All the stats for those wondering how Seven’s Vote For Me candidates fared in the election:

So, how did Channel Seven’s Vote For Me candidates go in their Sunrise-backed Senate tilts? In short, very disappointing. Certainly the results suggest that many of these candidates did not fare too well even with some Channel Seven coverage. The one plus they all had is that they got a running mate to get themselves ‘above the line’ for the Senate voting. They certainly would have been lost in the ungrouped if this did not happen. The results are as follows and I guess they are not great. No candidate got close to 1% of the vote.

Results:

NSW – James Harker-Mortlock – 1252 votes (0.04%)
QLD – Hetty Johnston – 12803 votes (0.70%)
VIC – Richard Frankland – 5483 votes (0.22%)
SA – Kane Winther – 277 votes (0.03%)
WA – Alicia Curtis – 2663 votes (0.30%
TAS – Steve Martin – 922 votes (0.35%)

NSWJames Harker-Mortlock ran a campaign of defending small business. However, for most people this is a job for the big boys. Its not really and independant type issue given you have small business and employer groups already. Can’t help but think if the adorable mother of 4 kids, Kelly Ferguson had ran as the preferred candidate then the vote might have been higher for the VFM candidate with a bit more plugging from Seven.

QLD – Hetty Johnston certainly crashed and burned. She was given a lot of exposure not just from Seven but from a lot of other media outlets. Her dummy spit on Sunrise certainly not getting her any extra votes it would seem. Put simply the Hanson factor killed her at the last minute. Also the fact as Charles Richardson pointed out meant she was also splitting her vote in many cases with the Democrats. Only 12,000 votes is a disappointing result for Hetty and shows how hard it really is to get elected as an Independent in a mainland state.

VIC Richard Frankland. A good effort. Having Peter Phelps on the ticket was also good for publicity. He is known on the ABC and a talented film maker. I think he deserved more votes but everyone has to start somewhere. The full registration of his ‘Your Voice’ political party could one day make a difference and have the Greens and ALP discussing preference deals with him. I cannot understand why the ALP would not recruit this bloke given how much his championing for indigenous rights and equality would go to appeasing the left wing. He also seems like a talented and passionate man to the cause.

SAKane Winther – well we all saw his dummy spit email to Adam Boland on Crikey. I guess with no media coverage from Seven he was not going to go so well. His mere 277 votes is evidence of that.

WA Alica Curtis – I liked this girl on the TV. At 21 years of age she is a pollie in the making having been a Young Australian recipient in WA. I would be very surprised if the Libs did not grab this girl’s signature for their membership books. Her passion to small business and her guts puts her light years ahead of her age. To score a few thousands votes in WA was not the worst result on that ticket.

TAS Steve Martin – not sure if Tassie are sick of indepedants or they just thought this entire health platform should be best left to the big boys.

In summary, I think I agree with some of the candidates that Seven dropped the ball on this whole thing. My wife who watches Sunrise andsaid Kochy was all over this a few months ago.

If they had been serious I think we would have seen their faces all over Channel Seven and even seen them appear more often on the show. The concept obviously soon fell out of favour, probably due to political pressure placed directly on Seven chairman Kerry Stokes after the hair-brained Glenn Milne attack (“this could see Reggie from Big Brother with the balance of power).

Not sure what the viewers thought but had it not been for Hetty’s dummy spit I am not sure anybody would have known the concept was still going once the election was on for real. I seriously doubt Seven would run with this concept again. Oh well.

Previous Crikey coverage of Vote for Me includes:

James Harker-Mortlock responds:

I have had passed onto me what can only be described as an almighty whinge by your correspondent claiming to be a “Sunrise devotee”. I think the correspondent would be described more accurately as a proponent of the corporatist state, given the regular references to the need to hand everything over to the ‘big boys’. Happily for your correspondent, a corporatist state is just what he is getting in Australia these days.

Unfortunately, for the many small business people whom I represent, this is not the type of state which does much for them. Naive and ignorant statements that small business matters are best handled by small business organisations or the major parties are based upon nothing other than supposition. Has your correspondent actually bothered to investigate the issue of the need for small business organisations to also have a political voice? I doubt it. Has your correspondent actually engaged with the intellectually challenged leadership of the major parties in regard to their interest in, let alone understanding of, small business matters. I doubt it because, if he had, he would not have come out with the drivel which he has.

VFM was an interesting concept. I do not think that at anytime any of us involved in it as the eventual candidates actually expected to win. However, when VFM was mooted, the screams of indignation about undermining the democratic process (as if ‘the big boys’ party preselections have much to do with that!) were heard far and wide. The wild accusations abounded that VFM candidates would romp home on the coat tails of promotion by Seven. Now that we have not romped home the cries of derision flow just as quickly and just as loudly. Interesting isn’t it?

The point of the VFM exercise was to provide a forum for opinions from ordinary Australians and, in that objective, it succeeded. In my case, I had eight weeks to build an organisation from zero and get a message out there. Given that our group (unable to have its name on the ballot paper as that is a privilege reserved for registered political parties – a status unable to be obtained in eight weeks) has polled not far behind a well established name such as the Nuclear Disarmament Party and the vote is still being counted (by the way – sorry to introduce a fact). During the course of the campaign I met with a number of small business organisations who seem as underwhelmed as I was by the capacity of ‘the big boys’ (who are they anyway?) to relate to small business issues. Funnily enough, the small business organisations welcomed my activities in promoting their cause on the political stage.

Unhappily perhaps for your correspondent, I plan to continue. I am planning to register Big Push for Small Business as a political party and we plan to run candidates at forthcoming elections. For my part, as has been reported previously by Crikey, I was happy with the encouragement provided by ‘Sunrise’ and for the support in both coverage and in pure dollar terms received from Seven. Unlike your corrspondent, I never expected an instant result, success in politics takes time, it does not occur during the commercial break.

James Harker-Mortlock
Vote for Me Senate Candidate in NSW 2004