Murdoch ‘ruperter’, Elias Visontay, has written a piece about Rob Oakeshott possibly returning to the cut and thrust of federal politics by contesting the seat of Cowper1, which is on the north coast of New South Wales and includes the towns of Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Macksville and Nambucca Heads2. However, this Visontay piece is not designed simply to relate the possibility of Oakeshott’s running. It is designed to damage his chances of winning against whoever replaces retiring Nationals member Luke Hartsuyker, who defeated Oakeshott in 2016. You can tell that it is designed to damage Oakeshott’s chances, because the headline of the article reads “Rob Oakeshott weighs return to politics, for love or money”, and in the first paragraph it states that the return to politics “could net him tens of thousands of dollars in public funding”. In the next paragraph, it said that his unsuccessful run in 2016 “earned the former independent $71,477 in election funding”1.
This is designed to make the knuckle-dragging readers of the Australian resentful of someone ‘making’ such an enormous amount of money by just running for office. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, Oakeshott revealed he had spent about $52,000 on his campaign and that, any leftover would go towards the next campaign1. Oakeshott had previously held the seat of Lyne, the seat immediately south of Cowper3.
Way down in the second last sentence of the article, Visontay states that election funding is given to all candidates who receive at least 4% of the primary vote in an election, but no further details are given1. In fact, the rate of public funding is currently 273.454 cents per first preference vote4. Therefore, Dave Sharma, the unsuccessful Liberal candidate in the recent Wentworth by-election, who, at the time of writing has 32,348 first preference votes, will therefore receive $88,456.90 as a result of this public funding. One presumes that this will go to the Liberal Party, rather than into Sharma’s personal bank account.
Of course, the Murdoch media will not report this sort of detail, as it does not suit their narrative of almost uncritical support for the Coalition, despite the constant string of fiascos perpetrated by the Morrison government.