The by-election to fill the vacancy created
by the political death of Mark Latham takes place next weekend – although you
could be forgiven for having missed it.There’s almost a full footy team of
candidates – 14 as you can see here. Labor’s Chris Haye remains the favourite,
but his union hack background and the typical Sussex Street shenanigans behind his
preselection – documented beautifully on Saturday by Alan Ramsey (see here) – have created fears the seat may fall to an independent.

The Liberal Party isn’t fielding a
candidate. At Labor’s launch yesterday Kim Beazley told local voters
to use the occasion for a protest vote against the Howard Government. He called the by-election their “one chance
of holding John Howard accountable … accountable for broken promises on
interest rates; accountable for broken promises on private health care;
accountable for the consequences of him buying himself back into power last
time, which are now not good for the country and not good for the economy.”

The Macquarie Fields violence, in the heart
of the electorate, has focused voters’ attention on very different issues –
like the state Labor government’s administration of law and order. Labor could be in trouble – but if they end
up with egg on their faces, they have the perfect whipping boy. You guessed it. Mark Latham.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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