“If you are a Green voter in the suburbs and regions of Australia, when you vote Green your vote will be going to the Liberal Party,” said Bill Shorten.

“The federal director will decide how preferences are allocated,” responded Turnbull, saying no preference deal had been done, with the Greens or anyone else.

Michael Danby, Labor MP for Melbourne Ports, seemed to have done a preference deal: “I, as in the last election, have determined that in my seat that I will be preferencing the Liberals ahead of the Green party [sic].” But Victorian Labor’s assistant state secretary Kosmos Samaras kyboshed that: “Obviously negotiations take place. Negotiations have taken place in the past between the Labor Party and the Greens, and other minor parties, but we have not commenced discussions yet.”

Fran Kelly this morning tried to pin down Nick Xenophon over a rumoured preference deal with Labor, but he was having none of it: “I don’t want to do preference deals, and I think the most likely scenario [is] … that there will be open tickets … I reckon voters are smart enough to decide where their preferences will go … We unashamedly are a party of the political centre, we are not ideological.”

Save up to 50% on a year of Crikey

Choose what you pay, from $99.

Sign up now

It’s all nonsense, of course. All parties are furiously negotiating preference deals behind the scenes, and as Josh Taylor wrote on Wednesday, the Sex Party is preferencing Labor over the Greens — even though the Greens are more closely ideologically aligned — because Labor is more politically expedient. Former Howard media adviser Paula Matthewson writes in Crikey today a deal with the Greens could benefit the Libs for the same reason. Don’t be surprised to see other strange bedfellows — when there’s an election on the line, ideology goes out the window.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

Join us and save up to 50%

Subscribe before June 30 and choose what you pay for a year of Crikey. Save up to 50% or, chip in extra and get one of our limited edition Crikey merch packs.

Join Now