Political reporter BELINDA STRAHORN rakes through the flotsam and jetsam of another week on the 2020 ACT election trail…
ACT Labor will be rubbing their hands together, in fact I can hear the champagne corks popping, over the Canberra Liberals’ decision to dump newly minted candidate Peter McKay, two days after the party announced his candidature for Kurrajong.
Liberals Leader Alistair Coe called for McKay’s resignation on Tuesday after controversial comments he made condemning the “Welcome to Country” ceremony and alleging the ACT’s “homosexual chief minister” influenced a police investigation.
McKay, an ex-army parachutist, has now resigned. The major “whoopsie” has landed the Libs in hot water with many political pundits suggesting the controversy could destroy the party’s election chances.
“There’s no question this could derail the party’s campaign,” observed “CityNews” columnist Michael Moore, citing the bungle as a major “distraction” for the Liberals.
McKay entered the Assembly race as a replacement for dumped candidate Vijay Dubey. That’s two discarded Liberal candidates in a matter of months, let’s hope the next contender lasts longer in the ring. I feel an old saying coming on… “A day is a long time in politics”.
THE man behind Summernats, the hardcore muscle-car community’s version of “WoodStock”, is the latest candidate to enter the electoral fray. Chic Henry ran the Summernats festival for 25 years, he’s now trying his hand at politics again, running as a candidate for the Belco Party. The Summernats legend ran for a spot in the Assembly as an independent in 2016. Henry joins “Belco Bill” Stefaniak, Alan Tutt and Angela Lount on the Belco Party ticket, in the northern electorate of Ginninderra.
ELECTIONS have always been full of two types of ham, the pork barrel and the porky pie. There’s nothing new about fear-mongering election campaigns, based on embellishment and exaggeration, but it seems something may be getting done about those naughty little lies in political advertising.
Canberrans have raised their voice loud and clear, overwhelmingly deciding that the time is ripe for truth in political advertising. Hear! Hear! New polling released this week from the Australia Institute reveals that 90 per cent of ACT residents want laws safeguarding against inaccurate or misleading political advertising. The ACT Greens have drafted laws to amend the territory’s Electoral Act to outlaw false material during local elections, but it’s unlikely they’ll be passed anytime soon. Let’s hope something changes soon before campaigns turn completely feral.
JUST last week the Canberra Liberals slammed Labor’s interest-free loans scheme for rooftop solar panels, household battery storage and hot-water heat pumps, labelling it as just another example of a “tired old Labor dusting off old, existing policies” that will drive Canberra further into debt.
And this week the Liberals are accusing ACT Labor of “rebadging” an old announcement on food waste and calling it an election promise. On Monday, the Labor Party committed to rolling out the city-wide food-waste collection scheme, which would cost about $12 million, if re-elected in October.
It seems the announcement sounds eerily familiar to a commitment made in this year’s Budget where the ACT government said it was planning for a food and garden organics processing site and facility to help work towards more food waste being recycled instead of ending up in landfill.
“The reality is that Labor should have really brought in this food-waste [bin policy], back when the green bins rolled out,” shadow environment minister Elizabeth Lee said. “They miss[ed] a great opportunity and are now rebadging this as this brand new policy announcement. They are just playing catch up.”
Under a Canberra Liberals government, Ms Lee said they would bring food waste bins to all Canberra households. Are ACT Labor’s election commitments just more of the same old same old or is this a case of sour grapes? I’ll let you decide.
AND hot on the tail of our election slogan story, Yerrabi MLA Deepak-Raj Gupta has created his own snappy catchphrase that ticks all the right boxes for a good slogan: “We Back Deepak”. It’s short, pithy, catchy and fun and is coming to a roadside near you. Deepak’s catchcry could give independent candidate for Murrumbidgee Fiona Carrick’s “Barrack 4 Carrick” slogan a run for its money. Keep the battle cries coming Canberra.