QUEENSLAND STATE ELECTION:
The Queensland LNP’s state election campaign is in tatters after the Queensland Electoral Commission late yesterday slapped it with a multi-million dollar fine for exceeding strict advertising expenditure rules.
The independent QEC fined the LNP $3.2 million, the amount it says the Opposition has now overspent in recent months, not just since the 31 October poll was called last Tuesday.
The overspend is based on the amount the QEC estimates the Qld LNP and Deb Frecklington and her team should have paid for various “placements” in News Corp publications over many weeks now, including the Courier and Sunday Mails in Brisbane, the Cairns Post and the Townsville and the Gold Coast Bulletins.
An QEC insider told The Bug: “The QEC’s investigation was sparked by three bites the LNP enjoyed over the same story in yesterday’s Sunday Mail (at top).
“They weren’t news stories in any way, shape or form; they were cream-puff political propaganda pieces that the LNP knows full well they should have paid standard advertising rates for.
“The QEC spent some time yesterday calibrating what the LNP should have paid for such placements, including the Sunday before’s real doozey over Deb Frecklington’s four-lane Bruce Highway plan (at right).
“We’re often talking front page or early news pages here with their huge loadings.
“It came to just over $4 million, and that’s put the LNP over its advertising expenditure limit by the $3.2 million on which that fine is based.”
Media experts believe it’s now going to be hard for Newscorp editors to execute their brief from Rupert Murdoch to “get rid of that corrupt socialist Labor government led by that callous, heartless, cynical, barren woman!”.
One explained: “For weeks now, the LNP’s Bowen Hills branch has been given the exclusive drop on some policy announcement by the LNP; it splashes a glowing, uncritical story as promised ahead of the actual announcement that day and then a lazy, rightwing electronic media see the morning’s print-media coverage, thinks ‘shit, this must be big news’ and gives the announcement a second major lift on radio and then again at night on the TV news.
“We’ve got no idea how the two Brisbane monopoly mastheads and those regional rags are going to react to this if they’re forced to try real balanced and ethical journalism for the remaining two and a half weeks of the campaign.”
Late last night, Courier editor Chris Jones and Sunday Mail editor Kelvin Healey were trying to work out a way forward and contributing columnists Des Houghton and Peter Gleeson were spotted on the concourse outside the entrance to the News Queensland building sobbing quietly and embracing each other for comfort as they realise they might have to register with the Electoral Commission of Queensland as third parties for electoral donation purposes and give more thought to their writings instead of just rattling off some risible, rightwing rubbish.
Editor’s note: The Bruce Highway collage above was provided by a Kevin Rudd; he’s from Queensland and we’re glad he could help.