We’re really firing the starter’s gun today in our pitch to become the new middle ground Democrats and hold the balance of power in the new Victorian upper house.

Fresh from Tuesday’s big run in The Age about former Labor MP for Benalla, Denise Allen, running for us in Northern Victorian, the Victorian Electoral Commission today placed advertisements announcing our application for registration in The Age and the Herald Sun.

We’ve also sent a media a release this morning announcing a gun upper house candidate who will break open the poker machine debate, although it’s embargoed until 1am tomorrow morning so it would be poor form to break this in Crikey. This story is right up the Herald Sun’s alley, so let’s hope their ban on me doesn’t hamper any coverage on such a vital public issue.

It’ll be bedlam this afternoon, with a 3.30pm preferences meeting at Liberal Party HQ, followed by an interview on the steps of Parliament with Stateline at 4.30pm and then tonight’s function with six guest speakers, which Stateline will be filming.

Our hard-line pokies policy will be announced next Monday and it should put the frighteners up Unitab shareholders as they contemplate jumping into bed with Tattersall’s which carries all that political and election risk of their $2 billion pokies license expiring in 2012.

Meanwhile, ABC Sydney morning presenter Virginia Trioli just called saying they’d decided there was no conflict talking to a NSW audience while running for Parliament in Victoria. She wants me back talking business each Tuesday morning from next week. Hmmm, the prospective campaign workload is already ridiculous but I’ve promised an answer by 5pm tomorrow.

Peter Fray

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