There was nothing new in the timing of the next election announced by Julia Gillard. There wasn’t much doubt that it would be some time in August or September. There may be a marginal benefit for the government in the early announcement. It has some major policy issues to outline – Gonski reforms, national disability and how they are to be funded. Having the resources of the bureaucracy in outlining these issues will be a considerable advantage. Furthermore, oppositions have been inclined to make themselves small targets and hide policy until late in the day. That will now be much harder for the Coalition.
I suspect that one issue in Julia Gillard’s mind is the timing of the interim report by the ICAC in NSW on mining leases and Eddie Obeid. The ICAC evidence is extremely damaging to the ALP although it’s hard to imagine that the ALP vote can fall much further after it was almost wiped out at the last state election. The best way to make a new start in NSW would be for the federal executive to dismiss the NSW ALP state office.
The Liberal Party has obviously been trying to remake and reposition Tony Abbott. At the moment he doesn’t seem to know if he is coming or going as he struggles with his new image.
In the lead up to the election, Sportsbet in the SMH and perhaps other papers, carried a full page advertisement of Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard. There was the thought bubble from Tony Abbott ‘I am going to win big on election day’. The thought bubble over Julia Gillard said ‘only if you back me at sportsbet.com.au’. I wonder if Sportsbet had permission from either Tony Abbott or Julia Gillard to use them in this advertisement? If they gave their approval I would be disappointed. I recall many years ago that a major car manufacturer used Arthur Calwell’s face and name to advertise its product. He took his hat around and got some major financial settlements.
Whoever wins the election, many must hope for a rejuvenation of the Canberra Press Gallery. It is badly out of touch with the Australian community as Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech indicated. In its group-think, it is all about politics and personality. Policy comes a sad last.