From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Playing the Trump card. The Labor Party is distributing a pamphlet in the seat of Melbourne Ports comparing the Liberals to the extremism of Donald Trump, attacking Attorney-General George Brandis, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Senator Cory Bernardi. It says, “Say no to bigotry, racism and hate. This election, don’t vote Liberal”. The only problem is it doesn’t tell voters who to vote for, or the political alignment of the distributor. We called Henry Herzog, who is listed as authorising the material, and he said that it was a Labor Party pamphlet, but that there had been a mistake in the printing process and the Labor logo had been left off. He and candidate Michael Danby are not happy with the result. It still makes quite the impression.

Trump pamphlet 1

Trump pamphlet 3 Trump pamphlet 2

Time to let go, Bronny. Some people just don’t know how to retire. A tipster tells us that Bronwyn Bishop is struggling with the concept:

“It seems rejected Mackellar MP, Bronwyn Bishop, is still entertaining hopes of reprising her career in parliament. It’s an open secret she is telling her former followers to ‘have a break for a while, I’ll be back in 3 years — just don’t tell Jason’ (Jason Falinski, the Liberal’s candidate for the seat). Bronwyn is, of course, absent in the campaign in support of her replacement in stark contrast to Philip Ruddock who is campaigning heavily on behalf of his replacement, Julian Leeser, in the seat of Berowra.

“Meanwhile in the adjoining seat of Warringah held by former PM, Tony Abbott, the campaign team is concerned about a backlash against Abbott. The combination of voters who simply think his day is past and those rejecting his conservative values is causing problems.”

Richard Colbeck’s personal preferences. Senator Richard Colbeck has gone rogue, advertising for voters in Tasmania to vote below the line in the Senate and to put him first, and inviting them to ignore his fellow Liberal candidates. The Tourism Minister was shunted to fifth place on the Liberals’ Senate ticket, behind Eric Abetz, Stephen Parry, Jonathon Duniam (former Abetz staffer and now deputy chief of staff to Premier Will Hodgman) and David Bushby. Colbeck is followed by John Tucker, and there is not a single woman running for the Liberals in the Senate, and just one contesting a lower house seat in the state.

Colbeck, a Turnbull supporter, put this advertisement in The Advocate, asking voters to “place a number ‘1’ in the box BELOW THE BLACK LINE then at least 2-12 for other candidates of your choice”. The fifth position is considered unwinnable, and Colbeck’s how-to-vote ignores his Liberal colleagues.

Richard Colbeck HTV

It’s a similar move to the publicity campaign waged by Labor’s Lisa Singh in the Apple Isle, where the Senator has been handing out flyers with her name and photo, but without voting instructions. Singh has also been relegated to an unwinnable position but is attempting to court a below-the-line vote with a concerted campaign.

Kelvin Ho speaks out. The Glen Eira councillor who referenced the slippery slope argument about same-sex marriage has apologised for the comments, but he still claims he was mistranslated. Last week Crikey reported that Ho had made the case in a Chinese language chatroom, saying:

“… at the moment the problem is that same sex legislation has become trendy meaning it will probably pass. Experts warn that if the legislation passes then it is likely that bestiality laws will come next, then what? Australia follows case law, which means that once a precedent has been set, then a debate can occur, which is when the real problem arises.”

Ho has since spoken to Crikey, insisting that our translation is incorrect and that he was only quoting someone else. He has not provided an alternative translation. On Tuesday night at a council meeting, Ho made the following statement:

“Late last week a number of social media outlets started to report on comments that I had made in a private WeChat group. The comments were on the topic of same sex marriage. I am very disappointed that through translation from Chinese to English these comments have been misinterpreted to allege that I think that there is a connection between same sex marriage and bestiality. This is not true and I apologise for any offence that has occurred. I have no objection to same sex marriage but was repeating comments that I had heard from other sources to show that there is a variety of views in the public on this issue. I realise now that sharing these comments, even though they were not my own, was insensitive and hurtful to people from the LGBTI community and has caused offence. I offer my sincere apology to the community and to the Council.”

Bomb shelter pollies. Yesterday we noted that News Corp journo Samantha Maiden had bestowed the compliment on Industry Minister Christopher Pyne by naming him as someone she’d have in her “bomb shelter” if the time came. We asked if Crikey readers had any creative reasons they would invite particular pollies to their bomb shelter and got some interesting answers. One tipster said “Probably Clive Palmer because if provisions ran low there’s plenty of him to go around for everyone else. I doubt either that he tastes good or is in any way nutritional but at least we’d be assured that everyone would have their fill.” Another tipster chose a candidate, and we wonder if this is just a straight out plug for a friend “I would choose Anne Aly. Anyone with the depth of skill and compassion which she demonstrates would be the most inspiring and instructive companion.”

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to [email protected] or use our guaranteed anonymous form

Peter Fray

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