Has the Victorian Opposition Leader committed his first major campaign gaffe? This morning Ted Baillieu fronted interviewer Neil Mitchell on Melbourne radio station 3AW to discuss “Steve Bracks’s lies” and got caught out in a fib of his own:
Baillieu: I’m saying Labor lied with regard to the tolls on the Eastlink freeway… They’ve certainly broken a lot of promises Neil… they have broken a string of promises. There’s a website dedicated to Bracks’s broken promises.
Mitchell: You’re recommending people to it. Has it got anything to do with the Liberal party?
Baillieu: Not that I’m aware of…
Mitchell: Bracks broken promises, I’ve got it now, it has a new broken promise will go up on this website every day on average. So you don’t know who’s behind it?
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Baillieu: I couldn’t tell you Neil… there may be somebody associated with it but it’s just a list of broken promises.
Mitchell: But is it really sensible to recommend that people to it if you don’t know its accuracy?
Baillieu: Well I’m just making the point Neil that there are a lot of people who think there a lot of broken promises.
Mitchell: It’s anonymous. That’s not very good is it?
Baillieu: I haven’t looked at it in that sort of detail to see who it is. But it’s been there for a fair while. I’m aware of it.
Mitchell: It says they’ve broken over 300 promises, so as far as know it’s not the Liberal Party.
Baillieu: I don’t know the origins of it Neil.
Mitchell: You’d know if it was the Liberal Party?
Baillieu: I don’t know the origins of it.
Mitchell: But presumably if you own party was doing it they would’ve told you?
Baillieu: Well I’ve been referred to it. There may be some people in the Liberal party who contributed to it, I don’t know…
Mitchell: Can you tell me what’s at 104 Exhibition Street Melbourne?
Baillieu: Ah, it’s Liberal party headquarters and there are some commercial offices.
Mitchell: Who is J Sheezel?
Baillieu: Ah, Julian Sheezel, that’s our state director.
Mitchell: He’s the person who authorises this broken promises website.
Baillieu: Well there you are. I’m happy to concede that. I wasn’t aware it was being authorised in that way.
Mitchell: It should have the Liberal Party name on it… and yet they didn’t tell you they were doing it?
Nicely wrongfooted by Mitchell and not a good look for a bloke wanting to claim the moral high ground –- but it’s the sort of gaffe you can expect when relations between the party leader and HQ are decidedly frosty. (Sheezel is a Costello man while Baillieu is in the Kennett camp.)
Also not likely to inspire confidence are the results of this new Morgan Poll, which found that 70% of Victorians think the ALP will win and 59% think Victoria is heading in the right direction.
But if Ted Baillieu wants some expert advice on the subject, he could do worse than read this piece from this week’s Guardian media section – Politicians take note: spin does not work on the web.
The headline pretty much says it all.