The Government’s anti-union campaign has been given a big boost this morning with the news that the deselected Labor MP for Corio, Gavan O’Connor, will contest the election as an independent.

Labor’s endorsed candidate, Richard Marles, is a former ACTU assistant secretary. The bruvvers still sing his praises on their website, where his biography remains, complete with a link through to his campaign homepage.

Not only was Marles a senior ACTU office holder, but a solicitor with Slater and Gordon. In contrast, much has been made of O’Connor’s background as a farmer – and no doubt much more will be.

Crikey understands that much ill-will remains in the wake of the preslection, and O’Connor, the MP for the Geelong area electorate since 1993, is said to enjoy good local support.

And Corio was the seat that rejected a certain R J L Hawke back in the 1960s.


Peter Fray

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