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Priestly warns against election misinformation

Warning: Independent candidate for Nicholls Rob Priestly has warned against misinformation in the upcoming federal election. Photo by Contributed

Independent candidate for Nicholls Rob Priestly has warned voters to be ready for the major parties to unleash a barrage of campaign misinformation in the lead-up to the federal election.

The warning follows multiple polls indicating that the contest is already tight, and momentum building for Mr Priestly two months from polling day.

“They’re certainly very worried about losing Nicholls, and will become increasingly desperate as the campaign gets into full swing,” he said.

“The Coalition won’t be letting go of this seat lightly, and I’m expecting them to pull out a campaign of misinformation like we’ve never seen before in Nicholls. They are masters of negative campaigning and will reach deep into the bag of dirty tricks to get the result they want.”

He flagged two issues on which the misinformation would be most prominent.

“People will be told that I’m a Labor stooge and that I’m being financially supported by groups like Climate 200 or GetUp. These things aren’t true, but the Coalition will hope that if they throw enough mud at least some of it will stick,” Mr Priestly said.

“The truth is that I’m the son of dairy farmers from Katandra and a businessman, and I’m running because I want to change the way this region is represented in Canberra.

“I’m also not taking money from people or groups outside the electorate. My supporters live here and run businesses here, and they are motivated for change. It’s a real grassroots movement.”

Mr Priestly acknowledged that political misinformation was part of modern political campaigning, but he wouldn’t be buying into the same approach.

“In business, you can’t tell lies to consumers or the ACCC will come after you. Unfortunately, there are no such restrictions in politics. The major parties will say whatever they think they need to in order to win the election,” he said.

“I want to bring a higher standard to politics. Our approach will be to talk about the positive things that can come from voting for a credible alternative to the major parties. This region is full of opportunity, but we need to have our voice heard in Canberra if we’re going to be able to seize those opportunities.

“Voting for a well-qualified independent candidate is the only way government is going to get the message.”