Here are some of the best election yarns that have appeared in the sealed sections over the last week or so.

LIBS GET OUT THE BEGGING BOWL
They may have had $3 million to renovate the secretariat, but yesterday Victorian Liberal Party president Ian Carson sent an e-mail round to members and donors asking for donations.

The timing of the begging letter – three days before an election – has left the faithful fearing the worse. Are the Liberals’ finances as bad as the polling – and is the money to pay for the funeral.

The election campaign has reached a critical stage for both the Liberal Party and for Victoria. That is why I am writing to you now to seek your support and your practical help.

“The hard won economic gains delivered by the former Liberal Government have been undermined and dissipated by the Bracks Government. If Labor were to win a second term and get control of the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament on 30 November, I fear for the consequences for business in this State.

“We have already seen the Bracks Government try to introduce industrial manslaughter legislation. WorkCover premiums have gone through the roof. A number of significant multinational companies have shut, or wound down their operations. In October alone, 23,000 full time Victorian jobs have disappeared.

“Now more than ever Victoria needs a Liberal Government that will provide careful and prudent economic management. The assistance you can give me will benefit business throughout Victoria.

“We are committed to delivering sound economic and social policies that will underpin Victoria’s future and promote a pro-business, pro-investment culture.

“To achieve this we need to be able to compete with Labor in the political market place. And for that to happen I seek your financial support.

“Your practical help in this campaign will be a worthwhile investment in maintaining a strong voice for business in Victoria.

“Kindest regards,

“Ian Carson”

State President

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Sealed Section November 27

ELECTION PREDICTIONS

The poor Libs can’t take a trick. After Robert Doyle declared in Tuesday’s Herald Sun that it would not rain for three months, the Gods have reacted very badly and caused terrible storm damage at his old home town of Myrtleford. I kid you not, the man upstairs singled out his old town for the worst damage in the whole state within 24 hours of his ridiculous prediction.

Crikey predicted the following result in Saturday’s election on Virginia Trioli’s ABC Drive program last night: Labor up from 44 to 66, Liberal down from 35 to 16, Nats down from 6 to 2, Independents up from 3 to 4. Send in your own predictions folks and we’ll give three free gift subs to the person who comes closest to tipping the result.

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Second sealed section November 25

BEWARE THE KIRSTY MARSHALL SNOWBALL

This morning we asked for help in examining the quality of Labor candidates in non-Labor seats, as Victoria headed for a Brackslide. Fabien from Forest Hill reports that ALP celebrity candidate Kirsty Marshall may be a complete stranger to the area, but is heading for victory in the once safe Liberal seat:

The other day Steve when I was out and about I was doing some shopping at Forest Hill Chase shopping centre with my lovely little daughter I could not help but notice how popular Kirsty Marshall was – just about everyone knew who she was and happily recieved her pamphlets.

Now I know high profile candidates are often brought down to earth; but something funny could be happening in the seat of Forest Hill where the former world champion areal skiier has been shoe-horned into the formely safe Liberal seat.

Given that the retiring member John Richardson was reasonably popular having been the sitting member for many years there is likely to be a slight fall in the Liberal vote due to his popularity.

I am happy to say that he was also a good, hard working MP for the people of Forest Hill, if you listen to many locals. There is also some talk around the area that the Liberal candidate (I cannot remember his name as it’s a long Indian name) actually did some serious branch stacking in the electorate to win pre-selection. Nothing wrong with that normally except this time many local Liberal members are very unhappy about this and were prefering the party endorse John Richardson’s son for the chance to retain Forest Hill for the Libs.

As a result many of them are not out helping the poor old Lib candidate too much. In fact it would not surprise if many of them were happy to see him lose!

The same cannot be said of the ALP. The party has got right behind Kirsty Marshall and is throwing a few bucks her way for her campaign. This has been virtually unheard of in this seat for the best part of 20 years! There are no issues of major note here in Forest Hill. The Scoresby bypass, etc is just far enough away that the voters are not overly concerned too much.

The Liberals have a buffer here of almost 7% and consensus says they really should hold the seat. But the ALP are really talking up their chances in the seat and believe with the ‘snowballing’ (excuse the pun) effect of Marshall’s popularity they could be in with a real chance.

It must be noted that Kirsty Marshall only just recently moved into this electorate, but suffice to say unlike Robert Dean did remember to change her electoral details! But despite being a total outsider (she is from Black Rock,I have since read) there is always that Australian love affair with our sporting heros.

I am calling this seat a very very close call. The Libs might still be marginal favourites to retain the seat but I have a feeling from walking around Forest Hill Chase shopping centre that Kirsty is in with a big chance. The seat will go to preferences. And if the preferences go here way from the greens as one would expect then I reckon Kirsty might just get over the line.

Fabien from Forest Hill.

CRIKEY: Kirsty Marshall admits she knows nothing about politics, but she is getting a big run in the media. Saturday’s Herald Sun contained a very favourable two-page profile, full of photos of the pregnant celebritry, as Hun reporter Fran Cusworth played up here “human” side.

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Sealed section November 25

VICTORIAN LANDSLIDE WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY CONSISTENT

The average two-party preferred swing to the Labor Party in states and territories over the past two elections is about 10 per cent.

For instance, these are some of the recent swings:

NSW: Bob Carr 7% in 1999

VIC: Steve Bracks 4% in 1999

QLD: Peter Beattie 11% in 2001

WA: Geoff Gallup 8% in 2001

NT: Clair Martin 9% in 2002

TAS: Jim Bacon 7.5% 2002

SA: Mike Rann 1.5% in 2002 (10% previously)

And this is what the 5 polls which came out last week said about Labor’s lead in 2PP terms:

Monday: Saulwick Age poll 61-39

Thursday: Newspoll 60-40

Friday: Morgan poll: 62-38

Saturday: Herald Sun McNair poll: 58-42

Sunday: Saulwick Age poll: 11 per cent swing to Labor outside Melb after 8 per cent swing last time.

Therefore, it is absolutely expected that the Victorian Liberal Party will suffer a Queensland style wipe-out next Saturday.

The polls are saying it and is has happened in virtually every other state and territory since John Howard assumed the Federal leadership.

The Victoria Libs have only gone back about 4 per cent since 1995 so they are due a 6 per cent swing on Saturday just to keep up with the rest of the nation.

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Second sealed section November 19

EXCLUSIVE: CRIKEY INTERNS DOORSTOP BRACKS

3AW was the scene of Crikey’s first election exclusive, after the Premier’s interview with Neil Mitchell this morning. Crikey’s two seasoned work experience interns, Ben and Kate, were on hand to cover the doorstop following the regular Mitchell chat.

However, there were no hacks to be seen anywhere as they were all down at Narre Warren waiting to be spoon fed their policy announcement for the day in a Bunnings warehouse.

So Crikey had the field to ourselves.

The first question we threw was whether the Premier thought Neil Mitchell was a good interviewer?

Bracks was very diplomatic and said he thought Neil was good and had an advantage because he had a background in journalism, unlike some other talkback hosts in NSW. (Read Alan Jones and John Laws.)

Crikey intern number one commented that there are also talkback hosts in Victoria without a background in journalism, such as a former Premier. Bracks replied, “well, that’s his prerogative,” and went on to say that Neil Mitchell and Jon Faine, on “the two main stations” were both good talkback hosts.

When asked about how he though he was being treated in the newspapers Bracks said, “ok, they are doing their job.” This was an interesting comment since there weren’t actually any journalists there to hear his remarks.

What had once been a mandatory doorstop in the previous election, was a ghost town. There were no journalists and half way through Neil’s interview the few cameras that had been hanging around (channel 10 and ABC) packed up and left for the Narre Warren water policy announcement.

Journalists obviously just go where there told in this campaign and there is no expectation that Neil Mitchell would ask hard questions that extract the scoop of the campaign.

Crikey would also like to thank Mr Bracks for taking the time to speak to our excited interns who only had to walk 400 metres down the road from the Crikey bunker to 3AW for their first exclusive with the Premier.

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Sealed section November 19

COMMERCIAL TELEVISION’S ELECTION SHOCKER

Commercial television is not having a particularly good Victorian election campaign so far. We’re still waiting for one of the evening bulletins to actually break a story – any story.

Today Tonight keeps trumpeting the fact it is made in Melbourne yet they are still to break their election duck. Last night we were served up a diet of miracle creams to keep your sex life going, miracle pets that help you live longer, miracle tiny babies that survive premature births and the tragedy of paying too much tax.

A Current Affair had one of the worst election segments I’ve ever seen last Friday where they repeated the format they used in 1999 with a chat in a caf over a glass of wine and the newspapers.

It’s not the format that is so bad but rather the personnel. You’ve got Neil Mitchell trying to play the straight guy who drowns in the inanity of Phil Cleary and a woman whose name we’ll report to you shortly if anyone can help.

The only change to the 1999 line-up is Mitchell in and Rehame owner Peter Maher out.

Last Friday Cleary was coming up with gems such as “Doyley needs a goyley”.

The terrible trio will be back for the following two Friday’s but at least the people of Brunswick can probably thank ACA for saving them from a Phil Cleary campaign.

I’m guessing that Cleary faced the same dilemma Crikey faced – be a paid commentator in the mainstream media or a candidate but not both.

Peter Fray

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