Melbourne poll … from robocalls to biased Faine to The Oz hit squad
With just three days to go in Melbourne’s bellwether byelection pitting the ALP’s Jennifer Kanis against the Greens’ Cathy Oke (and Crikey founder Stephen Mayne), it’s time to cast an eye over the situation on the ground as Julia Gillard hopes to dodge a grenade from what was once Labor’s impregnable heartland.
Jon Faine under fire over election-eve panel
Fringe candidates have rounded on ABC Mornings presenter Jon Faine for failing to include them on his election-eve panel at the Queen Victoria Market on Friday. The three-person panel includes the two major candidates — Jennifer Kanis and Cathy Oke — but just one third candidate, Stephen Mayne.
Independents lined up to sledge the veteran broadcaster, saying they were more popular than Mayne and deserved to have their voices heard.
Family First candidate Ashley Fenn told Crikey his omission was because of Faine’s “left-leaning political views”.
S-x Party candidate Fiona Patten claimed Greens volunteers were handing out Mayne how-to-vote cards — “It’s like having two Greens and Labor there … and no independents. “Faine has shown his colours that he is a Greens supporter … and he is being biased. “I’m going to give him a call now,” she added. “I would love to be on that panel … we polled over 8% at the last byelection in Victoria.”
A spokesman for Independent African community candidate Berhan Ahmed, Ken Betts (a former Liberal candidate in Footscray interestingly) said Faine was “disgraceful”. “Where’s the equal time? It’s all about Greens and Labor,” he said. “They’re [voters] are coming our way, he’s getting the Vietnamese vote because my wife is Vietnamese and I’m on a number of Vietnamese committees, the Africans are supporting him, the Chinese are supporting him … he’s going to out-poll Stephen, that’s for sure.”
Mayne said Faine needed to get the six candidates at the outside broadcast or on the phone “and it’s my understanding that’s what he’s doing”. A physical presence would mean Aunty would have to raid its Southbank closets for more microphones and possible an extra trestle table to accommodate Patten, Liberal-leaning independent David Nolte and Ahmed.
“The only published poll that has been taken had me on 7% and I’m confident I’m going to finish third … and the bookies say the same thing,” said Mayne.
The ABC maintains a rigorous framework for its election coverage to ensure each candidate has an equal share of voice. An ABC spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment this morning.