequate if I’m pushing the performance envelope of my Datsun 1200 at 110km to see cars hoon past. My only reward is that they’re likely to receive a hit to the wallet.

Fines an avoidable tax

What is the big deal with speeding fine revenue? It is the easiest ‘tax’ to
avoid! I am currently holidaying in San Francisco, and am amazed at the way
drivers here consistently speed. It is of no surprise to me that I have seen
numerous accidents and been held up in traffic as a result, many times over the
past couple of weeks. There is a very low police presence on the highways and
NO speed cameras. So all those who whinge about being slugged for speeding
should spend some time in California and see what it is like without speed
cameras and a high police presence on the roads. NOT PLEASANT!

Angela

Leave the Democrats alone

It seems that the Dems-bashing goes on from yourself and the Crikey crew.

The Democrats are in fact standing in a substantial number of seats across the state. A quick visit to the VicDems campaign site at www.vic.democrats.org.au would have revealed that the Dems are standing in at least 14 Legislative Council seats, meaning that at least 60% of Victorians will have a chance to vote Democrats on November 30. As for the merits or otherwise of party ‘editorials’ on the ABC, I think voters should be thankful given that there was more policy and substance in the Dems 5 minutes on Wednesday than in the entire paid advertising of both Liberal and Labor.

Cheers
Ari Sharp
Democrats candidate for the East Yarra byelection (and registered at the correct address!)

Democrats on the ABC

Those tiresome three minute party political editorials on ABC radio started on
Tuesday this week but Crikey fell off his chair yesterday when the Democrats
were given an audience to more than 100,000 listeners to Virginia Trioli’s
program.

The Dems are only running in a handful of seats and have never had a single MP
in the Victorian Parliament. On what grounds can you possibly open up the public
airwaves to them on a par with the Liberals, National and Labor.

Please explain why parties such as One Nation and the HEMP party are not
afforded similar benefits.

Budget anaylsis takes a beating

What’s the matter, Stephen – suffering from MDS again! What a pissweak analysis of the budget. As if you and your Minister didn’t gild the lily – dear oh dear you must think we’re all terribly gullible. It’s worth noting that Kennett’s legacy left nothing for any subsequent government to privatise, having powder-puffed budgets through 7 years on the back of privatisation outcomes. It is also worth noting most of the work for these privatisations had been initiated under the Cain/Kirner regime. Had she survived the election, Kirner may well have ridden the next seven years as a triumphant budget manager on the back of privatisation. It’s very easy to reduce the public sector and remove liabilities when you privatise every second public utility – simply a book transfer that makes a State budget look good. Shithouse politics though when you refuse to put any of that community-owned dough back into useful and usefully located services such as education, health, regional development and public safety. Surprised it took seven years for the hyper-reality to be recognised. As for Seal Rocks, I’d contest it every inch of the way. How much more public money needs to go into this third rate highly suss so-called tourism venue?

Michael

Peter Fray

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