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Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Woolas syndrome has reached Australia.

And the Labor Party has become an acute case.
THE Coalition has given Labor until midday today to drop a negative television advertisement about leader Ted Baillieu or face defamation action.

Launched at the weekend on commercial television, the ad updates a 2006 election theme suggesting that Mr Baillieu gained financially from [former Liberal Premier of Victoria] Jeff Kennett's school sales program in the early 1990s while he was president of the Victorian Liberals.

At the time Mr Baillieu was a director of the real estate firm Baillieu Knight Frank that managed some of the school sales.

The ad row comes after The Age revealed on Saturday that staff members in Premier John Brumby's private office are running an underground campaign smearing political opponents.

The new TV ad includes an extra, contentious element - the sale of a northern suburban hospital in 1999, the final year of the Kennett government.

After reminding viewers of the school sales by Baillieu Knight Frank, the narrator says: ''What none of us knew when the Liberals sold the Preston and Northcote Community Hospital, you guessed it, the same company again got the contract to sell it.'' It closes with printed words: ''Ted Baillieu. Ummmm.''

But by the time of the hospital sale, Knight Frank had dropped ''Baillieu'' from its name. Mr Baillieu was neither a company director nor Liberal president. He was elected to Parliament for the first time later that year.

He remained indirectly linked to Knight Frank through a shareholder and alternate director of holding company DBF Holdings, which in turn was a shareholder of Knight Frank.

Since taking office, Labor has itself used Knight Frank to sell properties including schools, police stations and courthouses.

Last night, Mr Baillieu's office wrote to the ALP threatening that failure to withdraw the ad by midday today would result in defamation proceedings in the Supreme Court.
Who knows? Maybe the ALP are nearer to the truth than Phil Woolas was, though it seems open to some doubt. But even if I believed every word it doesn't make Labor worth voting for. This is very close to David Cameramong's election performance, which from here seemed mainly to be based around the central policy of not being Gordon Brown and continuing to not be him. In Victoria the Liberals are doing a little better and occasionally coming up with reasons (mostly piss weak reasons as far as the Exile household is concerned) why you should vote for them, as opposed to reason why you should vote against Labor and the current Premier, John Brumby, but it's still mostly negative campaigning from both.

At least the bloody Greens were prepared to stand on the doorstep and tell me what they're for rather than try to explain why I should believe they're merely less nasty and/or incompetent than the rest. I have little doubt that this kind of shit stirring is very effective at getting Labor's and the Liberals's own votes out but I'm far from convinced the swing voters, the ones who really decide the election, are impressed by it. Supposedly half of all advertising expenditure is a waste of money, and the difficulty lies in working out which half. I can help Labor and the Liberals with this: whatever you spent putting your crap leaflets in my mailbox was in the wasted half.

Roll on Saturday for the third election of the year.
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