Has the Hobart Mercury‘s chief reporter Sue Neales let a very big cat out of the bag – and mistaken a tiger for a tabby?

Her weekend election backgrounder
was good stuff – but she doesn’t seem aware of the significance of one
of the facts she trots out to support the thesis that the Tasmanian
election could be as early as February 25.

The Melbourne Commonwealth Games in March will offer both challenges
and opportunities for election campaigns, but Neales writes:

The clincher for an early election could be a much more subtle affair.

Late last year, the Premier’s bullish but strategic media spokesman,
Matt Rogers, quietly arranged for Premier Paul Lennon and his wife
Margaret to show the delights of their freshly renovated historic home
at Broadmarsh to The Australian Women’s Weekly.

This lovely, soft-focus feature will appear in the best-selling
magazine’s next issue, due to hit the newsagents’ magazine racks on
January 23, just in time to remain on coffee tables and in hairdressing
salons around Tasmania during the month of February.

How timely if it also coincided with a surprise election campaign!

Er, Sue… Bob and Helena Carr also featured in the Women’s Weekly before the 2003 NSW state election – but it was a paid puff piece. Advertorial.

That’s an interesting tactic to import. Maybe they’re not as rustic in the Apple Isle as we think. February poll, anyone?