Election 2010 – Index Page

Week One. Saturday 17 July – Friday 23 July

First-timers disenfranchised, Xenophobia enters left-stage, Boredom already, Contempt for Koch outweighs alarm for Abbott, The cost of union elections, BLF campaigns for … ?, Gratuitous advice to Abbott, Labor no friend to low-paid, unemployed.

Week Two. Saturday 24 July – Friday 30 July

The great not-debate: is it all over for Abbott?, Polling data should scare Abbott, Paul Kelly right to label Gillard as lacking conviction, Hello, no, there’s no one here …, Letter to WA.

Week Three. Saturday 31 July – Friday 6 August

Opportunities go begging, Taking stock …, Where to for Abbott?, The Gillard prospect, No inspiration, no aspiration (no respiration), Gillard disingenuous about concern for Rudd, blind choice ahead, ‘Conversation’ with a journo mate in WA, More chatter at the sidelines, but no game on the pitch, Getting tough on dole bludgers, Greens from left-field, Minutiae of electioneering accentuate empty promises, Education no silver bullet for Gillard, ‘He’s gorn ‘n dunnit now’, Ban the burqa nonsense again.

Week Four. Saturday 7 August – Friday 13 August

Electorate Letters, Labor’s three ring circus, Reading the entrails, Animus is back, The anti-Howard fetish, High Court ruling impacts well beyond election, Peculiar message from Howard, All at sea about prospects, National broadband plans leave me cold, Reconsidering the NBN.

Week Five. Saturday 14 August – Friday 21 August

Time to get down and dirty, The last hurrah, Debate is last chance for Abbott, Well I’ll be …, Postscript.

Election diary 2010 — Week Five

Time to get down and dirty

Sunday, 15 August 2010

The screaming headline ‘Bloodbath’ in Brisbane’s Sunday Times notwithstanding, every day there’s not a negative news lead about Gillard or Labor, the election slips a little further from Abbott’s grasp.

There may be a poll in Queensland predicting a 5.7 per cent swing to the Coalition, but the poll on its own is more likely to galvanise traditional Labor voters to swing back to the party of habit rather than remember why they were in two minds about Gillard’s Labor.

It should also not be taken for granted that the swing towards the Coalition might be no more than a swing away from Labor based on media coverage of the leaders’ performance that occurred up to two weeks ago. In any case, as i said at the outset, every day Abbott does not have Gillard on the back foot is a day on which Gillard wins hearts and minds.

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Election diary 2010 — Week Four

Electorate letters

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Today was my day – one of the two or three days in the electoral cycle on which I make my feelings known to my candidates. I wrote letters to the Greens, Labor and Liberal candidates. Without going into details I suggested that, all partisan rhetoric aside, general economic and national security policies were so similar between the parties there was no need to discuss these, and that I was looking for individual views on general principles and specific stances on social policy issues. I wonder whether I will get responses that aren’t form letters cut and pasted from policy bumph.

The very nature and form of response itself might indicate who is the most hungry for my vote, if not also who is the most deserving. Wouldn’t it be a sad indictment of them all if I got what I fully expect: the brush-off by overworked and disinterested staffers.

Labor’s three-ring circus?

The Sydney Morning Herald this morning suggested that the spectacle of having three Labor figureheads (a former leader, a former PM, and the incumbent PM) intersecting each others’ orbits in Queensland today was tantamount to the Labor campaign becoming a circus.

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Election diary 2010 — Week Three

Opportunities go begging

Saturday, 31 July 2010

The morning’s headlines about a Nielsen poll that puts the Coalition ahead on a two-party preferred basis, and Abbott still trailing but closing the gap as preferred leader, should be no cause for jubilation.

Unlike some other observers of politics, I don’t discount polling numbers, particularly not if they come from a credible source, but I recognise them to be what they are: ephemeral snapshots of a point in time that has come and gone.

I am bound to note, however, that my gratuitous advice to Abbott of 22 July contained some pointers that did indeed appear to make a difference in the numbers game. I can’t lay claim to credit for this outcome because if I could see the opportunity so could others far more motivated to do something about it.

Taking stock …

Heading into week three of the phoney election campaign, still two weeks out from the official formality, I would be tempted to discount any talk of a Coalition ascendancy, unless Abbott can maintain a momentum of revelations about less than creditable performances by Rudd (yes, he is and must remain a principal focus) and Gillard.

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Election Diary 2010 — Week Two

The great not-debate: is it all over for Abbott?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Without any real momentum or spark in evidence, Tony Abbott is beginning to look like losing by default, rather than Gillard winning by better campaigning. But on to the main story for the day.

I confess! I didn’t watch the leadership debate tonight. Shoot me now, but the snatches of it that I actually caught in passing were so drearily boring I’d prefer the firing squad.

At one stage a twitter message flashed up on screen suggesting something like: ‘This isn’t a debate, it’s a glorified press conference. Why has the Press Club been allowed to hijack the event?’ Indeed.

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Election Diary 2010 – Week One

First-timers disenfranchised

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The decision to call for an election on a Saturday would be otherwise unremarkable had it not meant that new voter registrations close at 20:00 on the following Monday, almost certainly disenfranchising a swathe of first-time voters.

One must assume that the ALP party machine was aware of the consequences of its timing for calling the election, and therefore doesn’t care about these votes, or has reason to fear them. In either case, that can’t be a good sign for Gillard because that constituency is likely to share a mind-set with a larger group of already registered voters.

One might be tempted to draw the conclusion that Gillard’s centerpiece education reforms aren’t really that popular with its intended consumers – students. One might also infer that ALP strategists have decided that the election will not be fought and won education policies; a reasonable assumption, I would think.

These matters notwithstanding, the timing of an election so soon after a leadership change was probably smart. Gillard hasn’t yet had time to make mistakes in her own right as leader of the party, enjoys a substantial honeymoon boost in the ratings, and is likely to slip in popularity the longer she waits if there aren’t any major new initiatives she can deliver prior to and separate from election pork barreling.

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