October 9th 2004

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Articles from this issue:

ELECTION 2004: Will Labor, Liberal big-spending promises swing voters?

EDITORIAL: Election auction ignores the real challenge

NATIONAL PARTY: John Anderson accused of misleading voters

EDUCATION: Behind Labor's church school 'hit list'

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The outlaw seas and international terrorism / Renaissance of Australian unionism?

FEDERAL ELECTION: Major parties gag candidates

BIOETHICS: Embryo research and the tooth fairy

MEDICINE: Coma arousal therapy: Dr Ted Freeman's treatment for PVS patients

DRUGS: Parents reject marijuana decriminalisation

AGEING: Wanted: Loving family to adopt 'granddad au pair'

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: End the UN political stand-off against Taiwan

CHINA: Hong Kong elections a clear win for democracy

INDIA: Secularism an absolute necessity for India

POLITICAL IDEAS: Ten principles of a property-owning democracy

Taiwan's exclusion from UN unjustified (letter)

Australia needs infrastructure (letter)

Time for men's policy (letter)

BOOKS: ANTI-AMERICANISM, by Jean-François Revel

BOOKS: THE EMPTY CRADLE, by Phillip Longman

Books promotion page

Major parties gag candidates

News Weekly, October 9, 2004
When Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper (Sept 28) surveyed major party candidates in 10 Victorian marginal seats on the hard questions of divorce, hospitals, interest rates, budget deficits and Iraq, they all parroted the party HQ script.

Nine of the 10 Labor candidates questioned sent identical pro-forma answers. Deputy Opposition Leader Jenny Macklin, the alternative Deputy Prime Minister, did not respond.

Liberal headquarters faxed a blanket response on behalf of all 10 Coalition candidates.

When the Herald Sun contacted some of the candidates, including sitting MPs, many did not know that their party HQ had replied on their behalf.

A Coalition spokesman told the newspaper, "These are Coalition candidates and their views are those of the Coalition."

ALP national campaign headquarters said its candidates were all members of the Labor Party and would have similar views.

The Herald Sun noted an historical irony: "It means voters have been barred from knowing their candidates' views on issues including interest rates, the war in Iraq, and hospitals ...

"The debacle smacks of the infamous gag order Jeff Kennett put on Liberal candidates before the 1999 state election, which became the single most decisive issue of a poll Mr Kennett narrowly lost."

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