Campaign trail e-trickery yields party site snafus

With election fever hotting up, operatives for political parties are turning to anonymously e-mailing tips to journalists about the errant behaviour of politicians' Web sites.

A person calling himself Winston Smith has e-mailed Computerworld and pointed out that a link from Labor IT shadow Senator Kate Lundy's Web site to Labor's IT industry policy on the main party site is broken and 404s.

Lundy has confirmed the glitch, explaining it as an oversight she was personally responsible for, having marked up her home page in a hurry. "We moved it, it's an old link and the path is different. I'll have to fix that when I get home. If [the Liberals] want to have a go at me about my site, their [IT minister's] site cost $4 million - my site I built myself," Lundy said.

A noted Open Source supporter, Lundy confessed she had built her site using Microsoft FrontPage and was "constantly frustrated" by the experience.

Meanwhile, Lundy's political nemesis and IT Minister Senator Helen Coonan's persistent barrage of election e-mail alerts still conspicuously sport the name of erstwhile IT Minister Daryl Williams on the opt-out URL.

Asked why the stationery had not yet been changed, a source close to the service said there had not yet been time, adding that suggestions that Coonan would not be hanging around post-election were "complete crap" and "utter desperation".

The latest round of e-trickery comes after a company belonging to the Prime Minister's son found its activities investigated under the Spam Act and Defence Minister Robert Hill found his press releases banned from the Department of Defence's e-mail system and Web site after accusations that partisan material was being distributed against caretaker government conventions.

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Julian Bajkowski

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