Come clean on preference deal

Greens candidate for Newcastle, Michael Osborne today called on ‘Independent’ candidate, John Tate to give a clear, unqualified and public commitment that if elected, he would remain an Independent for the duration of the 2007-2011 term.
Mr Osborne said: “John Tate’s preference deal with Sydney Labor raises questions about his affinity with the ALP. He needs to come clean about the degree of his real independence.”
Both the major parties have directed preferences to John Tate.
“I have been told that the only reason that Mr Tate is not the endorsed Sydney Labor candidate for Newcastle is that ALP private polling last year found his dissatisfaction rating had skyrocketed from 4% to 46% after his long dalliance with the ALP,” said Mr Osborne.
“Mr Tate has claimed that he rejected the ALP because of his heartfelt sympathy with the party rank-and-file and a desire not to deprive them of a preselection. And yet, he wasn’t concerned about the Labor Party members in Maitland when he agreed to consider Iemma’s offer of a consolation prize of Sydney Labor endorsement in that seat.
“He abandoned the Maitland idea only when Peter Blackmore announced he was standing and he knew he couldn’t beat him.
“To even consider the Maitland offer in an area he has no residency or credibility shows the ruthlessness of Tate, Iemma and the Sydney Labor machine.
“For the past 3 years, Mr Tate has been saying that the only way to get results for Newcastle was as a cabinet member. Ideology wasn’t on Mr Tate’s radar screen – just a seat in the cabinet room.
“Now he is saying that the way to influence governments is as an Independent. Just what are the voters expected to believe?” asked Michael Osborne.
Morris Iemma publicly expressed regret that Mr Tate wasn’t on his team and expressed a desire to have him as part of a future Labor team – in other words the door is open.
“My experience with Cr Tate on Council is that it is often very hard to pin him down to express a clear point of view or commitment. He wants to be elected as an Independent. The community is entitled to an unequivocal commitment that he won’t jump ship if he is elected and that he will remain a real independent.”

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