Highlights of day four

A summary of yesterday’s events that didn’t get posted overnight due to internet trouble.

• The election debate will be held from 6.30pm and 7.30pm on Sunday, an hour earlier and half an hour shorter than normal. The reason on both counts is to avoid a conflict with the final of MasterChef on Channel Ten. David Speers of SkyNews will moderate, and the leaders will face a panel consisting of Malcolm Farr from the Daily Telegraph, Chris Uhlmann of ABC News 24 and Laura Tingle of the Australian Financial Review.

Christian Kerr in The Australian reports the Liberal campaign headquarters that will belatedly commence operation today is believed to be at 90 Collins Street, Melbourne, but “sources said the location was even being hidden from campaign workers who are expected to begin work there today”.

• Julia Gillard spent yesterday in the western Sydney and hinterland seats of Macquarie and Greenway. Matthew Franklin and Sarah Elks of The Australian note this is of a piece with an apparent campaign strategy to favour set-piece photo opportunities over less easily manageable appearance in public places. Tony Abbott on the other hand remained in Melbourne – less than a target-rich environment as far as marginal seats are concerned – which included a public appearance in marginal Labor Deakin. David Crowe of the Australian Financial Review made the following observation yesterday:

In a pre-emptive strike against Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the Coalition has begun a below-the-radar campaign in regional Queensland to woo voters in key areas that could decide the federal election … Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey launched the effort late last week – a move that focused on local media and local campaigns rather than participation in the blanket national media coverage of the election, when it was called on Saturday. The strategy ensured the Coalittion had senior figures campaigning in cities such as Townsville and the highly marginal seat of Herbert before Ms Gillard headed to the area yesterday (Monday) morning. Beginning last Wednesday, Mr Hockey travleled from Gladstone to Mackay, Townsville, Innisfail and Cairns over five days to campaign for Coalition candidates”.

For all your campaign movement needs (not just the leaders), note Crikey’s excellent Election Tracker feature.

• Adrian Schonfelder, Labor’s candidate for the Melbourne hinterland seat of Flinders (held for the Liberals by Greg Hunt), has apologised for suggesting Tony Abbott’s conservative social positions were “influencing people to take their own lives”.

Simon Canning of The Australian notes Labor is “expected to keep its hands clean in the election marketing war by allowing the union movement to carry the can and send out ads attacking Liberal leader Tony Abbott and the threat of a Coalition government”. The Australian Workers Union’s Addams Family ad is cited as a case in point.

Tony Koch and Sean Parnell of The Australian consider the impact of the government’s restitution of programs to engage indigenous people with the electoral process, which had been cut by the Rudd government. The main marginal seats with high indigenous populations are Leichhardt in far north Queensland and the Darwin-based seat of Solomon.

• The Liberal National Party has come up with an odd arrangement whereby its newly preselected candidate for Kevin Rudd’s seat of Griffith, Rebecca Docherty – herself a substitute for dumped former Liberal Democratic Party figure John Humphreys – will make way for an unspecified “high-profile” candidate should Rudd have a late change of heart about remaining in politics.

• Discussing Newspoll and Galaxy results in the Financial Review, Andrew Catsaras calculates the “market share of swinging voters” – 17 per cent of the total – at 29 per cent for Labor, 35 per cent for the Coalition and 31 per cent for the Greens. I presume he’s done this by comparing the totals to some measure of the parties’ bedrock levels of support. If we’re lucky he might enlighten us in comments.

• The Daily Telegraph has published details of a poll on climate change conducted for lobbyist firm Parker and Partners by “online polling company Pureprofile”, showing 82 per cent of respondents favouring “strong or moderate action immediately”.

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.

1,113 comments on “Highlights of day four”

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  1. [And I think he really doesn’t like the current ‘party line’ on much of anything.]

    Jen: It’s hilarious all round. Most of them don’t believe in large bits of it. How could you?

    They know the stimulus was the right thing to do, they want to bring workchoices back, and some of them (Hockey?) know that a market mechanism (ETS?) is a viable method of dealing with the fact of climate change.

    But they have to spew out the crap. It can’t help that they know they are going to lose either

  2. jenauthor @ 1083

    [After all — his greatest talents lie in that area (diplomacy/foreign affairs).]

    Quite – and the precedent already exists for a deposed Labor Leader to be appointed to the position of Foreign Minister after an election where he was replaced only weeks before – Bill Hayden in 1983, who eventually became a very successful and internationally respected Foreign Minister in the Hawke Government.

    One wonders if former PM Rudd could also end up as Governor General?

  3. Frank
    “They were only caught on the hop with the change of Leader – but eeven then does it REALLY take more than 4 weeks to change material to replace Rudd with Gillard.”

    Absolutely needs more than 4 wks

    Liberals planned on rud , and therefore planned on an oct electon, which ws when I’d said months ago Rudd wwuld hold it He always said he’d run full term , and with dire polls in June both rudd (and Libs even more so expected that)

    WHOLE Lib campiagn was gonna be on Bats , BER , CC change , A-S where NO polisy change had been made by Labor , and later RSPT that ran for 4 wks That wuld need alot of pre planning , and all focus checked , and all for nothing

    last thigo Libs expected was Julia not Kevin , then her negating there abov anti Rudd polisy slogans , and with it an electon called only 4 wks after she got job

    I think its great , caught with pants in there pockets

  4. Glen @ # 315

    Tuckey is no excuse for keeping a candidate for a major party who thinks a leader of a major party makes people kill themselves!

    Hypocrisy in all its glory.

    What do you think the entire Liberal and the Nats have been doing over the “pink barts scheme”

  5. 1105

    Is the headline writer trying to point out the birthplace of the PM?

    Do either Rudd or Gillard speak Welsh (the origin of the term is telling on classmates for speaking Welsh at school)?

  6. It looks to me as if the Liberal campaign is in tatters. Nothing of what they’re doing looks like it conforms to a strategy, and it’s already suffering internal inconsistencies.

    I’m guessing they started with a plan to go hard on asylum seekers, Government waste and their own economic record. That seems to be where they want to gravitate. But they must have realised very early that they weren’t going to get any traction on asylum seekers. So they’re reconstituted on the economy.

    They knew that WorkChoices was going to get tied up in it if they didn’t address it. So they just did the crudest thing they could and dropped it. How they could have failed to see the ramifications of that is beyond me – especially with their apparent reluctance to go the whole hog on it.

    From there they appear to have run up some kind of a hasty Plan B – only they can’t decide whether they want to announce new spending or budget cuts. Yesterday was budget cuts, today was new spending. And then they’ve tried to attack the Government from both sides.

    As you can see from The 7.30 Report, they’re already on the back foot. Gillard – or any one of her team – can sit back and attack at leisure. The media are circling like hyenas. And all their policy positions so far are just dangling in the breeze. This was always going to be a problem with a leader like Abbott, because he doesn’t have the electoral strength to carry the party along with him, and he doesn’t have the consensus skills to persuade the party of his position. At times I don’t even know what his position is.

    Gillard can afford now to look as statesmanlike and above-the-fray as she wants. All the focus is on what the Opposition are doing.

    So where does Abbott go from here? He’s lost the conviction angle, he’s rapidly losing the who-do-you-trust angle as well. He can still get by on Government waste and budget cuts, but I can’t see anything else he can do. Even in a short campaign, having such a small palette to select from, and with (no doubt) an unwillingness to subject anything he draws on to scrutiny – they’re long on rhetoric and short on detail, for those who haven’t noticed – his schtick is going to get very tired very quickly.

    I doubt that he’ll melt down. But I think he’ll be staggering to the line. By week five I think he’ll be flat out presenting his party as credible at all.

  7. One more thing to add:

    I can see now why Abbott is so keen on three debates. It actually insulates him from scrutiny. Giving the entire campaign a structure – lead-up to debate 1, then 2, then 3 – draws the focus to what the leaders are going to do in these debates, and takes some of the heat out of the day to day campaigning.

    Even now he’s being hammered on his daily performance. But at least he has that debate to look forward to. Beyond that is four weeks of wasteland for him. And a hungry media who are going to need things to write about.

    Even though his personality isn’t much chop, I think he’d prefer people concentrating on that rather than his party’s policy positions. A debate draws the focus to personality and presentation. Plus he gets plenty of opportunities to repeat things like “We’ll end the waste” and “We’ll turn the boats back” etc. And it’s a controlled atmosphere, with half the hour given over to his opponent. He can script half the stuff he needs to say, and treat it like he treated his speeches in Parliament.

    I said it last week, and I still think it now – he’d have been better off going for a six week bike ride.

  8. Aguirre
    Posted Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    “It looks to me as if the Liberal campaign is in tatters”

    well as I said for abov reasons, a mere under FOUR weeks ago labor’s (and therefore Liberals internal poling was dire….witness public polls in late June on EIGHT Labor marginal seats of which 7 were clear losers)

    so natural they expected Rudd to wait till Oct for polls to improve , which is when he’d indicated anyway…hey presto ! over nite there is Julia facing them !!! , a different opponent , a poll short term , and all there anti Rudd “interim” plans out door !!

    and now with julia saying “look move forward” , its not a good loook for Libs yto look back , to someone Kevin who is not even th contender at all

    now had they had they faced Kevin now , they had these ‘stategy plans’ in place , but they were ALL based on anti Rudd and NONE on pro Liberel

    What Julia has done is negate there anti Rudd plans and forse Libs to both come up with some anti Julia ones (failed miserable so far) , and to ‘fill in’ some pro Lib polisys…well aint many good lib polisys to fill space with is there ??? , so a shamble , well for th moment anyway ….lets hope for th next 4 wks as well

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