The verdict

Verdicts on the debate in today’s papers divide neatly along organisational lines, with News Limited observers saying it was close and Fairfax giving a clear win to Rudd. The commentator who comes closest to calling it for Howard is Sid Marris: speaking with colleague Dennis Shanahan on a video at The Australian’s website, he judges that “John Howard was stronger, but Kevin Rudd didn’t suffer a loss”. Shanahan decries the “Rudd-centric” worm, and says only that the Opposition Leader “won because he didn’t lose”. Also on the video are Paul Kelly, who says Howard was “very much on top at the start but I think Rudd finished better”, and Sky News man-of-the-hour David Speers who gives the debate to Rudd “on points”. In the newspaper itself, Matthew Franklin gives Kevin Rudd a “narrow victory” in the face of a “well above par” performance by the Prime Minister. Doug Conway of the Courier-Mail calls it a draw, offering the wearily familiar assessment that “neither Mr Howard nor Mr Rudd made a disastrous blunder, nor did they land a lethal body blow on their opponent”. Only Mark Kenny of The Advertiser breaks ranks, saying Rudd “unquestionably had the better of it”, while echoing the customary caution that “the longer term political significance is unlikely to be great”.

By contrast, the headline in The Age tells us of “Rudd’s decisive win”. Michelle Grattan declares Rudd “the clear winner”, “sounding confident and convincing against an opponent whose energy flagged and temper flared”, while Tony Wright rates it “Rudd’s night on most fronts”. Similarly, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter Hartcher reckons Rudd the “clear winner”, and says he has “cemented his claim as frontrunner”. The assessment of the Canberra Times is that Rudd won “because he didn’t debate. He had a plan to sell and he came, he saw and he sold”. In the other non-News Limited paper available to hand, The West Australian, a report by Chris Johnson and Shane Wright talks of Rudd “clearly getting the better of the Prime Minister”. Political editor Andrew Probyn also gives it to Rudd, saying the Prime Minister was “on the back foot … over WorkChoices, climate change, leadership and interest rates”.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

834 comments on “The verdict”

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  1. S… Have not seen it but that is the way to go.. positive and real, great stuff.. the time for action on this is now… as i said previously climate change is reducing our water in regional areas with many areas on 3 and 4 water restrictions and a summer approaching.. where will these people go without water…
    And Australia has the second worst carbon footprint in the western world…. i suppose in comparision to poor countries this would probably mean the worst…
    And Victoria per head the worst in the world due to stinky rotten power plants….

    What a reputation…

  2. Thomo at 701 please do not refer to people as morons. Please ban him if he does. The Oz has used Lateline to get their stories up. It is watched by the same people who read their paper.

  3. As I have commented here many times before, Costello got a ‘C’ pass in the lowest level of Mathematics offered in the Victorian senior (university entrance ) examinations, a pass which did not allow him to use it as a precursor to any tertiary study of the subject. This fact is publicly available, verifiable, information. John Howard failed General Mathematics at the NSW Leaving Certificate, also publicly available, verifiable information (my brother was in his class). Both Howard and Costello are functionally innumerate. Does anybody here think that the Liberal Party trolls on this and Matt Price’s and Tim Dunlop’s blogs, where I have publicised these facts wouldn’t have refuted them if they had any ability to do so?? Facts are facts, Howard and Costello wouldn’t know a number if it bit them on the bum. They can’t do basic sums!

    cheers,

    Alan H

  4. CW 747 you speak the truth – there is no conspiracy with the newspolls – it’ll come out when it always comes out – I only can recall once where it came out on 7:30 Report.

    And as usual it’ll either mean everything or it’ll mean nothing.

    I won’t try and predict it – I’ve never got one right. (I’m spot on though in hindsight)

  5. If Labor frontbenchers aren’t perky after last night I don’t know what will perk them up. They should be über-perky – without h*bris, of course.

  6. Alan H 754, High school results? Sorry but who cares. I got a poor mark for Year 12 Economics, and then went on and got an honors degree in it. (fat lot of good it did me but)

  7. I would hold a town hall meeting if I were Rudd – get “real” Autralians to ask the questions that they want answered – not the questions journalists want answered. I think that journalists can be too close to the process and might be concerned with politics and not what people want to discuss.

    Hold it in a marginal seat and invite the rodent along.

  8. Timbo, I reckon as soon as the ALP rolls out the workchoices ads, or the nuclear reactor near you ones. Still, is stating enacting, or explicitly proposed Howard legislation that scare the s out of many voters negative?

  9. Certain conclusions may be reached as the wheels fall off Team Rodentus; certain revelations on character:

    – Abbott has gone totally mad. He is living in a state of total denial.
    -Costello has no ticker. Yes, he’s a big man with the team sniggering behind him, but no ‘nads when it counts, when its mano a mano – with Howard, Rudd… or even Swan.
    – Dolly has been gagged. Lib HQ has realised the man is a walking 2PP minimiser.

  10. I would encourage Rudd to keep on doing what he has been doing for about 10 months. It seems to have worked so far.

  11. but it does indicate he’d be a possible threat in a debate.

    Perhaps Dyno, as long as it’s not with Swan and not on the subject of economics. At heart, as Bushfire Bill? posted recently, he’s a coward. He only finds his “mojo” when he has the speaker and majority power to silence/evict/gag opponents.

    One on one, he only likes to fight when he knows the other side can’t fight back.

    Pussy. Wimp. Gutless.

    (Ask Dr Evil about Costello’s mojo!)

  12. EStJ,
    From an hour ago, in Gotterdammerung (2m’s and a lot of umblats) all the gods and even the backbench of heroes die with Wotan. It is the worker’s who then inherit the Earth. Valhalla is set alight by the fat lady, as she is singing. But of course the analogy ends there because the fat lady now lives in Rome.
    You have reminded me of a conversation I had with a liberal ex-leader during the dinner break of Gotterdammerung in Adelaide after the 2004 election. His politics were not that far from the real EStJ and he was old enough to remember him – No, that wouldn’t be you, would it?

  13. [I would hold a town hall meeting if I were Rudd – get “real” Autralians to ask the questions that they want answered – not the questions journalists want answered. I think that journalists can be too close to the process and might be concerned with politics and not what people want to discuss.

    Hold it in a marginal seat and invite the rodent along.]

    Latham held “Town Hall Meetinmgs” last eleection ad look what happened – he was pooh-poohed by everyone, in particular the media.

    btw, just saw the ACA story – methinks they or nein will not be on the libs xmas card list.

    Also according to Ch 10 – the Govt today didn’t provide free air travel for the media covering the election.

  14. I thought Swanny looked argumentative tonight. A bit like Howard last night, he looked like he’d turned up for a fight. Maybe Swan expected to be facing off against Costello and took the angry pills. In any case I think Ruddster needs to give Wayne a handful of his cool pills.

    Still smiling from last night, Kev looked shit scared at the start of it. They showed a side on shot where his legs were like jelly. However, courage is not the absence of fear, courage is overcoming fear and he nailed it in the end.

    Go Courageous Kev.

  15. There are votes in this nuclear reactor thing.

    I can imagine people switching on the basis they don’t want reactors.

    It’s very hard to see people switching voting because they DO want them.

    And the Libs are definitely left a trail of intentions on the issue. I remain convinced if their opinion polls were higher – I’d have surveyors down at Port Kembla laying out string lines….

    Perversely, I’m actually ambivalent about nuclear power – I’m not opposed to the idea, but I’d prefer solar and wind first 🙂

  16. FC 766 No free air travel? Really?? – that would have to be among the dumbest moves around, and would suggest a serious unravelling.

    What possible upside could there be?

  17. Grog, I am talking about basic mathematics, not essay writing. My 8 year old daughter could pass the General Maths exam JWH failed. It had questions like, your mother sent you to buy two loaves of bread at 5 /6 each, how much change from a 1 pound note?

    cheers,

    Alanh

  18. I know you are all getting ready for the Newspoll, but re: SA Senate election, here’s something that might concrete in X as one of the 6 senate seats….

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/22/2066031.htm

    “Senate candidate Nick Xenophon has named the Adelaide Central Market manager, Roger Bryson as his running mate in his bid for a place in federal parliament….Roger Bryson is also a Baptist minister and has worked for Mission Australia….Nick Xenophon’s name will now go above the line in the Senate ballot paper.”

  19. TofK, I’ll predict between 52-54/48-46.

    I’ve seen a few veiled hints here and there it won’t be a good one for the ALP. Prepared to be pleasantly surprised though!

  20. [FC 766 No free air travel? Really?? – that would have to be among the dumbest moves around, and would suggest a serious unravelling.

    What possible upside could there be?]

    Yep, that’s what Paul B said on Ten News – which I’m sure will be repeated on their late news.

    I wonder if this payback for giving Rudd the Debate and highlighting Wormgate ?

  21. There are so many ex-Liberal leaders scattered about these days I imagine it’s hard to go the opera anywhere without bumbing into one. All busily bagging their successors, of course. It’s astinishing how little party loyalty Tories have once’s there’s nothing in it for them personally. Can you imagine the Libs turning on something like yesterday’s huge funeral for Beazley senior? Five former party leaders were there, and it would have been six if Rudd hadn’t had to stay and prepare for the debate. Who would turn up to Fraser’s funeral? No-one from the Liberal Party you can be sure.

  22. I wonder which Lib left their coke stash behind ? 🙂

    [AN unidentified white powder has been discovered at Parliament House sparking a security scare.

    Australian Federal Police (AFP) tonight confirmed there had been a “minor incident” on Capital Hill about 6.30pm (AEST).

    “It’s suspected it may involve white powder,” an AFP spokeswoman said.

    Security personnel had taken precautions but no evacuations had been ordered, she said. ]

    http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,22630216-5005361,00.html

  23. Anna Bligh tells Mark Vaile where to get off 🙂

    “He called on the Queensland government to help fund half of the project.

    Ms Bligh said she would work with the government but the road was clearly a federal government responsibility and no state money would be pledged.

    “I will not be funding, as the Queensland premier, the defence force of Australia, I won’t be funding the quarantine facilities of Australia, I have my responsibilities cut out for me running those things that our state is responsible for … we will not be funding Commonwealth responsibilities,” she told reporters in Brisbane.”

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Bligh-will-not-fund-Toowoomba-bypass/2007/10/22/1192940952663.html

  24. I’m a bit worried about Glen. His mum rang to say he wouldn’t get out of bed for school this morning. Says his eyes are sore and his fingers hurt.

  25. [ah the eternal pessimist LTEP, I hate the pessimism but love the consistency. ]

    He’s supporting Labor; pessimsm comes with that territory.

  26. S… Nuclear power is not an option for this country at all and should not even be considered..
    It is expensive, opens you up to being a terrorist target and finally what do you do with the waste…
    Don’t even think about it…

  27. [I’m a bit worried about Glen. His mum rang to say he wouldn’t get out of bed for school this morning. Says his eyes are sore and his fingers hurt.]

    I’d love to see an audit of Liberal Party phone and internet usage from when Rudd was elected leader.

    Especially the parliamentry logs 🙂

  28. Alan H @ 774. I’m not worried about the change. I’m worried about the price of bread! Tell me if I’m wrong but 5/6 is about $1.10. Little johnny would have done his leaving certificate in about 1954? Allowing for 3% inflation that means in todays terms about $5.30 a loaf. No wonder he keeps telling us how good we young’uns have got it today. My uncle Norm does too…but he’s a crackpot.

  29. Well you know what I mean. Pretty amazing of Gough to fly to Perth at 91 for the funeral of someone he didn’t even get on with very well. I think he was sending Rudd a signal that he’s fighting fit and would rather like the Paris embassy.

  30. [Well you know what I mean. Pretty amazing of Gough to fly to Perth at 91 for the funeral of someone he didn’t even get on with very well.]

    What’s the story behind this? I thought they would’ve been comrades in arms because they were from the non Catholic part of the right.

    [I think he was sending Rudd a signal that he’s fighting fit and would rather like the Paris embassy]

    LOL! 😛

  31. [I’m a bit worried about Glen. His mum rang to say he wouldn’t get out of bed for school this morning. Says his eyes are sore and his fingers hurt.]

    He’s probably on the shredder roster tonight.

  32. Who is the UNESCO Ambassador?

    But wouldn’t Rome be a great location for him? I hear they might have a vacancy soon.

  33. [He’s probably on the shredder roster tonight.]

    I hope their IT Dept arfe doing forensic cleansing of their Computer Harddrives cos if it’s oin;y format c: then the past WILL be recovered 🙂

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