A Liberal MLA has been accused of handing out how to vote cards for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation as early voters cast their ballots in Esperance in Western Australia’s south.
Dr Graham Jacobs, who entered parliament in 2005, has represented the electorate of Eyre since 2008 and is standing for re-election in Saturday’s ballot.
At a polling station in Esperance, he was spotted handing out his own party’s how to vote cards – but also holding One Nation election material.
A witness at the pre-polling station at the Esperance Courthouse, who did not want to be named, said a number of voters were perplexed when he allegedly tried to hand them the One Nation cards.
“He’s the sitting MP so people know who he is,” the witness said.
A spokesperson for Mr Jacobs denied he was distributing One Nation how-to-vote cards to voters, or that it had anything to do with the preference deal.
“He was probably just having a look at it,” she said.
The Liberal party agreed to a controversial preference deal with the far-right minor party, which will see the party preference One Nation above the Nationals in the upper house country regions in exchange for support in all lower house seats.
Acting WA Nationals director Nathan Quigley said:”These are desperate and high-risk tactics. If this election doesn’t go well for the Liberals the architects of this preference deal will have a lot to answer for.”
A leaked internal poll for the Liberals shows the state government is in a “far worse” position than that shown by published surveys, which point to a Coalition loss on Saturday, and that the preference deal with One Nation is to blame.
A Liberal source said the dismal forecast for this weekend’s state election was the result of a major backlash to the Liberal Party’s preference deal with One Nation.
“Liberals want to be able to say we’re for stronger borders but we’re not racists,” the source said.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is in WA on a last ditch effort to invigorate support for her party, which has been plagued by infighting.
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