While we always knew the 2022 election campaign, which is being fought against the backdrop of war, a global pandemic and a looming international financial crisis, was likely to be an ugly and drawn out affair some may still be surprised it got this nasty so quickly.
While it's a fact that Labor isn't squeaky clean, running the usual scare campaigns on the future of Medicare and possible cuts to other government services, the worst offenders - at least to date in this campaign - have been on the conservative side of politics.
The government appears to be determined to pork-barrel its way back into office in the grand tradition of "sports rorts" and "car park rorts" or, if that fails, to at the very least ensure that retiring or defeated conservative MPs have some of the best roads in the country to drive around on.
The $150 million Remote Roads Upgrade Pilot Program, unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on April 18, is the latest scheme to be used to shore up votes in Coalition seats. Mr Joyce is, of course the former Agriculture Minister who famously relocated the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to his own electorate a few years back.
Analysis by ACM has revealed that only one of the 33 projects announced under the scheme has been awarded to a Labor held seat. Lyons in Tasmania, a marginal that could flip to the Liberals, will receive just three per cent of the total funding. This time around they wouldn't have even needed a colour coded spreadsheet.
Once again the question has to be asked: "Is this going to do more harm than good?" Multiple surveys, including one by ACM earlier this year, have shown voters want money distributed fairly and equitably and that they want politicians to act with integrity.
Road funding decisions should be made on the basis of which roads are most in need of urgent repair. Public money should not be used to attempt bribe voters. It comes from the taxes paid by hard working people who want to see it spent responsibly.
And the tricks don't stop at pork barrelling. Closer to home, forces aligned with the embattled Liberal Senator Zed Seselja are stopping at nothing to slow what appears to be a very solid challenge from independent David Pocock.
Mr Pocock, who would be no stranger to sledging from the glory days of his sporting career, has been depicted on Advance Australia corflutes and mobile billboards as a closet Green. While some might be flattered by the obvious reference to Superman in the composition of the graphic, the former rugby star is less than impressed.
He says the signs "have no place in a civilised democracy" and that as far as he was concerned "[the] people putting up these signs are backers of Zed Seselja". Mr Pocock said that if Mr Seselja won't order his supporters to take the signs down then he is complicit in what the independent candidate believes is an underhanded and deceptive attack on his personal integrity.
The strategy behind the attack campaign is arguably flawed given the Greens are not preferencing Mr Pocock for the second ACT Senate seat. They have thrown their support behind Kim for Canberra's Kim Rubenstein. Labor, on the other hand, is preferencing Mr Pocock.
While unfortunately voters are no longer surprised by such tactics, does Advance Australia really believe that misrepresenting Mr Pocock and depicting China's leader Xi Jinping as a Labor voter helps their cause?
Australian's aren't stupid and the population of Canberra, by virtue of high educational standards and constant exposure to the business of government, are probably the most politically savvy in the country. They are not likely to fall for stunts like this.
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