Anyone for a spot of bank bashing? That’s what I’ll be doing for the next 24 days having yesterday successfully nominated to be the first independent candidate Peter Costello has faced in the seat of Higgins for many years.

Victorians are sick of not getting our share of the attention and the pork barrelling in this boring election campaign, courtesy of the fact there are no Liberal marginals under 5% and Peter Costello prefers to splash the surplus in other states.

Labor is also giving Costello a very easy ride by running dead in Higgins by producing a candidate, Barbara Norman, who offended the blue ribbon electorate in June by declaring that parts of it were “almost Kath & Kim country”. The good burghers of Toorak were not impressed.

Costello is a lazy Treasurer with a glass jaw who deserves some more attention, so that’s why I’ve tried to become “Victoria’s Maxine McKew”, albeit with a very modest $10,000 budget and a goal of getting 4%. Pushing Costello to preferences and a much tighter margin than his current 8.8% buffer is the plan, but if the swing is really on, there is an outside chance that Cossie could be swept out in a Ruddslide.

The five key points in the platform are spelt out in this very bad YouTube video we shot from out the front of Scores – Kevin Rudd’s favourite New York strip club.

Shareholder issues are important but it’s the bank cartel and pokies that will be front and centre. The AAP coverage picks up the banking themes as explained to Fran Kelly this morning.

I spent two hours with Nick Xenophon in Melbourne yesterday and we’re working together on pokies and the banks, such that I’ve even arranged his proxies for next week’s Commonwealth Bank AGM in Sydney.

Finally, there’s also a Crikey angle in this tilt. Whilst Crikey has nothing to do with the campaign and probably prefers it didn’t happen, I am partly motivated by Costello’s outrageous ban of Crikey from the budget lock-up for the past three years.

It’s an act of churlishness that he may come to regret. As a genuine independent, I would prefer to run a split ticket on preferences, but if Costello doesn’t provide a written guarantee to lift the ban, this might be difficult.

The calls have also been placed to Costello’s staff this morning for a Higgins candidates’ debate and we’ll see if he tries to ban us from that too.

Meanwhile today’s SMH covered my announcement by managing to misspell Crikey in their headline…

For more on Campaign Costello, go to www.maynereport.com

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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