Libs catch ‘boaties’ vote with first cast

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CAMPAIGNING for the 24 November state election is already underway, although just one of the major parties seems to have acknowledged the existence of the Mornington Peninsula.

With the peninsula’s three state seats – Nepean, Mornington and Hastings – solidly held by the Liberals, Labor could be seen as already accepting there will be no change.

The Premier Daniel Andrews and even newly-anointed Prime Minister Scott Morrison have been active in neighbouring marginal Frankston, but neither has seen fit to wander any further south.

Frankston is held for Labor with a slim majority by Paul Edbrooke. He is being opposed for the Liberals by policeman, Mick Lamb.

Greens convener for the peninsula Kelvin Stingel said Paul Saunders will stand in Nepean, David Sinclair in Mornington and Nathan Lesslie in Hastings.

Mr Saunders will oppose Russell Joseph, who is hoping to gain the job of his boss, current long serving Liberal MP Martin Dixon.

The Liberals publicity machine is – as is done by all parties – churning out news releases that differ only in the name of the candidate (or sitting MP).

One of the latest lures to gain votes was aimed fairly and squarely at “local boaties and recreational fishers in (whatever electorate is being lobbied)”.

The news release details plans by a Liberal Nationals government to “create a Blue Infrastructure Fund to provide first-class infrastructure and services for recreational water users like more boat ramps, jetties, navigational lighting as well as onshore facilities such as bigger car parks and cleaning tables”.

The release issued by Mornington MP David Morris differs only to that of his Liberal colleague in Hastings, Neale Burgess, by mentioning Port Phillip and not Western Port.

A near-identical release was put out by Liberal leader Matthew Guy.

The opposition parties say they will spend more of the revenue collected by government from boating users than is spent by the Andrews Labor government.

“The Blue Infrastructure Fund will invest in infrastructure like more boat ramps, jetties, navigational lighting and onshore facilities that improves access, enjoyment and protection to Victoria’s waterways,” the MPs announce in unison.

And their lure seems to have worked already with VRFish, with the self-described “peak body representing Victorian recreational fishers” predicting the Blue Fund would “revolutionise the state’s failing boating infrastructure”.

A statement issued on 11 September under the name of VRFish chairman Rob Loats quotes the same set of figures as the news release issued by the Liberal Party.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 18 September 2018

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