01 December 1999 Stephen Mayne Published December 1, 1999 Independent candidate Stephen Mayne today delivered the first major plank of his campaign to keep the big parties honest, denying preferences to Liberal and Labor in the seat of Burwood.
Launching his campaign in Camberwell today, Mayne said he would withhold preferences because of concerns about both major parties and to reinforce his independent credentials.
"Clearly, the big parties need to be kept in line by vigilant independents, and I'm sending a strong independent message."
Key parts of the Mayne campaign will be to expand his world-leading website strategy through www.jeffed.com and a letter drop to every household in the electorate.
He said there were strong arguments in favor of preferencing Labor, above and beyond the quality of the Liberal candidate.
"With the minority Labor government holding a knife-edge one seat majority, it could fall with one by-election or one member crossing the floor and that is not good for government stability in Victoria," he said.
"However, my Liberal background prevents me from preferencing Labor so this campaign will be focused on the merits of electing a fourth independent to Parliament."
"With a good knowledge of the previous government and lots of experience in business, the Parliament as a whole would benefit from having a city-based independent to complement the three existing rural-based independents."
"I am the only candidate able to deliver real power to the people of Burwood - why vote for someone destined to be a big party backbencher with no influence when you can vote for an independent who can join the three rural independents in an alliance that holds the balance of power?"
My Mayne said he had consulted with other successful and unsuccessful independents who advised not to preference either of the big parties and be perceived as a stooge.
"Labor said my preferences could give them the seat, but a split ticket is more appropriate given my strong Liberal philosophy," Mayne said.
'And with my main concern being Jeff Kennett, it is not appropriate to preference Labor after he has been ousted,' Mayne said.
Mayne also spelt out a number of key policy matters he will be unveiling in a six-page letter drop that will go to all 17,000 houses in the electorate.
Key broader policies include:
- Spending $3 billion buying Transurban back to save motorists paying up to $10 billion in tolls over the next 33 years: "The political, technological and engineering risks hurting Transurban make it an ideal time to strike before the share price soars as I believe it will over the next few years," Mayne said.
- A firm ethics policy, delivering transparency to Parliament. Candidates for election would have to undergo a probity test similar to those conducted by the Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority on those seeking a casino license. And the Parliamentary register of interest would be tightened to require much greater disclosure about the background, investments and affiliations of members and their immediate family. "I have already disclosed $30,000 worth of benefits I have received as a business journalist as an example of how this policy should work," Mayne said.
- A well-resourced, independent anti-corruption body should be established with an annual budget of more than $10 million. They would conduct the probity tests on would-be politicians and investigate any other corruption allegations by the public.
- The upper house should be abolished and replaced by a larger Lower House with better paid members. The better pay would attract higher-calibre candidates, in spite of the tougher ethical and qualifying environment.
Some of Mayne's policies specific to the electorate include curbing the growing market power of huge shopping centres like Chadstone and huge retailers like Coles Myer.
"Burwood probably has more strip shopping centres than any other seat in Melbourne and 24 hour trading plus huge shopping centres is hurting them."
Mayne supports former member Jeff Kennett in opposing the proposed name change from Burwood to Camberwell north of Toorak Rd and west of Warrigal Rd. "Both parties have now adopted a vote-grabbing strategy to support the name change but the former member was right in pointing out the lack of logic in it. The change could increase property prices for some and would set a precedent elsewhere for suburbs to adopts more fashionable and pricey names," he said. "If you don't live in Paris, you don't live in Paris."
With one of the highest accident rates in Victoria, managing road safety in the electorate when toll-dodgers flood the leafy streets is also a key issue.
Mayne said other Burwood-specific and general policies will be unveiled on www.jeffed.com over the next 11 days.
"As is detailed on www.jeffed.com, we believe the government should spend $2.5 billion now buying Transurban back to save motorists paying up to $10 billion in tolls over the next 33 years," Mayne said.
"Melbourne should never have been given the world's biggest tollroad leading to the world's biggest casino," Mayne said.
"And Labor's apparent decision to cuddle up to the Packers and their new toy, Crown Casino, indicates that the Kennett Government was not alone in playing political favorites, to the detriment of taxpayers.
"There is compelling evidence for a Royal Commission into the entire Casino saga - the stench emanating from Crown, the tender process and especially the deals done to entrench this huge monopoly, allowing Ron Walker and Lloyd Williams to double their money."
Mayne said his decision not to preference Labor was also influenced by a number of concerns including early signs they are going cool on their plan to save Waverley Park which was vital for family-affordable football to people in Burwood and the entire south-eastern corridor.
Stephen Mayne is a journalist, former Kennett Government staffer and the man who blew the whistle on the excesses of Vic Inc - before it was fashionable.
He is a former Business Editor of the Herald Sun, finance journalist for The Age and was press secretary to Treasurer Alan Stockdale, from 1992-94. He was chief of staff and Business Editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, and stepped down from his job as Rear Window columnist for the Australian Financial Review on 1 September to stand for the election before being ruled ineligible.
A keen tennis player, Stephen is a member of Willison Park Tennis Club, and played regular pennant tennis - including two wins over Melbourne's burgeoning Davis Cup star, Wayne Arthurs, and a narrow loss to Andrew Ilie (If you accept 6-2 6-4 as narrow.)
He grew up in Templestowe, lives in East Melbourne but has committed to move to the electorate if elected.
Stephen has a commerce degree from Melbourne University and glowing commendations from former Liberal Treasurer Alan Stockdale and the former Premier's media director Steve Murphy.
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