Sunday, June 26, 2005


Federal Election Mystery???

In the lead-up to the 2004 Federal Election, Liberal candidate for Swan, Andrew Murfin, made the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Readers may recall Murfin was embroiled in a scandal where allegedly bogus letters were submitted to local newspapers. One in particular that was critical of Labor incumbent Kim Wilkie, was published in the name of 87 year-old Emily Dickman.

Apparently Dickman was a member of the Liberal Party branch where Murfin was the President. (apparently she was also one of a swag of members transferred into the South Perth branch to knock out that branch after it had been hijacked by an aspiring candidate under the questionable guidance of the branch Vice-president)

Ms Dickman at times claimed no knowledge of any letter and that Murfin had written it for her. Murfin denied any knowledge of the letter or of any letter campaign.

The Liberal strategy was to deny everything, lay low and let the whole affair blow over.
Despite a huge swing against Labor in almost every other electorate in the country, Murfin failed to win the seat by around 110 votes.

Given the very slender margin, a recount would ordinarily be automatic however the Australian Electoral Commission refused Murfin's request for a recount( In any event it is sufficiently unusual to be newsworthy.

Curiously this received virtually no coverage in local media. It was reported on the Brisbane Courier Mail website but apparently not in The West Australian. Despite the obvious contradiction highlighted by the link above, there was no mention on any local TV news programs nor on any local radio news heard by the author at the time.

One possible reason for the AEC to refuse a recount would be if there were something that would prevent Murfin from taking up his seat if he were elected. From the link, it is apparent that the AEC provided reasons for the refusal to Murfin but were not prepared to divulge those reasons to the general public.

As the AEC says, Murfin is free to make the reasons public if he chooses. It seems he has chosen to keep them to himself.

Now ordinarily one would think that someone with Murfin's talent for disaster would be dropped like a hot potato. However Murfin continues to enjoy strong support from persons in positions of power in the Liberal Party in Western Australia. One report says Murfin has the 100% support of a well-known Federal member if he wants yet another shot at getting into Parliament.

Murfin could well re-appear as a future Liberal candidate for a prize Liberal seat, or he could throw his support behind a close friend with political aspirations and similar talents to his own.

Can anyone shed any light on this mystery?

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