With November 30 almost upon us, we air your comments with Labor poised for a landslide victory. But funnier things have happened: just ask a former 3AK radio announcer.

The obsession that Crikey has had with the Victorian industrial relations situation seems to ignore one important fact that days lost to labour disputes are at their lowest level since 1992. Whilst its true some Victorian unions are causing problems this is not a situation that sprung up in the last three years.

What did the previous Kennett government do to solve this problem and what exactly is Doyle going to do? Why should we be any more concerned about these unions than we are about flagrant abuses of corporate power such as the HIH debacle? Perhaps you can encourage the local media to question what the Liberal party proposes to do about the excesses of the business world?

Ewan Mitchell

Hospital patients suffering as Opposition does nothing with information

I am certain that the blow out in waiting lists and waiting times in ED has been greatly fuelled by the secret closure of between 10-12% of public hospital beds on the 1st March. Documents pertaining to these secret bed closures were given to the opposition earlier this year but they have done nothing yet with the information.

The bed closures were justified within public hospitals as one of a series of measures to decrease agency nurse use and save money. Hospital staff were told that there would be some pain but that the ends justified the means. Well now it looks like the patients are the ones in pain, waiting in ED on trolleys for more than 48 hours while the political games and lies continue.

Claire Hudson

Liberal ads off the mark

Thank God there is only a couple of days left to go in the state election.

I don’t think I’ve heard a single policy message over the din of the
various sideshows the Liberals have thrown up.

The latest ad suggesting that companies are leaving due to Labor’s lack of
control of their union mates is the latest in this cacophony.

I don’t know about all of the companies listed, but as soon as they had Hewlett Packard (HP) on the screen I added this to the long list of lies and misrepresentations
that pollies have foisted on us over the years.

The IT industry has almost no union membership. HP is no exception.
HP has also undergone one of the world’s largest mergers and with it a massive reorganisation. Not to mention a world economy that has seen every major IT player shedding jobs over the last 12 months.

What next? Steve Bracks is the boogey-man?


ALP landslide victory not as certain as many think

Crikey is being very pessimistic for a closet Lib in the 66-16-2-4 outcome
for the Vic elections. To achieve that result, there are some really silly
seats that the Libs have to lose and I just can’t see that happening where
the ALP has what this ALP member has to concede are a number of fairly
ordinary candidates with scarcely any local campaign structure. My
prediction would be for the ALP to go to 52 seats (losing two or three it
currently holds but gaining about ten), Libs down to 28, Nats to 4 and 4
Independents. (Everyone is pretty sure that Chris Hazelman will get up in

As with all elections, there will be a few surprise results that no-one
will have predicted and some totally shell shocked candidates that find
themselves MPs and some professional politicians that find themselves on
the job hunting queue.

Kirsty Marshall in Forest Hill is a possibility; can’t see Thwaitsey losing
Albert Park but ya never know; Dynamic Den could dip out in South West
Coast; and some of the Lib-Nat-ALP contests could give unexpected results.

Ian Rogers

Glen Eira candidate uses local funds to promote cause

Each month the local council here (Glen Eira) sends a tabloid size newspaper (Glen Eira News) to each address telling us what it is doing. Fair enough.

However, a glossy full-colour leaflet called the ‘Mackie Ward Bulletin’ dated November 2002 appeared in my letterbox today, just 2 days before the State election. To me this publication (which I’ve never seen in four years of living here) is a waste because its content duplicates Glen Eira News.

Pictured on the cover are the three Mackie Ward Councillors, one of whom happens to be Peter Goudge, the Liberal Candidate for Oakleigh.

Why did this publication just happen to come out 2 days before the State election for which Goudge is a candidate? Surely it can’t be that Cr Goudge is using council funds to boost his profile in the run-up to the election? But it’s got to be more than just a coincidence!

Peter Parker

Biased media polls no indication of potential result

When people wake up in the morning to read their suburban morning papers on their daily pilgrimage to work on the train, they should not believe every word written on the page. It is well known that competent individuals do not believe every word written in a paper, as we well know that most stories have been skewed in the journalists political or social beliefs.

The same can also be stated for opinion polls. Just to give you some background, I actually work in the market research industry, so I understand how surveys work. It is very easy to skew a survey to your favour. However, there are two ways of achieving this. The first is to ask questions that tend to support the answer you wish to hear. However, this is shunned in both market research and journalism alike.

However, the same cannot be stated for the second way of skewing survey results. When an opinion poll is taken, one must look at the result wanted. This can be achieved by in the circumstance of a telephone poll, to ring particular suburbs to get the result wished for.

To put it more simply, if the paper wishes to support the ALP in the upcoming election, (eg. The Age) the area surveyed by phone will be carried out in safe ALP electorates. This in turn massively skews the real result with that of the desired result. Thus, it can safely be stated that the latest polls for the Victorian election are probably quite inaccurate. The ALP could not have a 20% lead in the opinion polls. I personally believe that it is closer to 5 or 6% to the ALP, which is more reserved.

The only real accurate polls that are ever carried out are those polled by the political parties themselves. However, these are not told to the public. But it can be safely said that if either the ALP or the Liberals start a massive advertising and letterbox drop on the Wednesday before the election, then one of those parties have something to worry about.

The reason the political party polls are considered more accurate is because they survey maybe 200 or 300 respondents in a single electorate, which is a lot more accurate than 1000 respondents from around the state. So come on Victorian Election 2002, show the public pollsters to be incorrect again. Dont forget the last state & federal election polls. They were mainly wrong.

Mathew Fedley

Give the Greens a go

If your item “Greens Watch – Expensive Fundraiser” is the best you can come up with in demonising the Greens then they must be a serious contender for my vote. If they charge $120 to individuals for a boat cruise, so what? How else are they supposed to acquire funds to fight an election? It’s peanuts, anyway, compared with the Democrats $2,500 a plate dinner at the last federal election. I’m sure the Democrats accepted company cheques then; all credit to the Greens for refusing to do so. When is Crikey going to start reporting the Greens in a balanced manner; rather than descending to just slurs and derogatory terms like “Trots” for everything they do?

Mike Steel

Election friendly speed cameras

Apparently the speed cameras on the Geelong freeway have been turned-off or removed for the duration of the election. This is so no one gets a speeding ticket during the election.


ALP confused between party politics and government promotion

The squeaky clean, accountable, and transparent Steve Bracks and his government have been exposed again as being anything but. Michael Laker can look forward to being painted by the ALP and its Victorian Government cronies as a “disgruntled former employee”, but Laker is far from alone in having his career trashed in response to standing up for the separation of party politics from government promotion.

It is no coincidence that the Victorian Government’s multi-million dollar “Hero” campaigns have been run in the months leading up to the election. The concept of these campaigns was seeded in the ear of Bracks by advertising man Bill Shannon with two objectives. The first was to promote the ALP under cover of raising the morale of the Victorian people. The second was for ad agency Shannon’s Way to make a nice little earner. Both these objectives have been achieved, though Bill Shannon didn’t win the pitch for the “Hero” campaign – conveniently having to settle for winning the even more lucrative Victorian Workcover account as compensation.

The role of the Communications Committee of Cabinet also deserves attention. The Premier and his media apparatchiks defend this committee through it fulfilling an accountability function. The reality is that the CCC was corrupted from the outset by the base political mentality of its members, a throwback to Trades Hall or the high school staff room, who forget they are Ministers of the Crown and believe that modifying advertising copy and creativity to promote the ALP’s party political aims is perfectly acceptable. As far as applied communications strategy is concerned, the CCC’s membership is clueless, reliant on advice from advisers who are either ALP party faithful themselves, or too gutless to stand up for principle, unlike Laker.

The dividing line between public service and political staff has long been blurred under the Bracks Government. Political and media advisers have long held sway over the supposedly apolitical Departmental communications staff. This occurs via the backdoor as well. “Authorised by R. Lindell for the ALP” just happens to refer to one Roland Lindell, aka Chief of Staff to Industrial Relations Minister John Lenders. In this advisory capacity, Lindell has been intimately involved in influencing government communications campaigns, and he’s far from alone in having a finger in both pies. Not that interference in advertising campaign strategy directly from Ministers is unusual in the Bracks Government.

If meeting targets for multicultural advertising (a totally arbitrary five percent) is the rationale for the retention of rebates from government advertising, then where are these multicultural campaigns? Why did the Department of Premier and Cabinet demand that Departmental Secretaries allocate millions of dollars to the “Hero” campaigns? How does holding the rebates within the Department of Premier and Cabinet rather than with media buyers ‘Optimedia’ achieve expenditure on multicultural advertising?

Michael Laker may or may not be the victim of a conspiracy to silence a whistleblower. But the Bracks Government certainly has failed to understand that affairs of state are separate from the aspirations and machinations of the ALP.

Bill the Beancounter

Minor party surprise beckons

I have a tory friend who was scrutineer for the party at a couple of booths in the St. Kilda area for the last Federal election. I have never seen him so astonished as he was when he told me that at the St. Kilda Primary school booth, the Greens outpolled the Libs in first preference votes.

He really could not believe his eyes. I said nothing back to him as by putting forth an opinion, someone could say I was wrong. However, this state election could be an awful upset for the major parties.


Hillary Bray, the bush and monkeys bums

Hillary is right about the Greens candidate in the seat of Rodney. He has a fairly strong standing in the community and is running the line that the only way the seat will ever get anything is if it is made marginal. Despite it being redneck land, he is actually likely to do extremely well for a Green in the area (I am guessing 7%).

However, Hillary is misguided about the state of the Nationals in the seat of Rodney. The Liberal candidate, Simon Frost, is very unlikely to come even close to knocking off the sitting local member. The Nationals do extremely poorly in the regional cities nowadays compared to the Libs, but they still remain strong in the bush like Rodney. The local National has been a fairly decent local member and is not likely to be dumped for a toadstool like Frost.

And one final thing, someone should have told the Shepparton Liberal candidate, Steven Merrylees, it is not a wise move to do your own television advertisements if you look like a monkeys bum. He is clear wasting his money as it is really a race between the National and the Independent.

Rodney Rat

Moving house affects many more than Robert Dean

Getting a bit screechy-strident aren’t we Hillary? Really, this is
a bit much.

“To put it simply, if you’ve moved house lately, you’re stuffed.”

To put it as simply, but honestly, dear Hillary, you are stuffed if you didn’t bother to register your new address with the electoral office before the cut off.”

So there are “thousands of Victorians” out there who have been rudely hacked off at their ballots as we speak.

I would suggest it largely effects only those who didn’t bother to comply with the laws that exist to protect their rights as voters. Perhaps it’s a move to stop political branch stacking or something useful like that. And it’s not as if we didn’t know that there was an election coming! Crikey himself has been screaming until hoarse and leaping round about it like an Ian Thorpe impersonator at a gay disco.

Shouldn’t bother either you or Steve, as most of them will be
the sort of itinerant’s who’d vote Labor anyway, except of course if “Big
John” forgot to change his voting address when the house got sold out from under him?

And on another track altogether, doesnt poor Mr.Doyle remind you
in manner, complete with the affectations and public speaking style of that horrible little ex ABC man Jonathon Shier, another ragingly successful Liberal idea, what a weight to bear and on such a shonky platform too!

Hugh Johnson

Furious with forgotten B.A.D. tax

I’m sick to death hearing about Brack’s open and transparent policies, it reminds me of the King who was told he was wearing the finest clothes in all the land and really believed it until a little boy said Daddy he has no clothes on at all.

Every time I go to withdraw money from the bank I think of all the money the government receives from B.A.D. tax.
Has this just been swept under the carpet, as most people seem to think it is another bank charge?

I understood this government was going to repeal this tax?

John Wilson

Age and Nine excelling in media coverage

There has been a truckload of criticism about the way the media have handled the state election campaign, some of it valid and some of it absolute crap!

As a “political junkie” I would have to say the standout coverage has come from the Age and Channel Nine. Both organisations have been thorough, professional and unbiased in their coverage, which you could not say about the Herald Sun, 3AW, the ABC or Channel 7.

The Herald Sun’s bias coverage towards the Liberals has been appalling. You just need to read the sickening reference to Phil Honeywood as a man of “honesty and integrity” in Sunday’s Editorial to see the Murdoch’s true colours.

Channel 7 has been shocking and Brendan O’Donohoe has again proven why he is universally despised by all sides of politics (and the state rounds reporters) following some outrageous, clichd reporting. 3AW and 774 have both had bland, uninspiring, tired coverage of the election campaign. But the Age and Nine have excelled in every way.