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Seniors told they don't need to vote in Batman bi-election

The by-election for the federal seat of Batman was marred by a last-minute scandal on Saturday, with reports elderly voters received phone calls telling them they did not have to vote.

In response, Labor launched a phone call and SMS blitz urging senior voters to attend polling centres.

A campaign spokesman decried the move.

"Lying to elderly people is as low as it gets," he said.

"We're encouraging all Batman residents to ignore these dirty tricks and exercise their right to vote."

The electorate has a high proportion of elderly voters, who are traditionally more supportive of Labor.

Labor has declared victory in the Batman by-election, upsetting the Greens who were the favourites to win the inner-Melbourne seat and have now conceded defeat.

Former ACTU president Ged Kearney was on track to defeat the Greens' Alex Bhathal, with the ALP winning back voters from the Greens in the southern part of the electorate.

The by-election was triggered by the resignation of David Feeney, who was unable to find documents proving he was not a foreign citizen.

The seat in Melbourne's inner-north takes in trendy suburbs such as Northcote and Clifton Hill, and stretches to Preston and Reservoir further north.

It was once a Labor heartland, but gentrification has changed the demographics of the area.

The Greens campaign focused on Queensland's Adani coal mine project and Australia's refugee policies, however Ms Bhathal told ABC radio housing was the number one concern of voters across the electorate.

Her campaign had been marred by internal party leaks, alleging bullying.

The Australian Electoral Commission says more than 16,500 people cast an early vote, with another 14,500 registering for a postal vote.

Source: ABC


Andre Rieu Supports Bushfire Appeal

Following the unprecedented success of his debut Australian concert tour in November / December 2008 and his DVD “André Rieu Live in Australia”, which became the fastest selling music DVD in Australian history (and is still No. 1 on the ARIA Motorola DVD charts), André Rieu has created a song to raise money for Australians affected by recent disasters. 

Moved by the terrible events that have overtaken Australia in the last two weeks, Andre felt compelled to assist in the best way he knew how, through his music. The single ‘Yours Forever’, an inspiring and calming instrumental piece, written and performed by André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra, will go on sale Wednesday February 18, with all proceeds going to The Red Cross Disaster Appeal.

André’s sincere message is simple; “I have watched with great sadness in my heart the natural disasters that have engulfed your country, and my thoughts are with each of you”.

“I have always considered Australia to be my second home and I’d like to help in the best way that I can, through music. I believe music has a power to heal like nothing else and I’d like nothing more than to ease the sorrow of the wonderful people in this beautiful land”.

“In the hope it will provide some comfort and relief, I give to you all my song ‘Yours Forever’. May it bring you hope and may it strengthen your spirit.”

The CD single ‘Yours Forever’ will be available from participating music outlets from February 18. All proceeds from sales of the single will go to the Red Cross to assist the victims of the 2009 bushfires.

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