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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Spooky vote-hunting robots

Having been the recent recipient of a promotional call from the PM BEFORE the election, I thought I would go one further. Reply to the man himslef using the same means. Don't know what I am talking about?

See this ABC Radio AM transcript:

TONY EASTLEY: The next time your telephone rings, it could be the Prime Minister calling. In the remaining days of the election campaign, the Liberal Party is mounting a blitz of automated mass calls in a number of seats across the country, in the hope that a message from John Howard, urging people to vote for the sitting Liberal MP or candidate, will have a positive effect.It's a new strategy from the Liberals, as both major parties mount a massive advertising effort in the last week before polling day.But as Alexandra Kirk reports, what the Liberals call "advocacy calls" from the Prime Minister aren't always welcome.

The actual text of the phone call went something like this:

Hello, this is John Howard. I've taken the unusual step of contacting you with this recorded message to support your local Liberal candidate in Moreton, Gary Gardgrave. As part of my Federal Liberal team, Gary Hardgarve will immediately start work on his detailed plan for your seat of Moreton. I know Gary Hardgrave and I know he will get things done for Moreton. This is John Howard, on behalf of Gary Hardgarve, thanking you for your time.

Yes, Gary Hardgrave retained his seat of Moreton (no thanks to such phone calls, methinks). But I also think it is time to return the favour. How about making a recorded message of my own to send to the PM?

It would go something like this:

Hello, this is [me]. I've taken the unusual step of contacting you with this recorded message to ask for the support of my local Liberal MEMBER in Moreton, Gary Gardgrave. As part of your Federal Liberal team, I hope that Gary Hardgarve is immediately starting work on his detailed plan for my seat of Moreton. Gary Hardgrave is a vague shadowy figure to me, and it's about time now he got things done for Moreton.This is [me], on behalf of [myself], thanking you for your time.

I sometimes wonder what politicians get up to. Well, it seems as the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, these have been Mr Hardgrave's MAJOR initiatives (according to his website):

Citizenship Day (September 17 - must have blinked and missed THAT one)

Living in Harmony, incorporating Harmony Day and the 'All of Us' Postcard Competition (by the waym, these are listed as SEPARATE initiatives. BTW Living in Harmony awarded forty-two grants from 529 applications, totalling some $1.5 million. Definately the BIG BISCUITS)

2030 (which basically involved "the production of a kit of classroom resources to help teachers and students explore immigration and population issues"...from a Right Wing ;-) perspective )

Mr Hardgrave is also the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister. Far me it from me to criticise, but I am wondering where exactly does he spend most of his time? John Howard's phone message assured me that Gary had "a plan" for Moreton. Am I to assume that Gary's plan is subsumed under John's big plan? I suppose so. Would someone please disabuse me of the notion that almost NOTHING is being done for the electorate?

And as Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural affairs, is anything being done for children in detention centres, although not technically "citzens" (albeit wannabes) they are all certainly very "multicultural". Not a lot of "Harmony" there as far as I can see.

Wayne Swan (ALP) labelled the call from the PM a message from "a spooky vote-hunting robot." I disagree. Instead, I believe that the Member for Moreton is a better candidate for such a title. Gary Hardgrave, thank you for your time.

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