Had they been watching, inner-Melbourne
residents would have noticed a familiar serial pest popping up on their plasma
screens last night. Seven Parliamentary hound Brendan Donohue profiled PRODOS, who has launched a campaign for Liberal
preselection for the lower house seat of Richmond.
PRODOS is a self-described “street performer” who “despite his love of
capitalism, does not earn much”. Google
reveals that PRODOS runs a shady suite of wing nut websites promoting things like “international capitalism day”. His
latest single is the humorously titled “Billionaire Cha Cha”.

A successful PRODOS
preselection (and the
concomitant publicity) would be the final nail in the coffin for the
reeling
state Liberals but it wouldn’t be the first time zany strategies have
gripped
the party. Who could forget the loveable Jerry Dimitroulis, the 2004
Liberal candidate for Melbourne who ran against ALP pin-up Lindsay
Tanner. Jerry was in his late 30s, lived at home with
his mum and was unemployed.

In affluent, left-leaning inner urban seats
like Richmond
the electoral contest is between Labor and the Greens, not Labor and the Liberals.
In 2002, the Liberals actually ran third and their preferences flowed through
to the Greens at a ratio of 3 to 1. As such, despite a primary vote in the high
40s, Labor only held off the Greens with a two-party-preferred vote of
52.7%.

Knowing this, the Libs tend not to contest
by-elections for safe Labor seats such as Cunningham (by-election 2002) and
Werriwa (by-election 2004). They reason that if the Greens convert enough
frustrated Labor voters and garner the support of disenchanted Liberals, they
could conceivably build enough support at either side of the ALP to win. This
happened in Cunningham when the ALP was under Simon Crean’s leadership.

Nice strategy, if it works. But you get the
feeling that the hapless heavies at Liberal HQ may have overstepped the mark if
they end up green-lighting loonies like PRODOS.

Peter Fray

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