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Poll smear a 'Chaser-style prank

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by fLIP, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. fLIP

    fLIP UFO Hunter

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    Poll smear a 'Chaser-style prank

    THE Liberal Party has been hugely embarrassed over a campaign team caught delivering fake letters linking Labor with the Bali bombers.

    The grubby night-time operation in St Marys, in the western Sydney seat of Lindsay, was busted by a squad of ALP sleuths who conducted a stake-out.

    Police have been called in to investigate the distribution of the letter, as well as the Australian Electoral Commission. The Liberal Party yesterday expelled two members involved in the scheme.

    The gang included Gary Clark, husband of retiring MP for Lindsay Jackie Kelly, and party state executive member Jeff Egan. Another was named by Labor as Troy Craig, president of the Glenmore Action Group.

    Prime Minister John Howard has said the leaflets were completely unacceptable. "I condemn it, I dissociate myself from it. It's no part of my campaign and the party has acted promptly to deal with it," he has said.

    On ABC radio this morning, Ms Kelly has said her first instinct was to laugh when she saw the pamphlet. She has said the leaflet was a parody of shadow foreign minister Robert McClelland's comments about the death penalty for the Bali bombers.

    "My view is that it is a bit of a Chaser-style prank," she has said. "I think its intent is to be a send-up, but it obviously hasn't worked. If you read it you would be laughing.

    "An ALP goon squad, which I understand was led by some unionists, have chased down and hunted down and tried to intimidate. I understand there was even a fight."

    But Labor spokesman Anthony Albanese has said it is no laughing matter. "This isn't a lark, this is serious," he has said.

    Fake group

    Liberal sources said earlier that a group of campaign volunteers were involved and had not been authorised.

    The letter appeared to be from a Muslim organisation, the Islamic Australia Federation. But the organisation does not exist.

    The fictitious group was said to be backing Kevin Rudd because Labor supported forgiveness for "our Muslim brothers who have been unjustly sentenced to death for the Bali bombings".

    It also said Labor endorsed construction of a mosque in St Marys.

    "In the upcoming federal election we strongly support the ALP as our preferred party to govern this country and urge all other Muslims to do the same," the letter read.

    Dismal spelling

    It was clumsily worded and ended with "Ala Akba", a dismal attempt at the traditional Islamic salute of "God is Great" - "Allah Akbar".

    Labor officials were tipped off and on Tuesday night staked out a Penrith house in the same street as Ms Kelly.

    They followed a small convoy of cars to St Marys, where the group split up and began putting the dodgy material into boxes. The Labor officials later confronted the men, identified three and photographed two.

    The letter drop was reportedly organised in the family home of Ms Kelly and Mr Clark.

    But Ms Kelly has denied the pamphlets were printed in her office and has said she does not know who funded or authorised the printing.

    "Everyone has got home printers and what not. You can do up dodgy flyers how you like. Anyone could have, even the goon squad following," she has said.

    Mr Albanese has said the Liberal Party must come clean. "This hasn't been done up in a kitchen, this has been done up professionally by someone using resources unknown, and Jackie Kelly doesn't explain where it came from."

    Formal complaint

    ALP national secretary Tim Gartrell yesterday formally complained to the AEC, citing the offence under the Electoral Act of printing, publishing or distributing election material without authorisation or the name of the printer.

    Liberal state director Graham Jaeschke yesterday said he had been "made aware of an incident" involving unauthorised and false election material.

    "The people allegedly involved are no longer members of the Liberal Party. I will refer this incident to the Electoral Commission," Mr Jaeschke said.

    He declined to name those expelled when asked by The Daily Telegraph, but said two members were involved and that he thought there had been a total of five men. Ms Kelly has said her husband had not been expelled from the party.

    Mr Howard has tried to distance the episode from the overall Liberal campaign. "This is no part of my campaign. It is no part of the Liberal Party's campaign. I don't want anything to do with it.

    "I am not in control of the actions of all people who are members of my party."

    Sydney-based chairman of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Ikebal Patel said falsification of election material created a further rift between mainstream community and Muslims.

    "No community, race and religion should be used for one side's political ambition," he said.
     
  2. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

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    Poll smear a 'Chaser-style prank

    The liberal clowns have really shot themselves in the foot today. Their last week has been a calamity of errors!

    I had to laugh at the following in Howards speech:

    "16 consecutive years of economic growth" Really!!!! So it all started under the ALP and they put it on track for the first 5 years?

    "Spending on National Secuirty has increased immeasureably during my time in power." Yeah well that's what you get when you fight bogus wars in Iraq and Afghanistan looking for fictional WMDS!
     

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