ANDREW Wilkie upped the ante in his battle to hold Denison yesterday, taking on the parties over preference deals and sparking an advertising war.
One prominent Labor sign suggesting the Southern independent would support Liberal leader Tony Abbott if re-elected was lampooned by Mr Wilkie with a new sign of his own reading "A big fat Labor lie!"
While Mr Wilkie won the battle of the billboards yesterday, he looked rattled by ongoing preference discussions that could make it harder for him to win the Hobart-based seat.
He lashed out at ongoing scuttlebutt suggesting both Labor and the Greens could preference each other in a "grubby preference deal", making his election more challenging.
"I'm concerned that we're likely to see a strange outcome in the seat of Denison given the way some parties are talking to other parties," Mr Wilkie said, seemingly oblivious to his 2010 win with just 21 per cent of the vote.
Former Greens leader Bob Brown, who is co-ordinating Greens preferences, suggested South Australian senator and fellow pokies campaigner Nick Xenophon was conducting preference negotiations on Mr Wilkie's behalf.
"I find it really strange that I had Nick Xenophon saying to me that I won't give you favour in South Australia unless you go open ticket for Andrew Wilkie," Dr Brown said.
"That's Andrew's right, but don't call other people grubby or liars."
Dr Brown did concede that "there is a greater complementarity between the parties" when asked if it made sense for Labor and the Greens to preference each other in Denison.
Mr Wilkie said Mr Xenophon was not authorised to negotiate his preferences.