It’s
desperation time. “The Labor Party has circulated leaflets aimed at
women, business owners and Greek- and Vietnamese-speakers to try to
avoid defeat in the Marrickville byelection and secure the political
future of the Minister for Education, Carmel Tebbutt,” reports TheSydney Morning Herald
today. “In what is likely to be the closest of tomorrow’s three state
byelections, Ms Tebbutt has pinned her hopes on her strong profile, her
record as a minister and a multifaceted advertising campaign…”

“The
party has spent more than $100,000 on mail-outs, posters and a $5000
banner advertisement (pictured below) yesterday on the Herald’s website.”

And pity the poor punters: “The posters are on every telegraph pole
(they don’t say Labor, except for a tiny logo, but “Caring and
committed.” ALP pollsters phoned me (twice). Every day the letter box
is stuffed with large and colourful endorsements. Then we had the lilac
letter from ALP feminists. The kids are saved from being harassed at
the railway station only because they are wearing school uniform. This
has given them a new appreciation of the value of camouflage dressing,”
an exhausted local writes. “Everyone around here is so pissed off with
the advertising, that every letter drop loses votes. Every appearance
of the candidate is tightly scripted: she walks with minders, designer
clothes without a crease.”

Peter Fray

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