After 19 months of just writing for Crikey, it was a return to the bad old days of long grinding editing this week, but Bracksed.com is now out there for the world to see.

The response has been pretty muted, probably because much of the content so far is old. There certainly isn’t the rich vein of insider material that was available for Jeffed.com in the 1999 state election, but at least the lead time is two months rather than two weeks.

We had a good meeting with Family First yesterday and a preferences deal is in the offing, which makes sense given that we’re going to finish last and second last in most seats. However, we will be sticking to our guns on aiming for a 50-50 preferences split between the lefty Greens and the conservative Christians.

The Pentecostal churches sure do have an amazing ability to throw numbers at the ball. Family First is dead set committed to running more than 100 candidates to cover every seat in both houses and man all of the state’s 1600 booths on polling day. Don’t underestimate them!

I’m hosting the campaign committee and the locked-in upper house candidates tonight and the elephant in the room will be the question of campaign finance. Victoria’s new system of political welfare sees the taxpayer dish out $1.28 per vote – but this only kicks in if you get more than 4%.

The Greens are fine because they can raise $500,000 in finance confident in the knowledge that taxpayers will refund the lot, provided they can produce audited receipts because the system doesn’t tolerate Hanson-style profits.

However, we’re in the political casino because 4% is a tough ask for a start-up, especially in the upper house where the fields will be larger.

The difference between 3.99% and 4% in my seat of Southern Metro is almost $20,000. I’ve committed to spend $20,000 but that’s not a lot across an electorate of more than 400,000 voters and chances are it will be money down the drain. Oh well, put it down to experience.

Peter Fray

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