Yet another bad day at the office for the hapless Peter Debnam. Perhaps these Campaign Updates will cheer him up.
Balmain (Labor 7.1% versus Greens) and Marrickville (Labor 10.0% versus Greens): As usual, the Greens’ preference deliberations have eaten up a lot of column inches, despite the notorious indirectability of the party’s supporters. Of greater interest is the free kick the Liberals have given Labor by recommending an exhausted vote in Balmain and Marrickville the two seats the Greens could potentially win. Since major party voters really do follow the how-to-vote card, this will surely end the Greens’ hopes for a lower house seat, giving Labor two fewer things to worry about. This step has presumably been taken to give the Coalition ammunition in a late-campaign offensive over supposed deals between Labor and the Greens, perhaps involving secret protocols on crime and drugs policy.
Pittwater (Independent 5.4% versus Liberal) and Manly (Independent 0.6% versus Liberal): On Saturday, Steven Scott of the Financial Review reported that the Liberal Party’s polling showed it was unlikely to recover John Brogden’s old seat of Pittwater, which it lost to independent Alex McTaggart at a by-election in November 2005. Liberal candidate Rob Stokes, a former staffer to Brogden, reportedly trailed 57-43 on two-candidate preferred. The party was said to have a "better chance" in Manly, which former HSBC executive Mike Baird is seeking to win from independent member David Barr.
Goulburn (Liberal 4.5%): The aforementioned Financial Review article also reported that the Liberals were "worried" their star candidate, Pru Goward, would lose to former mayor and independent candidate Paul Stephenson. The government has given Stephenson a fillip by announcing plans for a 77 kilometre pipeline from the Wingecarribee River to Goulburn’s storages, which are so low the town has been on level five restrictions since 2003. John Breusch of the Financial Review notes that the "Iemma government may be in caretaker mode, but the decision to build the pipeline was taken by state cabinet last month following consultation with Stephenson in his role as mayor". Stephenson was also invited to a "private briefing" on the drought plan with Morris Iemma last week. The Sydney Morning Herald reports he was "a bit surprised" that Labor candidate Robert Parker was not invited.
South Coast (Liberal 1.6%) and Bega (Liberal 4.7%): The Coalition has promised to spend $200 million over four years improving safety on the notorious Princes Highway south of Kiama. There has been talk from the Labor camp that the Liberals might not be safe in South Coast, one of their few gains from 2003, although the Liberals dispute this. Campaign director Graham Jaeschke told the Financial Review he had not seen any Labor activity in South Coast or any other Liberal marginal.