Sprint to the line in Menzies, support Turnbull, pokies, robo-calls, volunteers, scrutineering and then some

July 1, 2016

Dear Mayne Report readers,

After running a high energy $50,000 campaign in Menzies against Kevin Andrews, we're really excited about polling day tomorrow and had a great event last night with more than 50 volunteers at the Templestowe RSL.

Campaign t-shirts and tens of thousands of these How To Vote Cards are now in the hands of volunteers who will fan out across 30 Menzies booths as we push hard to finish ahead of the Greens, inflict one of the 10 biggest swings against a sitting Liberal MP and send Kevin Andrews' primary vote down into the 40s, from 59% last time around.

We'd love another 10 volunteers to help tag team the bigger booths and provide relief in the afternoon so email volunteers@maynereport.com if you fancy getting on the Mayne train for a final incursion into the extreme right wing Abbott faction's occupation of Menzies in normally progressive Melbourne. Alternatively, text or call me today on 0412 106 241. For the politically engaged, one good option would be a late afternoon shift going into scrutineering before heading to the Templestowe Bowls Club. Send the online version of this update to any friends who might be interested in getting involved.

The feedback at early voting has been terrific and the name recognition is getting stronger with each day as the campaign gains traction, especially after Wednesday night's 27,000 telephone messages (see more below).

We were sitting on 7.3% of the vote in this Reachtel poll way back on June 13, before our main campaign initiatives had been rolled out and feel like we are now into double figures. Thanks to Labor and Greens preferences, the winning scenario comes into play with a primary vote above 15%, provided Kevin's primary is below 45%.

We'd love to have a better read on this, however, after attempting to commission a second Reachtel last weekend, we kept getting bumped by someone else using Reachtel to poll Menzies over multiple nights. Who has an incentive to lock-up Reachtel so we can't get into the field late in the campaign? Hmmm. Surely not the panicking Libs?

Why Turnbull deserves more support

All of the major newspapers have editorialised in favour of Malcolm Turnbull today and this is good to see. He has run a strong and disciplined campaign around jobs and growth and deserves support, just with a few less nasty right wing extremists in his party room going forward.

Kevin Andrews is an Abbott loyalist with a long record of undermining Malcolm Turnbull, so the key message on polling booths in Menzies tomorrow is "Support Malcolm Turnbull, vote for Stephen Mayne".

No one has ever overtly tried a campaign like this in Melbourne before challenging a factional opponent of a popular Liberal Prime Minister.

There are many moderates in the Liberal Party who hope this message prevails.

Pokies re-emerge as a last week campaign issue

After hearing about this story in The Age last week that pokies behemoth Clubs NSW gave another $10,000 to Kevin Andrews' campaign fundraising vehicle in 2015, we changed one of the negative messages on our How To Vote Cards to:
"Kevin and his campaign team took $40,000 in tainted pokies-industry money".

Our Reachtel poll early in the campaign revealed that 74% of voters in Menzies don't think politicians should accept donations from the pokies industry. We'll find out tomorrow how strongly they feel about this.

We also got a new version of our election day t-shirt which finishes with "PS I hate pokies" as you can see below (apologies he's leaning left due to a system glitch) with our gun early voting booth worker Philip Mayne who jags lots of votes by standing at the top of the stairs with a big smile and declaring "Vote for my dad".

Updating a wide range of policy positions

We haven't only run a negative campaign against Kevin Andrews, as can be seen by this $50 million local infrastructure plan for Menzies that will be front and centre in any hung parliament scenario. You get lots of surveys and queries during an election campaign where you are required to state your position on a particular policy area.

The two candidate forums also covered a wide variety of topics so we've put together this package which outlines the policies we've initiated plus our positions on everything form Safe Schools to guns, the GST, Brexit and superannuation taxes.

There aren't a lot of other independent or minor candidates who get into this many policy topics.

Transparent campaigning: this is what we've done

The comprehensive Menzies campaign has only been possible courtesy of the generosity of our donors, led by Paul Bendat, who have contributed almost $38,000 to the cause as you can see on this unusually honest and open online donations register.

If you fancy celebrating the beginning of the new financial year with a last minute contribution that will help boost our execution tomorrow and fund our post-election function at the Templestowe Bowls Club tomorrow night, follow the links at the top of the donations register.

In keeping with the philosophy of running the most transparent campaign of anyone in this Federal election, here is an outline of what we have done over the past 8 weeks.

Saturday, May 7
The Age broke the story of tilt

Mayne Report special edition announcing tilt

Called for Kevin Andrews to quit - Sky News interview

Follow up to Sky interview after tilt announced - AAP

Distributed flyers outside Abbott-Andrews fundraiser at Menzies pokies venue

Monday, May 9
Explaining the Menzies campaign for Crikey

Wednesday, May 11
Interview with Tim Shaw on challenge to Kevin Andrews

Rear Window piece in The AFR about cranky Frank Lowy at Westfield AGM

Opening meeting with the Greens on preferences

Thursday, May 12

Flew to Sydney for Westfield AGM to push political donations reform, interviewed by Four Corners.

Friday, May 13
Interview with Tom Elliott on 3AW about councillors running federally

Audit transparency reforms approved at City of Melbourne.

City of Melbourne motion at MAV state council calling for a Federal ICAC passes with chair's casting vote.

Monday, May 16
Outlining the scenario in Menzies if hung parliament - Crikey

Letter in The Manningham Leader about sacked Kevin Andrews staffer, plus two negative stories on Kevin's branch stacking and the homophobic flyer distributed at his Abbott fundraiser.

Tuesday, May 17
Supportive blog post by former BRW reporter Leo D'Angelo Fisher

Flew to Sydney for ASA AGM where comfortably elected to board

Wednesday, May 18
AFR Rear Window piece on Abbott and Kevin Andrews fundraiser at Veneto Club

Thursday, May 19

Attended Greens branch meeting, heavy arguments over policies and preferences

Saturday, May 21
Meeting with residents at Sovereign Point about traffic problems around Westfield

Monday, May 23
Mayne Report email edition on Menzies campaign and Four Corners

Appeared on Four Corners commenting on political donations.

Can Four Corners kick-start some campaign finance reform? - Crikey

Tuesday, May 24
Interview with Tim Shaw on 2CC about political donations

Mayne Report email update to campaign donors and supporters

Thursday, May 26
Disclosing donations online, but will Kevin Andrews match this? - Crikey

Completed 3000-word City of Manningham budget submission outlining $50m Federal plan for Menzies after years of neglect.

Friday, May 27
Meeting with CEO of Doncare, the biggest charity in Menzies

Monday, May 30
Advice for James Mathison on how to beat Tony Abbott in Warringah - Crikey

Article in The Manningham Leader on competition for Kevin

Studio interview with Radio National about political donations

Tuesday, May 31
Mayne Report campaign update

Interview on 774 ABC Melbourne with Jon Faine about candidates betting on the Federal election

Thursday, June 2
Speech about Menzies campaign to politics students at Whitefriars College in Donvale.

Saturday, June 4
Mayne Report campaign update

Press conference on pokies with Nick Xenophon and Tim Costello run live on ABC News 24

Monday, June 6
Crikey story and piece in The Australian about this full page ad bumped to p20 of The Manningham Leader

Manningham Leader on Doncaster Rail positions

Tuesday, June 7
Cash rolls in for "true liberal" in Menzies - The Age

Full page ad in The Warrandyte Diary

Friday, June 10
Mayne Report campaign update as nominations close

Ballot draw day and lots of action in Menzies - Crikey

Monday, June 13
Herald Sun story on Robert Doyle's supportive statement

Thursday, June 16
Email update to campaign supporters

Friday, June 17
Mayne Report campaign update, AAP piece on Kevin's sign attack, also mentioned on The Australian's live election blog.

Saturday, June 18
Attended PM's Olympic Dinner catching up with lots of moderate Liberals

Sunday, June 19
Radio National Background Briefing feature on political donations

Monday, June 20
AFR Rear Window piece on catch up with Julie Bishop

Crikey piece
on PM's Olympic dinner

Two hour forum with all 8 candidates at Doncaster Church of Christ

Tuesday, June 21

Flew to Canberra for ALGA where Melbourne motion supporting a Federal ICAC passed

Guy Rundle piece for Crikey after candidate's forum

Interviewed by Peter Van Onselen on Sky News

Roy Morgan press release suggesting promising support in Menzies

Thursday, June 23
Michael Kroger writes to The Manningham Leader

Friday, June 24
Crikey story on "Fake Liberal" battle with Michael Kroger

Sunday, June 26
Two hour discussion on RRR's The Party Show with Tom Elliott and Patrick Durkin

Monday, June 27
Mayne Report campaign update

Full page ad in The Manningham Leader and Kroger stoush appears in print

Wonga Park candidates forum with neither Labor or Liberal fronting up

Tuesday, June 28
The Age reports Kevin Andrews has taken another $10,000 from Clubs NSW

Wednesday, June 29
Recorded telephone message connected to 27,678 land lines in Menzies

Thursday, June 30
Volunteers function at the Templestowe RSL.

Friday, June 30
Final Mayne Report update and busy day at early voting

In addition to all of that we've also done the following during the campaign:

# Distributed two full electorate flyers to 42,000 households at a total cost of $10,000.

# Purchased 400 corflutes and had a bigger presence than any other candidate

# Barely missed a minute of coverage at the main booth for 15 days of early voting

# Taken out four full page ads in the local papers

# Commissioned a Reachtel poll which revealed pokies donations were on the nose and Turnbull is heavily preferred over Abbott 79-21.

# Called a total of 37,660 numbers, of which 27,678 were connected. 16,538 picked up the phone and 10,115 went to voicemail.

# Mailed hundreds of personally addressed and signed letter from Paula to female voters

Inside the workings of a robo-call blitz in Menzies

Recorded telephone messages are one of those dark political arts which political parties practice but few ever talk about. We decided to give it a go, but have also elected to disclose the inside workings of what we did.

Between 4.30pm and 8.30pm on Wednesday night, we commissioned Sydney-based firm Lonergan Research to call a total of 37,660 landline numbers in the seat of Menzies with this 53 second recorded message and a shorter 25 second message for those which went to voicemail.

However, only 27,678 of these calls connected, with 10,000 ringing out. Of those which did connect, 16,538 calls were picked up and a further and 10,115 went to voicemail where a shorter 25 second message was played. The average listen time was 36.6 seconds for those who picked up the call, which went exclusively to land lines, including residential and businesses.

We were only able to do this $3300 robo-call exercise after receiving more than $38,000 worth of donations to the campaign against Kevin Andrews, so the cost came out at about 12c for each connected call.

The response has been very interesting. We were warned to expect lots of abusive calls so we went with our daughter Alice's little-used mobile for the call-backs and changed her voice mail message.

At first, a few abusive messages were left but then I started answering the calls and it was a much better experience engaging with more than 50 voters and discussing the issues.

Quite a few voters were pleased that someone was finally taking an interest in Menzies.

There were also a few complaints from people upset about being woken up (a shift working nurse), having their dinner interrupted, concerned I was trying to make money from them or blaming me for every Manilla marketing call they've received in recent years.

Some complained about the negativity, but everything we said was factual: Kevin doesn't live in Menzies, his campaigns are funded by Clubs NSW and he is an Abbott loyalist who does undermine Malcolm Turnbull.

The call generated a good deal of Facebook discussion in Menzies, but we won't know if it worked until we get the results on Saturday night.

How record early voting numbers have rolled out in Menzies

The main early voting centre in Menzies has been getting steadily busier and we are now headed for more than 15,000 early votes in the seat.

About 10,000 of these will be cast at the main early voting centre at the Manningham Uniting Church on Andersons Creek Rd in East Doncaster.

There have already been an additional 4500 ballots cast at the four other Menzies early voting centres in neighbouring seats.

Here is what the AEC website discloses about early voting numbers at the main East Doncaster early voting centre over the first 13 days of the ridiculously long 15 days of early voting in this cold winter election. With two days to go the total was already 7341:

Tuesday, June 14
303: Wednesday, June 15
335: Thursday, June 16
436: Friday, June 17
432: Monday, June 20
432: Tuesday, June 21
414: Wednesday, June 22
462: Thursday, June 23
610: Friday, June 24
809: Saturday, June 25
948: Monday, June 27
947: Tuesday, June 28
1310: Wednesday, June 29
???: Thursday, June 30
????: Friday, July 1

A big thanks to Len, Vivienne, Dawn, Maria, Terence, Ron, Charles, Lisa, Paula, Laura, Venetia, Alice, Philip, Rohan, Gabi and Anne and for their great work on early voting so far. Len in particular has been an absolute legend, working virtually every day. The same goes for Doug and Rosemary who will be running the Wonga Park booth on Saturday but have also looked after the Ringwood pre-poll centre every day this week and helped organise the Wonga Park candidates forum last Monday night.

Links to other Menzies campaign coverage

Finally, here are links to other campaign material on our main website:

What voters in Menzies say about Kevin Andrews

A true Liberal explains why Kevin is a fake Liberal

Media coverage of Menzies tilt

Manningham budget submission: the $50m of Federal support we need

What people say about Stephen Mayne

Real time disclosure of donations received

Ranking the Menzies booths

We've put together this list of the top 20 Menzies booths from 2013 ranked in order of how Liberal they are, so our volunteers get a sense of the demographics in their booth. The data below represents two party preferred support for the Liberals after the distribution of preferences:

Wonga Park Primary School: 1539 votes and 73.12% Liberal

Park Orchards Community Centre: 1692 votes and 71.92% Liberal

Whitefriars College, Donvale: 901 votes and 71.66% Liberal

Manningham United Church East Doncaster pre-poll: 6449 votes and 69.44% Liberal

Templestowe Park Primary School: 2031 votes and 69.4% Liberal

Milgate (Our Lady of The Pines): 2242 votes and 68.66% Liberal

Serpell Primary School: 2884 votes and 68.16% Liberal

Onemda - The Pines: 2501 votes and 67.37% Liberal

Yarra Rd Primary School: 1791 votes and 67.21% Liberal

Templestowe Uniting Church: 1556 votes and 65.1% Liberal

North Ringwood Primary School: 1550 primary votes and 64.71% Liberal

Warranwood Primary School: 2411 votes and 63.32% Liberal

Croydon Hills Primary School: 2511 votes and 63.06% support

St Peters and Paul Church East Doncaster: 1531 votes and 62.85% Liberal

Templestowe Heights Primary School: biggest booth with 4132 votes and 60.67% Liberal.

Beverley Hills Primary: 2102 votes and 59.48% Liberal

Warrandyte Primary School: 2157 votes and 58.16% Liberal

Doncaster Gardens Primary: 1564 votes and 57.74% Liberal

Lower Templestowe (Bulleen Heights Manningham Rd campus): 1346 votes and 58.68% Liberal.

Bulleen Heights Primary (Pleasant Rd campus): 2348 votes and 58.15% Liberal

Once again, if you fancy lending us a hand, have a think about where you'd like to go and drop us a line to volunteers@maynereport.com.

We haven't put any volunteering effort into appointing scrutineers as yet, but if that is something you'd like to experience, it would work well to close a booth at 6pm and then step straight into scrutineering.

Finishing off a robust but politely conducted campaign

We've gone in hard but also endeavoured to run a clean campaign in Menzies. Not one Kevin sign has been touched by anyone associated with our campaign and we certainly won't be removing any polling booth material when our positive "true liberal" corflutes are erected tonight and tomorrow morning. Here's hoping all the other campaign teams play by the same rules.

The "Fake Liberal" corflutes won't be making an appearance tomorrow as we finish on a more positive note.

Kevin and his booth workers have certainly been immaculately polite at early voting and the main candidates forum was also conducted in good spirits so here's hoping we can get through the next 36 hours in the same spirit of goodwill as we celebrate the great tradition of democratic competition, choice and freedom of expression.

That's all for now. We'll be back with a post-election wrap before midnight on Monday, which is when the official leave of absence from City of Melbourne concludes.

Do ya best, Stephen Mayne

* The Mayne Report is an email newsletter and website which promotes transparency and good governance in the corporate, political and media worlds. It is published by Stephen Mayne, the founder of Crikey.com, shareholder advocate, ASA director and City of Melbourne councillor. To unsubscribe from this email list, click here. Authorised by Stephen Mayne, 90 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000.