From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

CDP targets Chinese without authorisation. The Christian Democratic Party is looking at the possibility of gaining a place in the Senate in NSW, and it could be because of a targeted campaign to Sydney’s Chinese-speaking community. The party has used the Chinese-language social media platform WeChat to speak directly to voters, warning them not to vote for the Labor Party because of its stand on marriage equality and the Safe Schools program. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Fred Nile’s party was behind the messages but that they weren’t authorised because they had been created by supporters from Chinese churches. We understand that complaints might be made about this Chinese how-to-vote card, which also targets Labor over Safe Schools and does not carry an authorisation.

CDP flyer

A model vote. In the inner-Melbourne seat of Higgins, where Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer hung on in the face of a concerted campaign by the Greens, she was also targeted by the candidate for the Liberal Democrats, who took a novel approach to finding people to hand out his how-to-vote cards. Robert Kennedy, who says he stood as a protest against the Liberals’ changes  to superannuation, paid for models to help man the polling booths and hand out pamphlets to voters.

Robert Kennedy and models

Kennedy confirmed the tip to Crikey, saying that he is friends with the owner of Giant Modelling Agency, and although he paid “mates’ rates”, the women who worked on his campaign were paid, and “well above award rates”. The party’s future in the Senate is uncertain, with it unclear if David Leyonhjelm will be returned by NSW voters. Kennedy says the party didn’t pay for the models, but that he did out of his own pocket, and had received some donations as well. Kennedy says employing models for the job was more about getting boots on the ground than gaining votes because of attractive women. “It was more man power, literally having someone there. Maybe some men would have taken a card that wouldn’t have.” Kennedy said the models needed to become familiar with the policies, even if they didn’t agree with them, and in the end the models did vote for him. The seat of Higgins was hotly contested, with accusations that a Liberal supporter bit a Greens supporter, and that Greens posters were pulled down overnight on Friday. Kennedy said that the volunteers from all sides were courteous. Kennedy is currently sitting at just over 1% of the vote, a result that exceeds his expectations.

What next in Tasmania? As the Tasmanian Liberals cast about for someone to blame for their shocking performance on Saturday, Crikey hears that far-right powerbroker Eric Abetz could stand aside by the end of the year to make way for the even further right Andrew Nikolic, the failed Abbott-era whip and free speech opponent kicked out by the voters of Bass in one of the biggest swings in the country. Of course, moderate Liberal Richard Colbeck, who currently faces a real struggle to hang on to his Senate spot, might have a view about that if he doesn’t return to Canberra. And so might the voters of Tasmania — because if one thing’s clear from the Tasmanian result, the Apple Islanders are underwhelmed with the Abetz-Nikolic style of vicious reactionary politics.

Laurie Oakes, betting master. Doyen of the press gallery Laurie Oakes was at centre stage in Channel Nine’s coverage on Saturday night, a fact that Sportsbet took advantage of when it opened a market on what colour tie Oakes would wear on the night. We’re not sure how Oakes felt about this, but he used the marathon broadcast for a few costume changes:

Laurie 1

Laurie 2

Laurie 3

It meant that Sportsbet had to pay out on all bets made on his tie colour.

Council issue for Abbott. A tipster tells us that a “well-known Liberal” was handing out these flyers at Mosman High on Saturday. Who could it be?

Mosman councils

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

Peter Fray

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