Anti-pokies campaigner Nick Xenophon says the bigger parties are out to get him, and urged Liberal and Labor to fess up to a ‘dirty’ preference deal, ahead of the July 2 election.
Xenophon has long been an outspoken critic of pokies (both online pokies and real life games) and the problem gamblers they attract, which has made him a target for some financial heavyweights like the Australian Hotels Association.
With Xenophon forming the Nick Xenophon Team to contest the election and some polls suggesting they could be in line to win as many as three seats in the senate, the bigger parties are preparing to dig their heels in to stop these upstarts from stealing seats off them.
Xenophon, in a press release, said he was concerned that in return for the Liberals preferencing Labor ahead of the Greens in Victoria, Liberal and Labor will combine forces to preference each other in South Australia, in order order to protect sitting Liberals Jamie Briggs (Mayo) and Christopher Pyne (Sturt).
“Both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten need to tell Australians whether they are prepared to do a dirty deal with each other, to exclude a party of the political centre. If they do, they are betraying their core supporters with such a cynical move.” the South Australian independent senator said.
“If major companies were behaving like this in the corporate world, the ACCC would be raiding their offices and mounting a prosecution for collusion and abuse of market power.”
Xenophon said his party, shorted to NXT, was maintaining its position to run open tickets for all seats, but reserved the right to revisit that position if the major parties do this deal.
“We’re being up-front by publishing our How to Vote cards on our nxt.org.au website. It’s about time the major parties did the same,” he said.
The Liberal and Labor parties are both expected to announce where their preferences will be headed in the coming days, but both are keen to avoid the prospect of having a minority government in power.