Former ALP branch stacker Sammy Bargshoon (who can forget this from PM during the federal election campaign) makes no secret of his mission in
tomorrow’s Werriwa by-election – to damage Labor as much as possible on behalf
of his boss who is funding the entire campaign, Orange Grove developer Nabil
Gazal.

“This is not costing me a cent,” Sammy told the other independents at their
Crossroads Hotel meeting last Monday afternoon. And using Gazal’s cash, Sammy
is adoping a new tactic – special Lebanese how-to-vote cards to reduce that
pesky 8% informal vote from last October when many of Sammy’s Lebanese
supporters just placed a 1 next to his name and failed to fill out the rest of
the ballot paper. With 16 candidates, this figure is set to rise, in spite of
Sammy’s special HTV.

Meanwhile, several of the independents have featured in this Labor flyer
(right) about faraway candidates, distributed during the final week of the
campaign. Looks a bit desperate, don’t you think?

Bland Labor candidate Chris Hayes will need to poll above 40% of the
primary vote tomorrow if Labor is to retain the seat. Given that Mark Latham
received a primary vote of 52% in October, this shouldn’t be too hard,
especially as Kim Beazley has effectively pushed the line that voters should
send John Howard a message about interest rates and the dangers of abusing
Senate control after 1 July.

But the Carr government is really on the nose over trains, hospitals and the
Macquarie Fields riots. The only preference flow going Labor’s way is
predictably from the ever-loyal Greens, but their 19-year-old candidate Ben
Raue is expected to struggle to get the 4% needed to get his deposit
back. Can you believe his number-one message has been to provide more public
housing? Great, more riots in Werriwa!

Whistleblowing former detective and People Power candidate Deborah Locke has
spent $8,000 on her campaign and, along with former Liberal staffer James
Young, remains the next most likely candidate if her favourable preference
deals do the trick. However, an upset seems increasingly unlikely.

Media coverage of Werriwa has been typically lazy. A standard report notes the
huge field and absence of a Liberal candidate, then mentions Mal Lees, the
radio announcer promising free beer, and predicts Labor will be returned.
Today’s coverage was a little bit better as you can see from The Australianand The Sydney Morning Herald.

Check out the 16-horse field here and the results from last time here. In October, Latham achieved a small swing and the primary votes were as
follows, although this includes the informal vote:

Mark Latham (ALP): 52.6%
Michael Hedway (Liberal): 35.11%
Mr Informal: 7.98%
Sammy Bargshoon: 4.87%
Ben Raue (Green): 3.13%
Charles Doggett (Hanson): 2.36%

Excluding the informal vote, I’m predicting the primary vote will finish as
follows tomorrow:

Chris Hayes (ALP): 45%
James Young (Independent Liberal): 12%
Deborah Locke (Independent People Power): 9%
Sammy Bagshoon:(Independent Orange Grove): 6%
Mal Lees (Free beer DJ stuntman): 6%
Ben Raue (Greens): 5%
Charles Doggett (One Nation): 4%
Greg Tan (Christian Democrats): 3%
Mick Sykes: (Family First): 3%
The Rest: 7%

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Peter Fray
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