One more round of Campaign Update’s before I take the plunge tomorrow (by which I mean today, it being 3am) and post my predictions:
Lane Cove (Liberal 2.8%), South Coast (Liberal 1.6%) and Epping (Liberal 7.6%): Despite last week’s public transport nightmare, pundits are increasingly turning their attention to seats held by the Liberals. Anne Davies and Andrew Clennell of the Sydney Morning Herald report that "a Young Liberals ‘flying squad’ has been sent in to help the seat of Lane Cove, as the party moves into damage control to protect its marginals in the final week of the election". Liberal member Anthony Roberts is said to have been "hurt by a report he was asked to leave the Longueville Hotel following an incident", which he denies. The report also says the Liberals are now concerned about South Coast, having rubbished confident talk from the Labor camp earlier in the campaign. The two parties have found a new source of disagreement further up the pendulum, in Epping; Labor reportedly believes vote-splitting between Liberal candidate Greg Smith and independent Martin Levine might deliver them an upset, which is "dismissed as fanciful by Liberal campaigners". Also mentioned are Terrigal and Goulburn; Simon Benson of the Daily Telegraph concurs that "MPs are talking about possible losses in Terrigal, South Coast and Goulburn".
Sydney (Independent 15.0% versus Labor): Clover Moore continues to get a hard time from Imre Salusinszky in The Australian. On March 5, Salusinszky reported Moore had potentially breached parliamentary guidelines by using her electorate allowance to "spruik achievements from her other role as Lord Mayor of Sydney". This time she faces "a former campaign insider accusing her of hypocrisy over donations from property developers". In other inner-city news, an assault complaint brought by independent Malcolm Duncan against glamorous Liberal action man Edward Mandla has been given way too much media coverage. Writing in the gay and lesbian magazine SX, Sydney blogger Sam Butler describes the avowedly gay-friendly Mandla as "powerfully built, with exfoliated and moisturised skin, distinguished grey hairs and a handsome smile … an ideal ‘Daddy’ fantasy for many of the otherwise politically-ambivalent twinks residing in and around Stonewall". One wonders if the Stonewall twinks’ ardour for older authority figures extends to Fred Nile; as with all other Liberal candidates, Mandla’s how-to-vote card suggests voters might care to give him their second preference in the upper house.
Newcastle (Labor 15.4%): Morris Iemma was up against it yesterday when he visisted Newcastle to shore up the floundering campaign of his personally chosen star candidate, Jodi McKay. As well as being ambushed by ferals, the Premier had to face the embarrassment of McKay’s inability to identify the Premier of Queensland. The Poll Bludger had previously felt that McKay had a better chance than was commonly believed, due to the split in the independent vote and the likelihood that most of these votes would exhaust. This theory is now harder to sustain, presenting the dilemma of who to back out of lord mayor John Tate and Labor-turned-independent sitting member Bryce Gaudry.