Now
that Victorian politics is a contest between two so-called nice guys,
Steve Bracks and Ted Baillieu, the damage is much worse when either
party gets into the gutter.

And so it was over the weekend when Liberal Party dirt diggers fitted up the Sunday Herald Sun with a page one splash about Liberal-turned-independent MP Andrew Olexander hiring his gay lover as an electorate officer.

It
was a legitimate news story but declaring it the most important story
in the world yesterday smacked of homophobia. Besides, it’s only a
$40,000 a year gig. And Jim Forbes is actually a former mayor with 12
years local government experience, who has also served as a Liberal
branch president and run for the party in state and federal elections.

In
other words, he’s very well qualified to work for an MP, although it
does appear that neither is putting much work into Olexander’s Sylvan
electorate, given that he’ll be out of politics by 25 November thanks
to the fallout from drunkenly crashing his car in 2004.

The Sunday Herald Sun
story backfired on the Liberal Party when Olexander and Forbes put out
a statement yesterday accusing the Liberal Party of digging for dirt. The Age’s state political editor Paul Austin, the most influential state political reporter in Victoria, aggressively pursued this angle today.

Nice
guy Ted Baillieu was enjoying the fallout from ALP dirt digging on his
family when suddenly it appears Liberal Party resources have been
deployed to stitch up Olexander.

As Crikey has revealed on our political nepotism list,
this sort of thing is pathetically common in politics and there are, no
doubt, many more than the 168 examples we have already published. In
fact, we’ll update this list, so check it out and send through
corrections and additions to [email protected].

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW