Opinion by Phil Jarratt
It’s all smiles and skulduggery as the campaign winds down and the polls close.
You could have fired a cannon through the Bushlands polling station on a rainy Saturday morning last weekend without doing much damage, most people seeming to have got their early vote in during business hours.
But outside on the walkway it was all jolly hockey sticks as old rivals former LNP Noosa MP Bruce “Davo” Davidson and former Noosa mayor Bob Abbot traded jokes and quips as they handed out how to vote cards alongside Greens candidate Rhonda Prescott. If this writer is not mistaken, an excited Mr Davidson even offered to buy him a steak and a bottle of red after the election, which is a yes, please, look forward to it.
Behind the scenes, however, the usual last week of campaign skulduggery was underway, with several claims and counter claims bordering on the ludicrous. The first was the questionable LNP advertisement headlining the fact that Noosa Independent MP Sandy Bolton had voted “over 120 times” with Labor since 2018, alongside a photoshopped image of Sandy with the on-the-nose former treasurer Jackie Trad.
Before the ad had even appeared, Bolton supporter Bob Abbot had posted far and wide on social media that while this was true, Sandy had also voted 104 times with the LNP. “Hardly an argument that she is a Labor stooge,” Bob commented. Indeed, this would be about the balance you would expect from a true independent. But let’s not allow balance to get in the way of a good old-fashioned slur.
Perhaps more disturbing was the underground campaign to convince the electorate that Bolton had done a preference deal with One Nation, based on the fact that the invisible One Nation candidate had her number two on her how to vote card. But hang on – Sandy’s voting card is free choice, preference who you want to. Not such a great deal for One Nation, a bit like running a candidate in the first place.
Meanwhile James Blevin supporter Bruce Davidson was running with the line that Bolton had done a deal with One Nation all over social media, over and over again, perhaps underestimating Noosa’s capacity for withstanding repetition, the most common form of political torture. But hang on again – if you could find it hiding under the starburst “free set of steak knives” Frecklington rego rebate, there it was on the Blevin LNP voting card in Liberal blue type, the LNP preferencing One Nation, but not getting the same consideration in return.
Maybe this was what was getting some people excited. An estimated 25 percent of voters had still to fill in their ballot papers as we went to press, so whatever it is, it’s a done deal as I write. Predictions are therefore pointless, but the people of varying political persuasion that this writer spoke to agreed on one thing. It’s a tight race.
Whether it got any tighter because of the misinformation spread liberally over the final stages is anyone’s guess.