Libs defend robocalls, say they 'save costs'

THE Liberal Party has defended deploying robocalls to Rosevears voters on Tuesday night, which said incumbent MLC Kerry Finch was ``just like the Greens''.

Liberal Party state director Sam McQuestin said sending out the pre-recorded messages was a cost-effective way to communicate with the electorate.

``Given the very tight spending limits imposed on Legislative Council election campaigns we do the best with what we can,'' Mr McQuestin said.

``Robocalls are just one of the platforms we are using to deliver an important message: that he (Kerry Finch) votes in lock-step with the Greens.''

Mr Finch slammed the robocalls as a ''personal and vicious'' attack.

He said sending the automated message was a ``bizarre tactic'' used by a Liberal Party team desperate to manufacture a chink in his armour.

``I'm insulted by the fact the Liberals have suggested I'm influenced by a political party,'' Mr Finch said.

``I vote as a fierce independent and have never drawn a correlation with the way I vote and what's happening with any party.''

Liberal candidate Don Morris rejected claims the calls were part of a smear campaign waged against Mr Finch.

``It's not attacking his character - it's attacking his voting record,'' Mr Morris said.

``This is an issues-based campaign, not one about personalities.''

Mr Morris conceded he was ``not a huge fan'' of robocalls, but defended their use in his campaign.

``I supported the state director's decision to use them on the basis of getting factual information out to the largest number of people,'' he said.

Political scientist Richard Herr said he had ``profound reservations'' about the use of robocalls.

``Robocalls appeal more to your sentiments and prejudices than your rationality,'' Dr Herr said.

``While I know and respect both candidates, I think political minders who run these sorts of political games do not contribute to the rational, informed vote that a democracy requires to work properly.''

Mr McQuestin said he would not be organising any more robocalls in the lead-up to Saturday's election.

Liberal Party state director Sam McQuestin

Liberal Party state director Sam McQuestin

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