We’ve just had the biggest few days in our start-up party’s life but despite some quite vigorous internal debates, all seems to be going well.

The launch of our pokies policy at the anti-pokies Railway Hotel in South Melbourne yesterday attracted two television crews, two photographers and reporters from The AgeThe Australian, Herald Sun and AAP. Steve Irwin’s death reduced the prospects of a big run, but we were briefly on the Channel Seven News and got a good run in print, apart from the three paragraph brief in the all-powerful local tabloid.

It certainly helped that our newest upper house candidate, axed Gambling Research Panel chair Linda Hancock, was on Jon Faine yesterday morning talking up our hardline policy of not renewing the Tattersall’s and Tabcorp licences after 2012 and using regulatory measures to crush their revenues by 90% over the next six years.

The combination of Linda’s expertise and government whistleblower status with the human interest story of Australia’s highest profile reformed pokies addict, Gabriela Byrne, our candidate in Eastern Victoria, makes quite a powerful double. Jon Faine was again on this issue this morning talking about People Power’s no pokies policy setting up a referendum-style question on the pokies come 25 November.

We were 20-30 short of a decent crowd at last Thursday night’s campaign function held at Gary Morgan’s Collins Street restaurant but the resulting Stateline story on Friday came up well. They even used the Jeffed and Bracksed lines twice, which ties in nicely with the hats, badges and t-shirts which have just arrived from Dubai.

Gary was particularly upbeat, confidently telling Stateline: “People Power has got a good chance of winning some Upper House seats”.

Monash University’s Dr Nick Economou is taking a different line and despite bending his ear for ten minutes before he sat down with Stateline, his pessimistic predictions continued, including in The Australian today.

We’re paying him a visit next week so hopefully the continuing roll-out of candidates and positive reaction to our pokies policy will help turn him around. This is a confidence game and we need “third party experts” taking us seriously.

Peter Fray

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