“Labor says its polling shows the Liberal Party will receive a 5 per cent
swing in this month’s Pittwater by-election because of a sympathy vote for the
former leader, John Brogden,” the Sydney Morning Herald says today.

“The claim comes after accurate predictions by the ALP before the Macquarie
Fields by-election in September that the Liberals would receive a 12 per cent swing
(they achieved 13 per cent).”

Opposition Leader Peter Debnam isn’t so sanguine. He’s sceptical about the

“Is anybody going to believe them?” he asks in the Herald – although he
does admit “There’s no doubt one of the issues in Pittwater is Labor is running
scared and refusing to put up a campaign.”

The bruvvers are not running a candidate in the campaign, and independent
candidate and Pittwater mayor Alex McTaggart has denied having anything to do
with the Labor Party.

He has told the Herald that the only conversation he had had with anyone
from that party was with Gary Sergeant, an assistant of the Police Minister,
Carl Scully, who was a former Pittwater councillor.

Still, a close eye is being kept on McTaggart. Piers Akerman dismissed him
nicely today as “a councillor elected on a single NIMBY (not in my
back yard) issue – a ban on television crews at his local beach, Avalon.”

Akerman talks about how health will be an issue
in the electorate, and the Liberals were certainly talking that up yesterday.
They issued a media release pledging support for a two-hospital policy for the Northern
Beaches and committing themselves to a major upgrade of Mona Vale Hospital.

Amazingly, the version of the
release up on the party’s websitealso invokes the name of their lost leader, John Brogden. An error – or is
that Labor polling right?

Crikey’s local moles say the Libs
should be fearing McTaggart.