A smart and successful young woman by the name of Lisa Clutterham decides to seek Labor preselection for the federal election. This is the result:

Clutterham’s crime? She freely admitted “I don’t have a connection with Melbourne” in an ABC Radio interview yesterday (she’s seeking preselection for the Melbourne seat of Lalor). She said her only link to the city was “my partner, Dominic Sharley, has family there and as a child he visited Werribee on many Christmas holidays”.

Her real crime, of course, is not that she’s seeking preselection for an electorate she has no connection to. It’s that she was honest about it.

We are used to politicians (and prospective politicians) honed in the dark arts of spin and subterfuge. Don’t answer the question! Don’t accept the premise of the question! Fudge and spin for all you’re worth, be evasive and a little misleading if it helps. That’s the way to escape the nasty headlines.

There are plenty of sitting MPs who don’t even live in their electorates. The difference between them and Clutterham is that they’ve been trained to spin the situation.

We’re not saying it’s a great idea for candidates to be parachuted into plum seats that they have no connection to. In this case, it seems inconceivable Labor powerbrokers ever thought they could get away with it. But every time the media savages someone for telling the truth, we retreat further into a world where spin is king.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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