When less is more in political promises

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Ryan Sheales

Deputy Editor,
Election Watch

POLITICIANS ARE often accused of over promising and under delivering. But that can’t be said of the Liberal candidate in the federal Victorian seat of Jagajaga, Nick McGowan, who’s adopted a novel approach to election campaign promises.


The former staffer of former Victorian Premier Ted Bailleu is distributing a flyer to would-be constituents telling them what he won’t do for them.


“A lot of politicians promise you what they will do, here is what I will not do,” the leaflet trumpets.


The unique message certainly grabs your attention, which is the first hurdle for any successful political pamphlet.


Click image to enlarge. (Credit: electionleaflets.org.au)
So did McGowan not get Liberal HQ’s memo about positivity and ‘Real Solutions’?  Don’t bet on it.


The ensuing dot points are — perhaps predictably — attacks on the performance of the sitting Labor MP, Jenny Macklin. Double negatives abound, as McGowan pledges not to “forget”, “ignore”, “stay silent” or “back away” from key issues.


“For too long Jagajaga has been seen by Labor as an electorate it can afford to ignore,” the leaflet concludes.


In an election year voters are subjected to a steady avalanche of political material. A lot of it ends up in the bin.


This pamphlet is an example of parties thinking creatively about producing campaign material voters might actually read.