By Matt Wordsworth

rees21The New South Wales National Party is under investigation for registering the website

The web is set to play its most prominent role yet in a New South Wales state election.

All parties have taken to it like never before and both leaders and most ministers have a presence on sites like twitter and Facebook.

But the battle for the cyber world has turned nasty.

The Nationals have beaten the ALP to the website, shelling out $127 to register it for themselves.

State director Ben Franklin denies it was going to form part of a dirty tricks campaign.

“No not at all, we were never intending to actually use the site,” he said.

“What we’re doing is showing the Labor Party is deeply embarrassed about their own Premier.”

But it could be the Nationals left blushing. In the cyber world it is called name jacking and Australia’s internet regulator says it is against the rules.

“We police it fairly heavily. We take domain names off people all the time if they don’t meet the policy,” auDA chief executive Chris Disspain said.

“I’ll institute an investigation immediately and I imagine it will be dealt with in the next couple of days, irrespective of what the National Party think they’d like to do with it.”

But Mr Franklin says the Nationals are happy to give it back.

“If the Labor Party write to us and ask for the site back we’re very happy to give it to them,” he said.

“In fact, we’ll give it to them for free because we know they’re going through some tough times at the moment.”

The Nationals say they registered the site in May. By that stage Mr Rees had been Premier for eight months.

What is more intriguing is the website Labor already had registered – – a move that is sure to stoke more leadership speculation.

Labor’s state secretary Matt Thistlethwaite was not available for interview.