Around the traps

Various happenings around the place have prompted the first set of campaign updates for the House of Representatives election guide. To save you the effort:

Kalgoorlie (WA, Liberal 4.4%): State Labor MP Tom Stephens accused the Liberals of working to have transients and Aboriginals removed from the electoral roll by lodging objections against the enrolments of voters when campaign material failed to reach the addressee. If that is indeed their aim it appears it may not be successful, an AEC spokesman telling The West Australian it was "difficult" to remove people from the roll as the Commission had to "send three letters and have them returned with information that the elector was no longer at that address before they could be struck off". It is certainly to be hoped so, because a narrow defeat for Labor in Kalgoorlie could mean a narrow defeat for Labor in the election, in which case the controversy would put the popular Bush-stole-Florida theory in the shade.

Adelaide (SA, Liberal 0.6%): Liberal member Trish Worth, who at times had presented herself as sympathetic to asylum seekers, made headlines yesterday when audio emerged of her telling a Justice for Refugees debate that detention could not be ended "like that" because when "you bring a dog into this country, or a cat from some countries … there are certain tests to be carried out". This would probably not have hurt her if her seat was in the suburbs or the regions, but in central Adelaide, her traditionally more sympathetic image would have been the better bet electorally.

Lyne (NSW, National 11.3%): Rob Oakeshott, the independent member for the state seat of Port Macquarie, announced yesterday that he would not run against deputy National Party leader Mark Vaile, as he had been threatening. Given that Oakeshott scored 70 per cent of the primary vote at the 2003 state election against a Nationals candidate who received strong backing from Vaile, this would be a great relief to him and his party. This deprives the election of its best chance for a new independent to join Katter, Andren and Windsor.

Kennedy (Qld, Independent 8.3%): Bob Katter’s step-mother Joy Katter publicly endorsed his National Party opponent, James Doyle. The second wife of Bob Katter Sr, who held the seat from 1966 to 1990, Joy Katter said yesterday that she did not approve of his performance since leaving the National Party and that his late father wouldn’t have either.

Swan (WA, Labor 2.1%): Kim Wilkie has kept his Liberal opponent Andrew Murfin squirming over the letters scandal as the campaign begins, lodging a complaint with the Police Commissioner over the matter.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.