A Poll Bludger guide to Western Australia’s Senate election is open for business and accessible from the sidebar, providing a review of electoral history, the candidates and preference tickets. To mark the occasion, here’s an assembly of news nuggets as the campaign enters the home stretch:
According to today’s West Australian, advertising monitoring firm Ebiquity estimates the Palmer United Party has spent 10 times more than Labor and 20 times more than the Liberals on television advertisements. The substance of the advertising is that Palmer United will reduce the flow of Western Australian money to the eastern states, which may have proved counter-productive to its endeavours in the recent Tasmanian election, at which a similarly intensive advertising blitz failed to yield any dividends. Former Fremantle Dockers player Des Headland, who holds the unwinnable number two position on the party’s ticket, features prominently in the advertising; the number one candidate, Zhenya Dio Wang, does not.
Labor appears to have picked up the tempo of its television advertising, matching Palmer United for air time during last night’s news bulletins, or exceeding it if additional anti-government advertising from the MUA and CFMEU is taken into account. Featuring prominently are Alannah MacTiernan, who not coincidentally was promoted to the position of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for regional development, infrastructure and Western Australia as the campaign began, and Colin Barnett, whose example in delivering too many cuts is allegedly set to be followed by Tony Abbott with respect to Medicare, education, even penalty rates.
The Liberal campaign has so far been far more low key so far as television advertising is concerned. Its one advertisement seeks to take advantage of the confusion of the September result, warning of the crazy deals which sent votes all over the place, and throwing in for good measure the loss of the ballot papers (leaving unstated any argument as to why this might cause one to vote Liberal in particular). The party has also taken advantage of suggestions Help End Marijuana Prohibition might preference-harvest its way to victory, with a radio advertisement castigating the Palmer United Party in particular for directing preferences its way. The West Australian joined in the counter-offensive against Palmer United on Saturday, its front page headline reading SOLD A PUP atop a report that rounded on his promise to deliver Western Australia more GST revenue.
The focus on Help End Marijuana Prohibition drew more publicity than one might have anticipated to the HEMP campaign launch, fuelled by media concern about the local credentials of its candidates, James Moylan and his daughter, Tayla Moylan. Both live in Lismore, and when pressed by journalists the former offered that the Premier of Western Australia might be called Barrett.
The Monte Carlo simulations of Original Truth Seeker suggests Palmer United will be unlikely to win a seat if it only retains its 5.0% vote share from September, and will need to approach 7% to be a better-than-even chance. None of the scenarios played out suggests HEMP is as much of a chance as some of the commentary suggests.
If you’re a voter in Western Australia, please take the short amount of time required to fill out the University of Western Australia’s Senate election survey, so that you may do your bit for electoral behaviour research and perhaps win a voucher for $500 on iTunes, Apple Store or Google Play.