Latham's call stirs local reaction

NOBODY looks good as a possible victor in the weekend’s federal election, according to former Labor Party leader Mark Latham.

With much of the electorate still confused, angry and undecided, it seems almost Anybody could win on Saturday.

But Mr Latham says Everybody who feels as he does should vote for Nobody, even though it is almost certain that Somebody will win.

The worry seems to be that, as another election joke has it, no matter who gets your vote, you will end up getting a politician.

In Gympie’s Wide Bay electorate, held with some apparent security by Nationals’ leader Warren Truss, all candidates yesterday rejected Mr Latham’s claim that Nobody is worth voting for.

Mr Latham has urged voters to turn up at the polling booth, get their names crossed off and then lodge their ballot paper with no vote on it.

That was his advice to Sunday viewers of Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes program, which has hired him as a journalist.

Mr Truss said: “Voting is an important democratic right that should be valued and respected.

“We must all take responsibility to ensure we choose the best possible government for our nation”.

Labor’s Nikolee Ansell says that while she understands that people have a legal right to throw away their vote, they shouldn’t.

“Latham makes his suggestion on the basis that the major parties have little point of difference, which is not correct as there are policy differences and of course a major differences in underlying ideology.

“I suggest people with internet access go straight to the party websites to check policy differences for themselves.

“The major point of difference affecting people in regional areas is the National Broad Band Network. The NBN has the potential to address tyranny of distance issues that are the reality of living in regional Australia.

“This is the future and we need it to keep up with the world.”

One Nation’s Santo Ferraro agrees only slightly with Mr Latham, saying it is true that “the two major parties have become self-centred.

“Both lack vision and policies for the future. Both have predominantly engaged in negative advertising about each other.”

He said voting 1 for minor parties or independents would be “a brave new experiment (and would put) the major parties further down the ballot paper.

“This would send a strong message to the major parties that they need to return to looking after the country and the electorate.”

Greens Jim McDonald said wasting a vote was not wise, especially when major parties were being untruthful.

“I’ve copped a lot of angst from fishers because they’ve been given misleading information about Greens policies. I’ve stood behind Mr Truss and heard what he has been saying. People are being misled.”

Family First’s Ken Herschell said he had not heard Mr Latham’s non-vote call, but agreed that people were very undecided.

Describing the Latham suggestion as a cop-out, he said: “You’ve got to face the issues affecting this country and get focused”.

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