I have been struck during this election campaign by just how much advertising there has been in my local seat of Swan. It possibly has a lot to do with the fact that the (Liberal) incumbent won by 164 votes at the 2007 federal election and redistribution of the seats had made it notionally a Labor seat.
We have been inundated by paper in the mailbox since the election was called. Steve Irons has been the worst offender with constant bombardments and Tim Hammond also did not leave us completely alone, his leaflets including photos of him as a child!
I have been noticing posters in the most random places for Mr Irons, including trailers on my way to the busstop and opposite the local primary school, banners on balconies and posters in neighbours' gardens and in front of local shops. Yesterday morning there were also three keen youths waving the Irons message on the side of the road to passing communters! In comparison Mr Hammond has been somewhat MIA in my immediate locality.
One thing that struck me whilst waiting in line to cast my vote was the difference in the approach to advertising the candidates of the two major parties. The Labor candidate was outnumbered in posters by his leader, and even by their "scary" posters of the Liberal leader! I was not sure who we were meant to be voting for. The Liberal candidate on the other hand was definitely trying to sell his own brand and most of the posters were him, with the occasional reference to his leader. (Labor actually had more photos of TA around than the Liberals did.)
I think that one aspect that works in the favour of the local MP is that he has kept his profile up in the community during the three years since he was elected. There are usually several articles about his involvement in the community in the local paper and he puts a regular newsletter in the post to let you know what he has been up to. The cynic in me says that this is part and parcel for being the elected member in a marginal seat although I would hope that you would get this commitment in a safe seat as well.
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