But Sophie, @jansant IS a constituent and others are reading his posts


Sophie Mirabella Picture: Kym Smith Source: Herald Sun


By Wayne Jansson,

10 August, 2013

People who have been reading my posts from the seat of Indi will be aware I have been trying to catch up with Sophie Mirabella for some time now. I first contacted Adam Wyldeck (her media adviser) on July 9. He asked me to email my request and said he’d get back to me. I emailed him the next day with my interview request. After a couple of weeks I had not heard back, so I gave him a call. He told me Mirabella was extremely busy, but he would see what he could do and get back to me. Still waiting. Since then I have called numerous times (Adam’s never there) and sent another interview request via email. Still no interview after a month.

On August 6, the day before the candidates’ forum in Mansfield. I was informed by one of the other candidates that Mirabella had committed to attend. Great, I thought, an opportunity to bypass her media minder and ask her directly for an interview at a later date. I waited until the end of the night and approached her. I got the words out – “I’m Wayne with No Fibs” - and I was abruptly and some what rudely stopped in my tracks. I was informed in no uncertain terms she was there for her constituents only and had no time for me. Not wanting to make a scene because it had been a pleasant evening and country folk like it that way, I cut her tirade short, saying: I will contact your office and arrange it” – like that’s worked so far. I walked away shaking my head. What I should have said was, “Sophie, I am one of your constituents and your constituents are reading my posts.”

I dropped into Mirabella’s office on Friday afternoon hoping to pin down Adam Wyldeck to finally set a date. The nice lady at the front desk went out the back for a couple of minutes. When she returned I was told he had left for the afternoon.

Sophie has time to be interviewed by Neoskosmos.com in Melbourne. Note to Sophie: Indi is where you need the votes. Hope to chat soon :-)

On my way home on Friday I dropped by a friend’s house. Bemused and muttering “two million jobs, where the hell are they coming from?” he thrust a letter into my hands. A letter from Sophie.

I find a couple of claims odd, to say the least. The first being “keep income tax cuts”. I might be wrong, but the last I heard the Liberals were going to repeal the tripling of the tax-free threshold. Isn’t that the opposite of keeping a tax cut? The other is “free you from the world’s biggest carbon tax”. Didn’t the Liberals just spend the past three years telling us Australia was going it alone in pricing carbon? If that’s the case shouldn’t it read, free us from the world’s only carbon tax? It’s got a nice letterhead. Don’t know about the rules, but it feels wrong to see it used for election campaigning. I’m guessing others do it. Sophie’s letter is below.

Meanwhile, something that’s increasingly concerning me about Cathy McGowan’s campaign is her mixed messages and unwillingness to state a position on certain vexed or controversial issues, including climate change. In her No Fibs interview she stated, “It depends on who is the government of the day and what the policies are.” I can appreciate no one knows what the makeup of the government might be, but on these big issues, I want to know where the candidates stand. If they win, what will they support and what they will not support, and when they have to negotiate, what they are negotiating towards. Knowing where candidates stand before we vote is central to our democracy. Hopefully McGowan will start articulating a position on some of these issues she’s currently avoiding.

The Border Mail ran a story on Friday with the headline “cash rolling in for McGowan from afar”. I can’t link to it because at the time of writing this post  I couldn’t find it online. McGowan is quoted as claiming $42,200 of a $75,000 target has been reached with cash from across the country including Perth and Queensland. Well-known playwright and tweeter Van Badham (@vanbadham) was mentioned after she took to Twitter calling for people to give money to McGowan’s campaign. Steven Mayne (@MayneReport), the journalist and Melbourne City councillor was quoted as saying Mirabella’s “unpleasant disposition” had stirred people’s attention. He also claimed McGowan was polling in the 20’s via Twitter.

Coming soon: a wrap-up from the candidates forum in Mansfield and an interview with Jenny O’Connor of The Greens.

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  1. Cathy McGowan has clearly articulated her position with regards to Broadband (NBN)


    • About as much substance in that policy as a jellyfish in a blender

      • I’ll refer you to my comment on http://nofibs.com.au/2013/08/07/mirabella-under-siege-in-indi/ …..and add… Its time for candidates representing rural people to put forward solid technical solutions to expand NBN into area’s that will remain blackspots or poorly serviced. In my view, especially in the valleys, and due to real time issues more generally, satellite is a poor option. I have heard people in the valleys complain every time a fog rolls in their sat connect slows down to near or worse than dialup. Others who have trouble with sat because surrounded by close mountains/hills blocking large % of sky. These are issues NBN will not address.

      • and?

        your solution is what?

      • I’m not the one running for office and my role in this is to report. But I am seeking some comment from a friend – a highly experienced signalling expert, and another expert in the field who is a well known blogger/tweeter. Hopefully I will have some expert comments to add some time next week.

  2. Great article, at least my local MP has been very approachable, however the Labor candidate is MIA

  3. Robert Lappin says

    No-one should be surprised by the response from Sophie Mirabella described in Wayne Jansson’s article. At a booth in Wangaratta in August 2010 Sophie turned up and appeared annoyed that I’d found a one square metre spot to hang Alan Lappin’s campaign poster [the Liberal ones were in place from daylight that morning and covered almost every square inch available]. She spoke with me and demanded feedback about Alan’s policies.

    It appeared she expected her MP aura and her aggressive and rude tone to elicit a tame response. Despite the fact that we’d met twice before, Mirabella didn’t recognise me and appeared flabbergasted at my assertive and insightful reply.

    My response to Mirabella’s demands included a very brief critique on failures of the Howard Government that Alaln Lappin’s policies addressed until she almost screamed back; giving me quite a spray. She then wheeled around and fled the scene after talking to her own staffers [people who later made a point of trying to challenge my views as I handed out posters and spoke to voters].

    Non-Mirabella staffers handing our election material then came over to me and shared similar experiences they’d had. Some even helped me hand out posters.

    People should not lightly dismiss the comments made by MP Tony Windsor about Sophie’s behaviour in Parliament, nor her behaviour on forums such as Q&A. Taken collectively they provide important insights into Mirabella and her modis operandi.

    • vivienne29 says

      Had similar experience a few years back at a book launch. She is so so rude. I have nothing but unprintable words to describe her. Like a lot of Liberals she has no logic in her approach to important matters and just spouts mantra rot. I was amazed she finally managed to turn up to one of the many forums (always too busy with some other appointment). Previous Lib members in Indi at least had a brain and Lou Lieberman would talk to anyone (nicely, respectfully and sincerely) and actually act on requests.

  4. Raphel Emerson says

    Not surprised she had no time for you.
    She does not have time for the people of Indi either.
    Complacency and arrogance are her greatest strenghs.
    Lets hop e you geta very big wake uo call on election day
    It is sorely needed

  5. Do we really have the world’s largest carbon tax? How can they really stop the boats. I’d be willing to bet that they cant. That letter is a stock standard cut/paste job with only the header being different for each electorate. I received one from Steve Irons in Swan with the exact same wording.

  6. I forgot to add a link about a new Facebook page to this piece – Letters about Sophie. In a few short days it has collected over 700 likes. https://www.facebook.com/lettersaboutsophie

  7. I’m having a similar issue with our LNP sitting member in Bowman, Qld – Andrew Laming MP – he just won’t come out of the woodwork.

    Kudos to you Wayne for fronting-up to Mirabella. I don’t feel like physically chasing a politician … something deep within me feels that my time would be better spent on those who are willing to speak to me, and all the others have been very gracious with their time.

    Something even deeper tells me that pollies have relied on journalist apathy for too long. Maybe I’ll reach a tipping point? Hiding from constituents is reprehensible.

    • Well I was there anyway so took the opportunity. I could have fronted here while she was alone in a local cafe a few weeks back but thought that was uncool. I guessed eventually there would be an appropriate opportunity, which it believe it was.

  8. UPDATE: McGowan’s campaign donations have now reach $53,283.40 of the $75,000 target.

  9. The letter you received from Mirabella is a standard template that has been used by other candidates. I live in the electorate of Bendigo and received a letter from the Liberal candidate that was almost identical. I uploaded it to Election Leaflets so you can compare: http://www.electionleaflets.org.au/leaflets/1306/.

    • Yes, the body of the letter is identical. The disregard for local issues by the Liberals may in part explain why a seats like Indi becomes vulnerable to independents. I will include your letter in my next seat update. Thanks for the tip :-)

  10. Why are they so obsessed with stopping boats? As we have no control over them until they are here why don’t the media correct the dimwits instead of pandering to them.

  11. here is the sting in the tail for the TAX FREE THRESHOLD, when the govt told you about how wonderful they were raising this, they didn’t tell you that at the same time they raised the amount of tax you pay to partially offset the increase the tax free threshhold. Now if abbott repeals the tax free threshold and puts it back to where it was without changing the tax rate back as well, then thats how he is funding. If he leaves the tax rate alone but changes the tax free threshold, he rakes in all that extra tax without having increased the tax rate. Kept his promise but you will be paying more. Sly bastard.